Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hearing Loss Profile: Melissa

Today we get to meet Melissa. Please visit her blog, A Journey with a Cochlear Implant.

Lissa's Story

Hello, my name is Melissa but I'm also known as Lissa. I grew up learning to communicate through spoken language, but of course this does not mean I cannot sign. I can- I love to sign with deaf friends (those who use BSL as their primary form of communication) and my mum signs to me in the mornings when I do not have my implant on.
I was diagnosed at 9 months of age with severe-profound bilateral sensioneural hearing loss. Doctors and my parents think my hearing loss is due to prematurity and being given medication. I was given a group of antibiotics known as aminoglycosides- without them I would not be here today. I was born as one of triplet girls (one did not survive) at 28 weeks gestation.

My parents were warned to watch us for any developing disabilities over time. I was aided with my first body worn hearing aids at the age of 1 year old. My mum has always told me that I was not one of those kids who hated their hearing aids and tried to get rid of them at every oppurtunity. I LOVED my hearing aids!
I got my first pair of BTE's (behind the ear aids) at the age of 5. I attended a school for deaf children from 3-11 years old.

My hearing loss progressed to profound at most frequencies around the age of nine years old, so I went forward and went through the assessment process for a CI. In October 2000, at the age of 10 1/2 years old, I was implanted in Manchester with a Nucleus.

I attended a local-ish comprehensive school from 11-16 years, I was mainstreamed for the first time in ALL classes although with a Communication Support Worker (CSW). Having these CSW's in school and college has provided me with the ability to advocate for myself and manage real situations.

I am still a bimodal user, as I wear both my processor (in the left ear) and my hearing aid in my right. It works for me, since both (especially with the use of my CI) helps me to hear.

My advice to parents of young children is follow what you feel is right for your child. Any method of communication, amplification etc will lead to your child being successful. A deaf child can be anything that they want to be. You're the parent and whatever you feel is right, do it. Do not let other people sway you but let them offer you guidance, as they cannot chose for you.

During my schooling years, I have had many types of equipment to help me, in primary and secondary I have gone through many FM systems and I think my favourite one was the FM Genie, it was more modern and small. But nowadays I'm sure they are a lot smaller!!

Being the only deaf member of the family, can sometimes be frustrating but with requests and giving my family ways of to make life easier for me, they can change!

I am now working a day care nursery with children aged 0-5 years, communication is quite easy but if I don't understand I ask to repeat, but it is not a major problem.

Thanks Lissa! It is important as a hearing parent that I understand the frustration caused by being the only hard of hearing person in the family. I'm glad your family was able to adapt. There's hope for us yet!

If you are deaf or hard of hearing and would like to be featured here at BTaC, or if you are a parent of a deaf or hard of hearing child, please send an email to bigteethclouds at gmail dot com to be interviewed.

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