Growing up with a deaf parent, your life tends to be a little different. My mom has been deaf for as long as I can remember. The doctors do not know exactly what happened, but when she was about three years old, they told my grandmother that her child was completely deaf in one ear and would have to wear a hearing aid in the other ear.
As my mom grew up, she rejected her hearing aid, which caused her to lose more of her hearing. As of now, she has less than 25 percent of hearing in one of her ears and is predicted to eventually go completely deaf. When she was a child, she didn’t have that many resources so she had to learn to adapt to her disability. She taught herself how to read lips and was put into speech therapy. Now, my mom embraces her deafness and wishes that more people knew about it, especially with everyone having to wear masks these days.
For me, I have always had to speak clearly and louder than most, especially when helping my mom. Anytime we go into a place together, or she is talking with someone who does not speak clear English, I’m there to help her. Without the mask mandate, it was hard for my mom to understand people. With the masks, as a big form of her communication is lip reading, she risks only catching about 50 percent of the conversation with doctors appointments, talking to employees, or even talking on the phone.
A few months ago, my mom had a doctors appointment and the hospital we were at was very strict about wearing masks. During her appointment, she couldn’t understand what the doctor was trying to tell her. I was there and I explained to her why I had to pull my mask down. I then proceeded to help my mom and the doctor communicate. I have helped my mom for as long as I can remember, and even more so during the mask mandate.
One day my mom will be completely deaf and she won’t be able to hear anything. We are not sure when that will be, even though at her last annual hearing appointment, the doctor said she had not lost any more hearing recently. It is something that crosses my mind frequently, but I know it will all work out.
As I watch my mom go through her daily life, I can’t help but think how incredibly strong she is and how even though it’s going to be hard when she loses her hearing completely, I know it’ll be okay. It might be harder to communicate with people but not impossible, and she has her family to help her get through it.