On Being a Teen with Hearing Loss

According to my mom, as soon as I got home she took me onto our back porch, where a bird was singing. I had never heard that noise before, and the sound intrigued me. My mom says I sat on the porch for hours that day, taking in my new world. Little did I know that technology would change my life, with each new advancement.

I’m 16 years old, now, and a junior in high school. If I were to tell you that life with hearing loss is as simple as I mentioned above, I’d be lying. Living with a disability is a journey. There are lessons to learn, challenges to overcome, and situations to adapt to; but most of all, experiences to enjoy. High school taught me all of this.

Now Hear This… Not

My parents decided to send me to a private high school. Everyone there was very friendly, and the administration bought me a new FM system. The staff was eager to learn what they could do, and they were always ready to help me. There were things I had to get used to, though. This was the first time that I didn’t have a speech therapist at school, or an expert to go to with hearing problems I might encounter. The biggest shock I had was that I was the only hearing-impaired student in the school. Life went on, however, and became as normal as normal can be for a student with hearing loss.

One day I heard a bit of static in my ear from my FM system. It went as quickly as it came, so I didn’t think much of it. Then, I started to get feedback in my other classes to the point where I heard static all day. I eventually asked my audiologist what I should do. She showed me how to change the channels on my FM system and it was a miracle! But, then I started getting static again. Despite how much I would change the channel, there were no static-free frequencies.

I learned to accept it, but I had to work even harder to keep up with my classmates. I would study for hours trying to fill in the missing gaps from the lesson. I paid extra hard attention in class, so I could lip read! Despite all the extra challenges I got good grades, so I was okay with the way things were—for the most part.

Yet, there were still things I couldn’t control. My biggest obstacle was my Spanish II class. While I excelled at the writing and reading part of class, listening and speaking? Well, those weren’t really my forte. I dreaded my listening quizzes because the static interference made them nearly impossible. I remember listening to the quiz prompt one day, and getting interference pretty much the whole time. I was used to this, so I did my best to complete the quiz. My teacher told me later that I got a D on my quiz, and mentioned how unlike me that was. To say I was upset would be an understatement. I explained my issues to her, and she let me retake the quiz.

¡Hola Roger!

I was amazed how easy learning became, once I was able to hear well!

A bit into my junior year I got a call from my audiologist. She said that Phonak had a new, wireless microphone system, called Roger, which just might solve my problems. My parents bought it for me. I would be the first to use Roger in Columbus, Ohio! I was excited to try it, but didn’t really give the whole thing a lot of thought. The next day at school I gave the new transmitter to my teacher, and took a seat. Class started and I seriously felt as if I were dreaming! I had no interference AT ALL! My teacher’s words were so clear. I almost asked my friend to pinch me. It was too good to be true.

I was amazed how easy learning became, once I was able to hear well. I am naturally a shy person, but I started to participate more in class. Before, discussions had always been foggy, and I was always trying to piece together the classroom conversation puzzle. Now that I could hear, however, I was less self-conscious and didn’t mind answering questions. My teachers started to notice. One questioned me about it. I realized that because I could hear clearly, I had become less afraid to let teachers know when I needed help with things. I started talking to my classmates more about my Roger mic, and asked them use it so I could hear during group discussions.

When my next listening quiz rolled around, it was so clear! I could hear perfectly. I was amazed when I got my quiz back to find a big “100%” scribbled across the top. I was in shock! Like they did in Spanish, my grades in other classes started to get better, too. Technology had once again changed my life.
That day when I sat on my porch listening to a bird sing seems like a long time ago. I am almost a senior in high school now, and looking forward to the next chapter in my life—college. I may not know what that will hold, but at least I know that now, thanks to technology’s advancements, I will have the equipment to help me be the most successful person I can be.

Annie has started a conversation for teens in the HearingLikeMe forums. You can check it out here.

Editorial Staff
I work at Phonak and write for

Leave a Reply

3 Comments on "On Being a Teen with Hearing Loss"

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
its not easy being hearing impaired but you do learn to be strong and not let it get you down.You are a teen now i am a adult u are going to be a great success in life keep up the good work.
Thanks! As I said above, having a disability is a journey. I like to think that having hearing loss helped me become the person I am today. I wish you the best on your journey too!
Thanks so much for the article. I was 16 when I got my hearing aids, I was a sophomore in high school. I am now 25 and still “healing” from it. I didn’t and still don’t have a good audiologist, so “healing” is a long, slow process for me. But it’s so great to read from another young woman in regards to hearing loss/aids. You’re right when you say it’s a journey. At times, it can be a struggle, and I wish I could take it back “for the world.” But I remember I need to keep my chin up.

© 2018 Phonak AG. All rights reserved.