My Deafness: A Mother's Perspective.
Updated: Aug 28, 2019
It has been a while since I wrote the last blog post. Life has been pretty hectic and overwhelming lately!
I decided that I wanted to interview my Mother on the subject of my deafness, to gain a more in depth understanding of my hearing loss. Obviously I was diagnosed at 7 years old, so I do not really remember anything from the first few years after being diagnosed.
I am hoping that this blog post will help other parents in the same position as my parent's and raise awareness of the emotional impact deafness has on loved ones. It was also interesting to see the lack of support that my parent's were offered. Regardless, my upbringing was pretty great and my parent's continuously fought to ensure that I received a good education and I had the same opportunities as my hearing peers.
Hey Mum! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for me!
How did you discover that I had a hearing loss?
In Year 2 (in school) you had the same teacher as you had in Reception and at the first Year 2 parents evening, the teacher said that she was concerned because you seemed to have lost your confidence and you needed a lot of reassurance. She suggested we take you for a sight test and a hearing test. So we contacted the GP and had a referral to the hearing clinic and made an appointment with an optician.
Do you remember the day when I was diagnosed?
I do. We took you to the hearing clinic and you went into a booth and had a hearing test. When you came out, the audiologist called Graham sat us down and proceeded to give us the results from your hearing test. He said that you had a hearing loss of mild to moderate and you would need hearing aids. We asked what had caused your hearing loss and he said they do not know.
On reflection we should have asked for you to have investigations but I think we were just in shock and couldn't take the news in. Unfortunately there was nothing they could do for you, except supply you with hearing aids. We were really taken back by what we had been told and felt 'numb' because we never thought there was anything wrong, questioning ourselves why had we had not noticed.
We left the clinic and made an appointment to go back and have your hearing aids fitted. I then took you back to school and was driving along the road, I felt myself starting to cry because I think everything started to sink in and you turned round to me and said "whats up Mum?" and i said "oh I'm just being silly". Eventually we arrived at school and I dropped you off and you went back to the classroom. I felt very upset and found it difficult to talk about.
What support was offered to you as a parent?
Oh wow! I am in shock!
Did anyone offer or provide you with information regarding learning British Sign Language (BSL)?
No. No support was given initially and no one suggested British Sign Language.
Was the option of having a cochlear implant ever mentioned?
No because your hearing loss was not severe enough. The first conversation we had (with the audiologists) about the implant, was when you mentioned it in an appointment when you were older.
Why did you choose to send me to a mainstream school instead of a school for the deaf?
They said at the specialist hearing clinic that they wanted you to remain in mainstream school. They said that you could cope with it and you would be with your friends. It was never an option.
Did you ever encounter any barriers in mainstream education (from primary to secondary school)?
Primary school were very keen to support you and learn techniques. By the time you went to secondary school, things changed completely because you became more aware of your hearing aids and you wanted your hair long so nobody could see them. Secondary school was when the problems started, as the school understandably wanted to make you all independent, which made you feel isolated.
We had a visit from the Teacher of the Deaf every so often through the school years, so they could recognise any problems that you were having and suggest strategies to overcome a particular problem. Unfortunately not every teacher took on board what was advised. The Teacher of the Deaf had to keep reinforcing the teachers to sit you at the front of the class, face you when they were talking and not to wander around when talking.
What tips/advice would you like to offer other parents with a deaf child?
- You need to be involved with the school and in constant communication about the support they are giving.
- Make sure you know what support is available, by researching it.
- Research different equipment that is available. (Do not forget to contact Fire Service with regard to fire alarms and putting on record there is a deaf person living in the house - I never knew there was this service)
- Find support groups and deaf clubs that you could get involved in.
- If you are not coping emotionally, contact your GP to help you get support.
- Find out if there are any local BSL classes that both your child and you could benefit from.
I hope you found this interesting and informative. If anyone has any questions for me or my Mum, you are more than welcome to ask via the comments section or drop me an email and I will get back to you as soon as I can!