I've had the pleasure of featuring several amazing people on my Hear for the Curls blog, but there is someone that I've been wanting to feature for a while now: my husband, Jose. I have been wanting for him to share what it is like to live with me and my hearing loss and here it is:
I love her. I can simply admit that I love her. Most of you know her as Def Curls or Bella, but I know her as “Babe”. My wife and I have been together for 17 years (16 of those years married). Life has truly changed since we first met. We’ve had our stints of great times and our moments where we have struggled to stand on our feet. Through it all we have grown closer to one another and I can say that I would be lost without her in my life.
We have 4 children together (2 are adults & the youngest children are ages 11 and 13). We moved from New Jersey to Florida five years ago. Prior to moving to Florida, my wife was diagnosed with hearing loss, but she never followed-up with her audiologist back in New Jersey. She continued to work and go on with her life. Her previous employer accommodated her with an amplified phone after she informed them of her hearing loss. When we moved to Florida, it seems her hearing loss became worse.
Last year in 2016, she made an appointment to see an audiologist in Tampa. They diagnosed her with severe sensorineural hearing loss. Her new audiologist suggested that she get hearing aids because, 1) they felt that she was young and active and could benefit from the technology & 2) her hearing loss could get worse because the nerves in her ears were not being put to use since they were not receiving the proper stimulation. I was not shocked at any of those developments since she would always tell me how she couldn’t hear and it seemed to be getting worse. The signs of her hearing loss were becoming evident as time passed. I became used to repeating myself, speaking louder, speaking lower, doing anything that I had to do to communicate with her (even text her if we were under the same roof). I would even order for her if we went out to eat because she had trouble hearing anyone serving us. It became second nature to me.
Prior to her sensorineural hearing loss diagnosis, I thought that she heard what she wanted to hear as most joke about in marriages, but this was not the case; this was not selective hearing. She could not even understand me if I was whispering to her or speaking too low. Even if I was centimeters away from her face and I’d whisper something to her, she would not understand what I was saying. Either I had to speak up or she’d put her ear to my lips in order to hear what I was saying. At the same time, loud noises are very bothersome to her. These are things that I’ve had to make notes of.
I am glad that she now has her hearing aids (since May of 2016), but we currently face another issue: she barely wears them. She says they bother her and she prefers not to wear them unless she absolutely must. This has frustrated me somewhat because I have felt as though she wears them for others (example: work, etc..), but not for me. I still find myself having to repeat myself to her. What I have learned is that she is very sensitive to certain sounds and although she has one of the best hearing aids in the market, certain sounds bother and exhaust her. She has gone so long with hearing loss, without the help of hearing aids, that using them can become annoying for her, at times. I’ve had to put myself in her shoes to try and understand what she is going through. I cannot imagine not having the ability to hear. I don’t know what that is like, but she does (even though she is not 100% deaf). It has been a learning experience for me and I, along with our children, have had to become a bit more understanding of her situation.
My wife has always been truthful with me, as I have been with her. We know each other wholly. Through it all I can say that life has been wonderful. As we have grown older together and experienced life as a family, age and maturity set in, and we have learned from each other’s abilities and disabilities. I am conscious of the fact that hearing is important to many and that life without hearing can be difficult, but it is not impossible. Not hearing is normal to many, such as my wife. I have learned a lot from her and I love and support her and always will.
I love all of her.
Jose De La Cruz