I’ve been extremely fortunate in terms of long-term and late effects of my treatment, and the only major thing I’ve had to deal with is high frequency hearing loss. And I don’t even really consider that “major” because I know that it could be so much worse. I have hearing aids, but forget to wear them half of the time since I don’t really notice a difference in conversations whether or not I'm wearing them. Or sometimes I just “forget” to wear them since I want to wear a cute headband and they get in the way :) I have started wearing my hearing aids more since starting college, though, since hearing everything the professor says in a large lecture hall can be a challenge even without hearing loss. I’ve also started to notice myself struggling with certain sounds and words in conversation, so maybe I’m just more aware of it.
As annoying as wearing hearing aids can be, I’ve tried to keep a good attitude about it. It’s definitely led to some pretty funny encounters and conversations, especially when I was younger. One of my dad’s favorite stories to tell is about something that happened when I was in kindergarten. My parents had heard about it secondhand at parent-teacher conferences, and I only vaguely remember it happening, but the story goes something like this: I was having an argument with one of my classmates about something dumb and after hours of back-and-forth, I was ready to be done. I told the girl, “Well, I’m turning off my hearing aids now so I don’t have to listen to you anymore” and walked away. I could still hear every word she said, but she didn’t know that, so the argument was effectively ended right then and there. Hmmm, maybe I should try that strategy again some time… just kidding, just kidding!
Most recently, I had someone assume that I speak sign language (I wish!) just because I was wearing them, and she proceeded to tell me about how I should get to know the guy in my dorm who has cochlear implants. I'm sure that guy is great and I’d love to meet him at some point, but in my mind that has nothing to do with the fact that I have hearing aids. I’ve also had lots of people ask me how I went "deaf" and just as many people ask how much hearing aids cost, which I’ve always thought to be a funny question, but I guess people are just curious. And once, there was the person at my high school who came up to me and said, “I’ve been meaning to talk to you about something for a while now, but some days you’re wearing hearing aids and some days you’re not, so I never know if you’re the same person.”
Like I said, I’ve been wearing my hearing aids more in the last year and a half since starting college. As a nursing student, this has presented one big challenge that I wasn’t anticipating: using my stethoscope! I have to take my hearing aids out when I use my stethoscope, which is more just an annoyance and waste of time than anything else. I don’t know yet what I’ll do about this when I start clinicals and eventually start working, but I guess it’ll just be one more thing to figure out as I go!
If anyone else has any other thoughts about hearing loss or hearing aids, let me know!
Anyways, I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday season and is enjoying nicer weather than here in the DC area right now... this morning's snow has just turned into a slushy mess!