Hearing Loss and my New Bionic Ears (Hermienke de Kock)

Some people are ashamed of their hearing loss. They pretend it’s not happening. Some see hearing aids as a sign of weakness, or brokenness. A burden. Some people don’t want to get to know me, because they’re scared that we’d struggle to communicate, my “disability” makes them too uncomfortable. I’ve started experiencing discrimination from the most unlikely places.

But it doesn’t hurt me, and it doesn’t make me angry. I get it. I also fear things I don’t understand. The truth is that there’s nothing scary about me. I love freely, and I care deeply, and I’m so very proud of my new hearing aid. I shaved my hair so that everyone could see. I want them to stare at me, I want to talk about it, I want to explain why I think I’m lucky. I want to hold your hand if you’re going through this, and I want to say, “Music is more beautiful than you can even remember. These new bionic ears really are life-changing. Tinnitus won’t ever go away, but I promise you, you can learn to be ok… Silence is overrated.”

I can say these things because I almost let tinnitus take my goodness and my joy. I was angry, and scared, and I felt all alone in the world. But then an incredible audiologist restored my faith in myself and humanity, and Oticon restored much more than my hearing. Science saved me, once again. And life is beautiful, once again.

– Hermienke de Kock

 

This blog has been created following an NF2 BioSolutions UK coffee morning chat as a way to share stories, ideas, positivity and even sprinkle in some science. Everyone is welcome here and warmly encouraged to join us in contributing to our community through this blog. If you would like to add anything (anything at all!) then please contact myself, Grace Gregory, at grace.gregory-2@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk and we can pop it up on our blog. Watch this space and please join in helping us all connect and share with one another!

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