Unusually enough, I’ve come to think that losing my hearing was one of the finest things that ever happened to me, as it led to the publication of my first novel. But it took a moment for me to accept that I was losing my hearing and needed support.
I think that no matter how challenging things get, you can make them better. I have my parents to bless for that. They never tolerated me to think that I couldn’t accomplish something because of my hearing loss. One of my mother’s favored sayings when I expressed doubt that I could do something was, “Yes, you can.”.
I was born with a mild hearing loss but began to lose more of my hearing when I was a senior in college. I thought about why I couldn’t hear a phone that I could hear just the day before.
Late-deafened folks can always recollect the occasions when they first stopped being able to hear the essential things in life like telephones and doorbells ringing, people talking in the next room, or the telly. It’s sort of like remembering where you were when you learned that President Kennedy had been shot or when you learned about the terror attack at the World Trade.
Unbeknown to me back then, that was only the inception of my downward spiral, as my hearing grew slowly but surely worse. But I was young and still vain enough not to want to buy a listening device. I struggled through college by sitting up front in the class room, straining to read lips and asking people to speak up, sometimes once again.
I knew that I had to buy a hearing aid. I was still vain enough to wait a few months while I let my hair grow out a bit before taking the plunge but I eventually did buy a hearing aid.
Soon, my hair length didn’t matter much, as the hearing aids got smaller and smaller. The newer digital and programmable hearing aids go a long way toward improving on that. They can be set to match different types of hearing loss, so you can, say, increase a particular high frequency more than other frequencies.
Once I got my hearing aid and had the chance to hear again, I could focus on other things that were important to me– like my learning, my career and writing that first novel! I didn’t realize it then, but that first listening device actually freed me to go on to bigger and better things.
I had long considered writing a novel, but like others kept putting it off. As I began to lose increasingly more of my hearing, it was a task just to keep up on duty, let alone doing much else. Once I got the hearing aid, I no longer had to worry about a lot of the things I did before, and I began to think that writing a novel would be the perfect hobby for me. Anyone can write irrespective of whether they can hear. I was also determined to demonstrate that losing my hearing would not hold me back.
My first novel was published in 1994 and my fifth in the summer of 2005. I honestly believe that I would never have sat down at the computer and banged out that first novel if I hadn’t lost so much of my hearing. That’s why I sometimes think that losing my hearing was one of the best things that ever happened to me.