Today I had a bonding experience with my middle child that I had hoped I wasn’t going to experience.
Because of my genetic hearing loss my children have all had their hearing monitored from birth and until today all their tests have shown them to have good hearing.
The school nurse identified a small problem with Jack’s hearing some time ago and during his referral appointment today it was confirmed that he had suffered some hearing loss in the last two years.
Early signs are that he has inherited a gene that may see his hearing deteriorate further either in childhood or later on in adult life.
It is estimated that one in six people in the UK have some form of hearing loss and yet it is still an invisible disability. We don’t have “I can’t hear you” stamped across our foreheads (for which I’m very grateful) but without a doubt it is harder to communicate when you are working very hard just to make out what people are saying to you.
I lipread, I flll in the gaps of people’s speech and when all else fails I just pretend. I’ve learnt to laugh and nod at all the right moments. And for the most part I get away with it.
But by not being honest about what I can and cannot hear I’m shortchanging myself and the people around me.
It’s time for that to stop, not just for me but for Jack too. His hearing loss isn’t as severe as mine but I want him to know that if he can’t hear that it’s ok to say so. After all I can’t control how his hearing will develp but I can teach him to have a positive attitude towards it.
For more information see Action on Hearing (Loss)