Ipaja, Lagos (Nigeria)
“I smile to myself anytime someone calls my name from a far distance and I hear it. It is indeed a miracle for me.”
How and when did you first realize you were experiencing hearing loss? What problems was that causing in your day-to-day life? Did you hesitate to seek care? Why or why not?
I realized I couldn’t talk to people properly at a young age. I actually thought it was normal. I felt it will get better when I grow up, but it didn’t. The hearing loss really affected my childhood as I couldn’t pick up every word being said to me or around me. I would have to guess the sentence or read the lips of the person talking. I couldn’t socialize or watch tv without subtitles. I received a lot of insults, such as “Are you deaf?” or “Can’t you hear me?” In school I would sit at the front of the class and pray the teacher doesn’t move around the class as I wouldn’t hear them.
The hearing issue was a struggle for me. I found out from my mouth that I had measles as a child, so I did my research and found out measles could affect the hearing and speech. I also have a speech disorder. I just accepted my loss and that I wouldn’t be able to hear again. It’s funny when my siblings say they hear birds, house flies, wind or footsteps. I can’t hear any of that, even whispering.
At the age of 20 – 21, I opened up to my family that I have a problem hearing properly, and they accepted and adapted to my hearing difficulties. They repeat their sentences without complaining. My dad doesn’t depend on me to hear his car horn when he gets back home, he will call my phone instead. My mom is a nurse, she told me I could use a hearing aid and that it might work. I did a hearing test and the doctor said my two ears aren’t working properly enough, but my right ear can hear a bit better than the left. We bought the ReSound LiNX Quattro hearing aid. We could only afford the left ear because it was too expensive. Putting on the hearing aid, I felt I was being reborn, I was hearing new sounds I haven’t heard of before, especially the wind. All of the sounds came closer to me. I cried a bit because I could hear the doctor talk while looking at his face, so now I don’t have to read his lips. I’m really grateful for this opportunity. I’m hoping I can save more money to buy the right hearing aid because I still struggle to know where the sound is coming from sometimes.
Based on your experience, do you have suggestions for others on how and where to start? Any other important things for them to consider?
Open up to your family and friends about your hearing issues so that they can understand how to talk to you and adapt. You shouldn’t be ashamed to tell others.
What was your biggest concern about hearing aids? Did that turn out to be true? How have hearing aids changed your life?
Nobody really told me anything about hearing aids, beside my mom who said we should try it out. I didn’t have much faith in it. The moment I wore it, it felt like a miracle. I could hear the tiniest sound. I once asked my mom, “what was that sound?” She told me it was a bird. I was shocked because I don’t know how a bird sounds or I didn’t even know they make sounds. I can hear my neighbors, as if they are in my room. I smile to myself anytime someone calls my name from a far distance and I hear it. It is indeed a miracle for me.
What would you tell someone who is considering hearing aids?
One question: Do you believe in miracles?