As I was placed in special education early in my life, it only happened as I gotten older that I learned I had “less than perfect hearing”, that I questioned why was this not noticed when I was younger? It angers me on occasion to think my life would be different if it was detected earlier. When I was in 3rd grade there was a deaf girl in my class, she was in 6th (because in Special Ed, they throw us all in one room and not segregated into ages). That we our teacher was teaching us sign language. We said the Pledge of Allegiances in sign language as well did a song at the schools Christmas concert signing White Christmas.

When you are a child in the special needs system, no one ever believes you could achieve greatness. They just push you along to pass you. Fortunately, I always seemed to have strived to do my best as they kept trying to put me in “mainstream classes” but something just didn’t click. I think when I finally graduated my grade point average was 2.5. I remained in a “resource room” for English in my high school years and was even exempted from the HSPT testing even though I took it and I think i actually did well.

When senior year came I remember being told I could be mainstreamed for all classes even English. My last year, what’s the point? I’m going to be going to the vocational school for a portion of my day anyway. I decided to keep me in the resource room. I spent my entire elementary years in a special needs classroom for English, I don’t need to put me in a nightmarish mainstream class for my last year. I’ve been told all the homework we get in that class! No thanks! I’m staying. So, I stayed as a special needs for English all through high school, Although I felt proud of myself that I felt “normal” but knowing my GPA was a bit on the low side just shows maybe I didn’t do so well and just skimmed by after all.

When I graduated from the Art Institute, I had honors with a 3.6. I did not go to collage right after high school. I graduated in 1995. I started the Art Institute in July of 2000. I was 23.

It started when I was about the age of 22 when I kinda thought I had a hearing problem, but more because I thought of it was from loud noise exposure in the clubs. Logically speaking, this would make the most sense. If anyone rode in the car with me, probably wouldn’t like how I listened to my music. Bass down treble up, with the volume up. I always thought things had too much bass.

When I was about 24, I learned my hearing might be a little worse and also still assumed it was too much noise from the clubs. So I started trying to wear ear plugs when I worked. Some clubs would have speakers right on the stage where the music is directly facing us. The speakers may be above on the ceiling but it’s not too far from our ears. One day I thought, I should be wearing ear plugs. My ears do ring and sometimes really louder than usual. I started fearing I would go deaf. So, I would go out and buy ear plugs to wear.

The big day I fully realize the severity of my hearing was while at the Art Institute studying Video Production. I was about 26 and the end of my Video Production course. I already planned to staying for my bachelor of science in the new class called Digital Media Production and was a part of the first class to graduate under that degree at my school. I was completing the Video Production program fully and beginning the new program and not transfer.

While I was at school, I would generally sit in the front, for no other reason but because i noticed I had a hearing issue. The day I noticed how much of an issue, I was sitting in an editing suit trying to edit a video I was making for my portfolio. I was unhappy with the man I worked with on my project, another student. He was an older gentleman, I believe in his 50s, and had his own equipment. I met him in one of my classes, he was another student. He agreed that we would work together on my project. What really angered me working with him is that, I wrote the script, found the actors, and everything else associated with my project, and he was trying to take it over! “May I make a suggestion” popped out his mouth often. Is this my project or yours?

One example, I am directing my 10/15 minute short film to be used in my portfolio, I would request to have shots set up in a certain way. I wanted the camera placed in a spot and he would move it back to where he wanted it. It went so far I was using markers on the ground. I wanted it framed a certain way and I didn’t find out until I was editing that not only he wanted to put the camera where he wanted it, he also zoomed out from the original framing of the shot. He tells me to “edit in post.” I’m pissed because thats not how it works, and it will make the video pixelated. You can’t just crop the video and use zoom in post without it getting distorted and loose quality!

While shooting the video, a script I simply called “Love” about an alternative relationship, the actors could tell the tension between me and my camera man. I was not thrilled working with him and I wished I just checked out the equipment from school instead of agreeing to work with this man who wanted to control my project because it was “his equipment” I was using.

The other major issue was the audio. This is where I had my breakdown. I was having such a hard time editing. There was so much noise I didn’t notice while filming. I didn’t have my headphones the day I was trying to edit. I found myself turning the speakers all the way up, having my ears up against the speakers to see if I could get some of the noise out, and I’m crying like a baby because I didn’t know how horrible my hearing was and the fact that now my project was all a huge mess and I was short on time!

