There is something that is most needed to be taught among Hearing Impaired people. It needs to be taught to the Hearing Impaired mainstream kids in the schools, at deaf schools, and at NTID/Gallaudet University.
The lesson is: Be prepared to lose your hearing in life.
The average hearing impaired kid/adult in life is usually fit with a hearing aid and able to function well in this life. Teach him/her sign language early enough and you got a foundation in place for communication back-up.
However, it shouldn't end there. There is a need to make sure the average deaf/hearing impaired kid/adult's home life have the following:
TTY and/or videophone (get Sorenson VP)
Upgrade the home with a flashing fire alarm, and flashing doorbell signal light.
Make sure the hearing impaired kid/adult has deaf friends and a support group that he/she knows that can count on for emotional stability.
Talk to your vocational rehabilitation and center for independent living to consider any other options as well.
Having the hearing impaired person prepared for the eventual full hearing loss in life (if it doesn't happen, it doesn't hurt to be prepared!), he/she knows that they are ready to accept into the changes in their lives of living as a deaf person.
When the sudden hearing loss happens, get to the doctor as soon as its possible. Request that the ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor) sees you soon as possible to evaluate your ear. Chances are, the ENT may be able to reverse the loss. But when ENT docs are overwhelmed of what's happening out there, not every patient may be so lucky (at this point I'm not).
When my hearing changed last month from a deaf/hearing impaired person to a full deaf person, it has been a hard time for me. I actually do not have that much support locally. I don't have a deaf church ministry to lean on.
So why do I write this post? Because I want other hearing impaired people to be prepared in their lives. Once they lose their hearing, they have lost connection to the sounds of the world and their lives change to living as a deaf person.
It also changes the dynamics of the family life as well. My mom still has a hard time accepting that I'm fully deaf. But, I have personally begged her all the last 20 years of my life to learn sign language. She fully insisted that I *WON'T* become fully deaf ( that's because she relies on the advices that were given to my parents back in the 1960s/1970s. I've told her that is old and outdated already) in my life. I wish she had *knocked on wood and prayed that she was right because she wasn't!
So what happens now? I'm pretty much acting like a deaf person. We have gone the pen/paper route in communication. I'm on the list to see the ENT doctor, but don't think any thing can be done already. My local Vocational Rehabilitation is notified. I've yet to have a case reviewed. However, the changes in my hearing have already impacted upon my ability to look for work as well.
I haven't decided of what I will do down the road. One support group: Hearing Loss Association of America, has offered to help me, but the new local chapter is not fully grounded yet.
I plan on updating you of what happens in my life as I'm newly deaf now. The experience is not fun and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I have had to change the way I drive lately.
Whatever happens to you, my dear readers, is that I want you to be prepared in life. Once the sounds are gone, they're gone. What is left is remembering all the sounds you've heard. But those will also dissipate over time as well.
Whatever happens to you out there, make sure you got support you need. It'll come in handy.