Somewhat Deaf and Completely Scared

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About Doug Zeigler

Doug is a husband, a father of four, a tech and video game geek. In his rare spare moments, he enjoys good books and even better beers, exploring new things, places and food with his wife and Kentucky basketball. He also possesses a vast knowledge of 80's music that he hopes will pay off big at some random trivia night.

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing about this Doug. One of my challenges is sharing my weaknesses, or more accurately what I perceive to be weaknesses, with others. That includes sharing it with people who are very close to me, like my wife and the rest of my family. Of course, such openness with the right people often helps more than I ever assumed it would.

    • Doug Zeigler says:

      Right you are, Nate. Having loved ones to share your fears as well as your hopes can free you in ways you never thought possible. At least that’s been my experience. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this.

  2. Doug, thank you for this article. I have hearing loss similar to yours except that mine is middle frequency, and there are no useful hearing aids right now. It was very hard to start telling people about this, and a lot of them still want to “fix” me, but most are very understanding, and it’s a lot easier to function when people make the effort to look at you. I’m glad I’m not the only one who was hiding and scared.

    • Doug Zeigler says:

      JJ, I do feel like we are just scratching the surface of helping folks with all kinds of hearing difficulties. It can be really difficult and even embarrassing (which was part of my struggle) to explain to others that all you really need is to talk face to face most times.

      Thanks for sharing your side too.

  3. Your story closely parallels that of one of my closest friends; she too was born with nerve deafness, and has only about 30 percent normal hearing. She was fortunate to be diagnosed early (her mother found it odd that a two-year-old did not even flinch when a metal pan came crashing down on the kitchen floor right behind her!) but she still struggled because her family could not afford good hearing aids and the country she grew up in (Taiwan) lacked social or charitable programs that might have provided them. That, combined with trying to learn to talk with a severe hearing impairment, caused her to have a profound speech impediment as well, and she was the target of bullying and taunts as a child. By the time her parents immigrated to the US when she was in junior high school, like you, she had learned to cope and hide her problem by lip-reading as much as possible. Despite continued bullying due to her speech, she became an outstanding student and got a full-ride scholarship to college. But she soon found herself struggling academically due to her inability to hear in large lecture halls, and having social issues as well. She was on the verge of dropping out when a perceptive professor picked up on her problems and told her about a state program (vocational rehabilitation) that would help her get the hearing aids she needed. She too had a hard time acknowledging that she needed help–she was raised to never ask for help–but it made a huge difference. She went on to get a master’s degree in counseling and now works exclusively with the deaf and hearing-impaired population and is highly respected by the deaf community where we live. She is even working on a PhD! She is a huge inspiration to me. She still has some struggles and problems, but where she once considered her hearing impairment a curse to be hidden at all costs, she now considers it just part of who she is, and it led her to find her calling. Sounds like you’ve found your place as well. Great piece!

    • Doug Zeigler says:

      That is truly an inspirational story, KatyD! Thanks for sharing that. It took me 40+ years, but I’ve finally accepted it as part of who I am too. Good for her that she figured that out much sooner than I did.

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