Written: February 10, 2001
Hi ___ =),
I need to vent a little more about AC… Something hit me like a ton of bricks last night… and I can’t quite shake it now….
We were over a LE’s house… sitting around the table, while our kids were sitting in the playroom… and from where I was sitting, I could see my son sitting in a chair, just watching the TV… and I was looking at him and thinking about how cute he is with his new haircut and all… what a great kid… you know… those loving motherly feelings…
Then I was thinking that soon, he’ll have his hearing aids… and I was just imagining him with them on… I’m actually looking forward to his reaction to them… and being able to hear everything… I’m thankful we now know and can deal with this.
But, then something just hit me… and I thought “Oh my God…. pretty soon, when people look at him… like I’m just watching him now… not me, but strangers or MOST people… the thing they are going to notice is going to be those hearing aids in his ears… ya know? and, I was just >
overwhelmed with a sadness thinking THAT’s how he is going to be labeled by so many people… at least initially if not longer… Not, “that tall boy” or “the one with the blonde wavy hair”… or “the big blue eyes”…. or “the kid who was talking about…” or did whatever. No, he’ll be “the kid with the hearing aids”… Ya know?
I mean… not that describing people with hearing aids or glasses or whatever is a terrible thing… it was just the fact that it’s going to just change his whole life that hit me… He’s never been anything BUT what he is now to anyone…a great kid…and, while *I* KNOW that’s all he STILL is… I don’t know.. the whole idea jus upset me. I actually started tearing up at the table and had to go to the bathroom. And, since then, I can’t get the idea out of my head.
I just don’t like the idea of it changing the way people see him… I feel like there’s this negative stereotype that goes with it or something that’s going to be forced on him. I mean, people will not know if he’s deaf or a little hard of hearing or ?? … and, I feel like he will just get labeled as… whatever….?? I don’t know.
I don’t WANT people to treat him different or think of him as any different… He’s a bright, cute, wonderful kid… and, I don’t want him thought of as “the kid with the hearing aids”.
It’s just not fair.
Welcome to reality, right? Whoever said life was fair, right? I know we all get judged and labeled and stereotyped… but, this is just not something I ever thought about for my child…
Maybe I’m just over-reacting… I’ve been pretty moody lately… and spending a good portion of yesterday on the phone dealing with insurance companies, doc offices, and the was given the run around on getting info, trying to figure out if we really have to pay $1200 of the $1800 cost for the aids didn’t help.
I found out there’s a lot of angry hard of hearing people out there trying to get insurance companies to cover hearing aids. It is pretty sad that they don’t. They cover viagra…but, not hearing aids?? I have to apply for a program called “PHCP – Physically Handicapped Children’s Program”… which is cool that it might help cover stuff…but, I just hate thinking of my son as “handicapped” too. It’s all so new and strange…
I know I should just be thankful for so many good things and that a mild hearing problem is the WORST of my worries for my son… I know that… but, still..
Thanks for “listening”.
I never did, and still don’t think of my son as “handicapped” or “disabled”. He’s not. His hearing loss doesn’t slow him down much, if any. He does get labeled as “the kid with the hearing aids”, though by others. And, that does still bother me a little. He’s so much more than that.
He does sometimes get annoyed and frustrated with this. He told me years ago that one of the first things kids will say to him, all kids, every time they first meet him, is “what are those things in your ears?” or something along those lines. I see it happen all the time when he meets new kids… or goes out into a group setting. He handles it well…. really well… but, there’s been times he really hated it….
I can’t blame him. I mean, as I’ve told him, and mentioned above – EVERYONE has some obstacle to face… However, as his mother, of course I wish I could fix whatever problems he has. Of course I don’t like to see him struggle with issues like “Labeling” and “stigma”. But, there are some things we have to face and deal with. Some things we can’t fix. That’s life.
The only ones that are really jerks to him about it… are people that don’t know him (or anything about hearing loss) at all. Anyone who takes more than a two minutes to speak to my son will quickly realize that he’s way more than “the kid with the hearing aids”.
He’s smart. Funny. Silly. Very handsome (if I don’t say so myself! :) ). He Loves reading in general. Plays baseball and the cello… and video games. Loves camping and shooting and whittling… and Boy Scouts. He’s a great big brother (usually). He’s caring and polite. In so many ways… your typical 11 year old boy. In many ways much better than a typical 11 year old boy (again, if I don’t say so myself. ;) ) He just also happens to have difficulty hearing, and he like things loud… says “what?” a lot, and wears hearing aids. it’s all part of him… and the complete package is very, very good.
So – I don’t care so much anymore if he’s the “kid with the hearing aids”… initially. As long as others learn that this is not the defining part of his character. Just an intro… just a small part. It’s the ones that don’t know… and don’t want to know that really bug me.
Maybe, as SOME people DO get to know him better – and they stop noticing the HA’s and start engaging his whole person – their own “stigma” and “labeling” tendencies will dissipate… ??
And, wouldn’t it be really cool if that branched out even more… ?? and began forcing people to re-evaluate other things they don’t really understand or label with a negative stigma?
Yeah. That would be cool.
Changing the world for the better…
…one label at a time.
Don’t laugh. It could happen! LOL
I know he changed my world for the better.
Filed under: diagnosed, grieving, hearing aids, labeling, positive coping, stigma | Tagged: Hard of Hearing, hearing aids, Hearing Disability, Hearing Impaired, mild hearing loss, Moderate Hearing Loss, stigma |