Being hard of hearing means I spent a lot of my growing up in an unintentional bubble. I was obsessed with reading and could easily disappear into other worlds and experience a great many things but one that eluded me was the concept of sound. While I was able to hear conversation next to me or notice music in the department store, I missed other things like the fact when someone turned away, they would still be speaking or that a car is as loud as it vibrates. I found out I was hard of hearing in my ASL class funny enough; they brought in machine for us to examine our eardrums, for laughs, and found mine completely scarred over. The ear drum, like a drumhead, is supposed to flex when noise hits it – when there is a percussion of sound – but mine does not move and so I hear very little. Even now I still love ASL for all it’s given me. While I am not Deaf my hearing is not so good that I can get by quite on my own. I have hearing aids to help me out. They give me, as the saying goes, access to the roar of thunder.
With all the online lectures because of Covid I found the year particularly challenging. It used to be that now and then hearing was a struggle but now I find myself doing a lot of reading to catch up. My classmates and lecturers have been especially helpful and understanding yet every now and then I feel utterly adrift. Despite all the challenges I find anything involving my fellow classmates to be the most rewarding. They are without exception clever, bright, funny, and endlessly empathetic.