Community Spotlight: Yuiko’s Custom Designed Hearing Aids
It takes courage to be proud of – what many still view as – a disability. To be able to make people turn their heads and say, “What is that?!” Not because they’re repelled, but because they see something beautiful behind a ear that has caught their eye.
Yuiko Murakami, an 18-year-old from Japan, has achieved just that. Her custom designed hearing aids are some of the coolest hearing aids we’ve ever seen.
This is her story:
“I’m half deaf. But that doesn’t mean my hearing is 50 percent of normal.
I have hearing in my right ear, but I also have Patulous Eustachian tube, so I have less hearing than others with single-sided-hearing loss who have no disease.
Growing up was hard.
I remember once when I was 10 years old and other kids would tease me because I couldn’t hear. So, I started making my hearing loss a secret.
By the time I was 15, I was a pro at hiding my hearing loss. But, I suffered because I could not communicate with people well.
I became tired of being a “hearing girl.”
Finally, I realized I’m a “deaf girl” and I decided to buy hearing aids, and start telling people that I’m deaf. (I now wear a Phonak Bolero V30 CROS hearing aid.)
But one thing was still difficult to accept. That people, even people who weren’t my friends, were able to see my hearing loss. These people could see my hearing devices and think, “Oh, what a poor girl.”
I hated that, and I wanted to escape from it.
Then I came up with the idea of decorating my hearing aids.
The idea made me so happy, because my friends and people around me said, “What is that?! They’re so cute! What, hearing aids?! They can’t be!”
Not only that, but it made my heart light up when I started uploading the photos on social media and people from all over the world started contacting me!
Moms who have deaf kids would write to me and say, “As a parent it can be so sad and confusing to have a child with hearing loss, but seeing your custom designed hearing aids, we can see how hearing aids can be cool, and fashionable. Your views on your hearing loss makes us feel brave and comfortable. Thank you for sharing your perspective.”
At that point, deafness, which once made me sad, made me happy.
Sharing my designs has allowed me to feel happy and brave. Some people say that being deaf cuts you off from people, but my deafness has connected me with people!
So, I’m proud to be deaf now!
As a nursing student with dreams of being a midwife for deaf families, I hope I can continue to share my decorations and inspire others around the world to be proud as well.”
We love it when people share their hearing loss stories with us on social media. Our community often provides comfort, encouragement, inspiration and support for others in similar situations.