A thank you letter to my hearing loss
After reflecting on what I am thankful for, I decided to write about why I am thankful for my hearing loss.
To My Hearing Loss:
When I was younger, I didn’t mind you. I don’t think I fully understood you. I just knew I had to wear these red things in my ears to help me hear, but I never really thought of myself as anyone different from those around me.
Of course, as I got older and became more aware of human interaction and judgment, I became more conscious of your presence. I became more aware of the looks I received from those around me when my hair was up or when I asked someone to repeat himself/herself multiple times.
Would boys like me if they knew my truth? Would I get pity sympathy for missing details in class and having to explain to a classmate why I did? Would I be employable if I declared myself as having a ‘disability’? These questions and more became more and more a part of my everyday life. I really started to resent you. Couldn’t you just fix yourself and go away?
“Couldn’t you just fix yourself and go away?”
I fought to prove that I was worthy, more than just a girl with hearing aids and a weird accent. I’m now realizing that I was doing all of that more for myself than for anyone around me, and honestly, I’m realizing what a gift you are. There’s a beauty in being different, and I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to accept you for you.
“There’s a beauty in being different, and I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to accept you for you.”
The perspective you’ve given me. The patience you’ve given me. The opportunity you’ve given me. The strength you’ve given me. The story you’ve given me. The lessons you’ve taught me.
I’ve learned to never judge a book by its cover. I’ve learned to have empathy for those who are struggling. I’ve learned that patience is key. I’ve learned everyone has a story worth listening to. I’ve learned that eye contact makes someone feel you are invested and that you care.
All of this and so much more, I owe to you. Thank you for being my gift, my uniqueness, my teacher, my shield of armor.
“Thank you for being my gift, my uniqueness, my teacher, my shield of armor.”
Thank you for being patient with me as I have come to these realizations. I know this is only the beginning of your teachings and the beginning of my acceptance. I cannot wait for the journey ahead, so here’s to you!
All my love,
Follow Phonak hEARo Ashley on Instagram!
She plays soccer for the USA Women's National Deaf Team. She's currently traveling the world in pursuit of adventure and perspective while also learning about the deaf and hard of hearing communities in various countries. Her travels can be followed on instagram @ashley5chanel or on her blog deaftattooedandemployed.com.
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