I ran to one of my instructors and he tried to calm me down saying, just use headphones. It’ll be ok. I knew it wasn’t. I believed I now have a real hearing issue. I would make sure to always have my headphones because it did help, not enough. I also had to work out how to do the visual edits. I trusted my friend with the shots. I learned my lessons though. My one solution was inspired by the music video editing to Stand Inside Your Love with the way how the video was framed and didn’t use the entire screen. I had to crop some scenes so much that, I felt it was the best idea.

When it was time for my portfolio, listening to it all on the larger speakers, I felt so much more needed to be adjusted with the audio. I wasn’t happy about it. The reaction to the script and acting was positive. Hearing some of the audience reactions while watching was a great feeling, even though inside I wasn’t satisfied with the final results. I would not watch my video ever since. Me and my classmate, never spoken since either. I wish him the best.

I would not see an audiologist about my hearing until after I finished school. I graduated in September 2005. Around 2004-2005 I also started to play my guitar again and wrote an entire 10 song album. I made my music video to the entire first version of my song True Soul Love while in school. This was the first song I written with lyrics and a music video. Such a milestone of a song for me.

Sometime between finishing school and 2006, I went and seen my first audiologist. She would send me to an ear throat nose doctor. This is where i learned that my hearing loss had nothing to do with noise. Say what? All the years of being in the clubs and it’s not noise induced hearing loss? This was news to me! Relieved but now more questions arise! I never went beyond all of this news until 2007. I would busy myself working on my album and live life how I always known.

I would soon move out of Philadelphia and to Allentown. I needed to get away from the city life for a bit. I also wanted to try and work at a new location. After I moved away from Philadelphia, and of all places I’m walking around in the King of Prussia mall (outside of Philadelphia), I found a hearing Aid store called Zounds. Sounded like an awesome name so I checked them out. I was tested a second time with confirmation that it’s not noise induced hearing loss. This time I would ask the person how do they know and please explain the chart to me. So he did. He printed out another chart and made notes on it for me. I didn’t ask for an in-depth detail from the ear throat nose doctor but I did here since I’m told the same, my hearing loss is not from loud music.

Zounds had a one month trial or your money back if you don’t like the hearing aids. They only offered over the ear, not in the ear. Completely digital with a remote that operated them. I never had hearing aids so I decided to take them for a trial. These were my first pair! This was summer 2007. I was 30 years old. I didnt like them, but I did like them. I heard so many sounds I never heard before! My mind would get overwhelmed. The first night I had them, when I arrived home and got out of the car and began walking up to my apartment I had to stop. I just stood there listening. I heard so many crickets! I don’t hear them unless one is really close to me. This time I heard them all over. There must be a thousand of crickets! Was I surrounded? For the first time, I was able to tell how bad my hearing really was.

People who have hearing will not understand how someone who couldn’t hear certain sounds before, would not be welcoming the new sounds. I couldn’t wear them if I was typing on the keyboard. The clicking sound really irritated me. I felt myself getting angry at the noise. It also effected me playing my guitar. All of a sudden, the sound of the pick scrapping the strings, was so pronounced and annoying. I didn’t know if I wanted to play anymore. Crinkling up paper to discard bothered me as well. So many sounds I didn’t enjoy with my hearing aids on. Why am I not enjoying this ability to hear new sounds?

I gave my new devices the one month trial. I didn’t like them, the style and I wanted to try in the ear ones. I also didn’t like the idea of a remote. What if I forgot it or it got dropped or stepped on? Are all hearing aids like this? No, just this company that has a remote. You need a remote to program them and to control the volume and this company didn’t make in the ear devices.

I didn’t want to give up on having hearing aids yet. I now had a care credit card from trying to use Zounds. I decided to seek out another audiologist. I was searching online and found a website called Hearing Planet and found a recommendation to an audiologist in the next town, Emmaus. I was tested again for my hearing and like the other 2 test, she confirmed that yes, it’s not noise induced hearing loss. 3 out of 3 test has confirmed, my hearing issues had nothing to do with working in the clubs.

I gotten in the ear hearing aids through this audiologist. I kept them and still have them. I found more comfort with these hearing aids than the other ones. Every sound did not overwhelm me. I would try to wear these and hope I can adjust and adapt. My mind was able to enjoy all the sounds without it nothing me too much. I would go forth with finishing my album with these hearing aids.

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I had to push myself to finish the album with my voice coach, whom I trusted would make sure my voice is perfect sounding for my album. I did find it better for me in finding my problem areas in my singing. I think they helped me a lot. I was still trying to do everything on my own. I would finally complete the album in 2008. I also found myself in a relationship that would distract me from the music world, and would soon become pregnant with my first child at 32 in early 2009 with not much moving forward in my music. I did have a few photo shoots and everything was crawling along with my music. It’s not easy doing it all on your own. Here is a picture of me where you can see I’m wearing my in the ear hearing aids.

