My Essay I’m Learning to Listen in New Ways is On Shondaland

I have suffered from hearing loss for decades. And finally, I found the courage to write about it.

As I write in my latest essay recently published on Shondaland, my invisible disability  has become a battle ground with my now-teenage daughter.

The essay begins here:

I live with hearing loss. Nobody but my family and closest friends know that beneath my cascading shoulder-length hair, I have worn miniscule, virtually invisible hearing aids with super-tiny microprocessors in each ear since my 30s because of a potent combination of genetics and all the rock concerts I went to as a teen.
Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with mild-to-moderate hearing loss two decades ago.
I’m not alone, although I often feel as if I am. According to the World Health Organization, 430 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss. This is expected to rise to 700 million people by 2050. The majority of people with hearing loss are below retirement age, and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders notes that only 16 percent of adults between the ages of 20 and 69 who need hearing aids have ever actually used them.
My lineage includes the unfortunate gift of poor hearing, passed down through the generations like an unwanted, unasked for heirloom. My maternal grandfather wore a huge beige device on each ear, signifying its ugly existence. My mother also suffered from undiagnosed hearing loss throughout my childhood. Despite my legacy, I brushed off any of my own concerns by using closed captioning to watch TV and telling my husband to speak louder.
Read the rest of the essay on Shondaland.
Shondaland screenshot
As I write in my essay, “I’ve learned that the more I talk (and write) about what scares me, the less power it has to shame me.”

What about you? Do you have an invisible disability? How does it make an impact on your parenting or relationships? Let’s discuss.

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2 Responses to “My Essay I’m Learning to Listen in New Ways is On Shondaland”

  1. Leah Korican

    What a powerful essay! My husband has mild hearing loss, and your essay is helping me think about it in a new way. I’m glad I read this today!

    • Estelle

      I’m so glad to hear that, Leah. It’s so important to find ways of supporting him, and it shows how much you care.