It wasn’t until I was 37 when an audiologist told me that he could tell IN MY VOICE that it happened during development, within the first 7 years of my life. It could have been anywhere, maybe in the womb, during birth or a head trauma. Just knowing that he had picked up on it with only hearing me speak made me know how stupid the system I grew up in was.

I met this audiologist through my mom from her church. I was having problems with my hearing aids and she said she knew somebody from work. I believe one of the deacons had hearing problems as well and the audiologist visited the rectory. She made arrangements for me and him to meet up there.

TINNITUS

Yes, I have Tinnitus as well. As far back as I remember. I don’t know when it started or how. I’ve tried meditation, acupuncture, candling, some type of pill they made called Ring Be Gone(?) I found none of it worked. Or perhaps I’m supposed to do it for a year. I don’t know for how long, but I have tried many methods when I lived in the city. It’s just something I have to deal with and another annoyance.

The loudest thing I hear is my tinnitus. I don’t know what silence is. If you are talking to me in a low volume, I probably didn’t hear you or I didn’t hear every word, the sound of my tinnitus makes it hard to hear. There is no volume to turn it down. There is no off switch. Sometimes the sound changes or gets louder. I can only find distractions but over all, I have essentially become accustomed to it. How can I not? I just loose myself in thoughts as a distraction sometimes I have to just do things and keep busy.

I remember a few times while being tested in elementary school by what I believe was the school nurse. I would be facing her and she’d pressed the buttons. The sounds were causing my ears to ring and I couldn’t distinguished them. I’m a kid, so I’d raise my hand every time I seen her press the button. I didn’t understand. I think a good audiologist would have noticed that, or even tested me in a separate room or facing away, like the first audiologist and doctor did, I was in a separate room.

Misophonia / Sound Sensitivity

After I had gotten Hearing aids I experienced sound sensitivity. Sounds I was never use to. In my mind, I didn’t like these sounds. I learned in 2014 about a thing called Misophonia, which is a sound sensitivity. When I read about it, I can agree to all it was saying when I wore my hearing aids. This seems to be a real thing with people who have much better hearing than I do and I wonder if someone can have this when they have hearing aids. I made a print out of the one article.

I found myself getting annoyed and angry. I had to take them out. I can only reason that for many years, not hearing certain frequencies, my mind couldn’t tolerate these new sounds. I would not wear my hearing aids. When I came across this word, I believe this is me with my hearing aids on.

Now I’m getting older, I wonder if my hearing has more declined, since naturally many people do seem to have a decline in hearing. It’s hard to measure tinnitus. I think it might have gotten louder over the years. I don’t ever sit in silence. I know they make a noise canceling thing but like everything else, it cost money. Im use to the noise.

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I’m learning so much more about my hearing from this audiologist than I did before. I’m grateful that he’s helping me.

There could be an 8th nerve damage. Called Vestibulocochlear nerve. My audio input my have atrophy. My brain process is slow in the audio department. I may miss words and the process going into my brain. He wants me to see another ear nose throat doctor and let them run all test. When he was looking at the one from over 10 years ago, in comparison to grades, I’m below failure.

I do better with reading rather than listening to people.

He thinks I may well be a cochlear implant candidate but wants the doctors to do their thing.

He explained to me about how in the Bible that Jesus healed a bind man, he had to do it twice. Because of the input going into the man’s brain for the first time, it was being distorted and than he put mud on his eyes and he was able to see normal. I need to reread that passage, because, you know he was speaking to me.

This is the audiologist my mom had me meet. He did work for Deacon Mike at the church. He has an implant as well, but his is different than the one I may need.

My mom found a business card of his and she gave it to me on Sat. I emailed him and he responded back. He came and seen me on Monday. He does his own work and house calls. Completely mobile. I like that. He even has a camera that can take a picture inside my ear. Technically can be wonderful.

He’s working on my hearing aids. Ordered new doors. A nice gentleman. He’s not even charging. So thankful.

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Here is the passage he spoke of

I’ll probably eventually post all my hearing stuff on my own name blog but I’m feeling to disconnected from social media over all.

SOME EXTERNAL LINKS

The Best Hearing Loss Simulations: Understanding Audiograms and the Impact of the Speech Banana

https://www.mdhearingaid.com/en/blog/can-hearing-aids-cause-hearing-loss

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