Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hearing Loss Profile: Kym

Today's profile is a deaf adult and the parent of a son with mild hearing loss.

Kym's Story

My name is Kym and I run the blog 'Cuteness of Curiosity'.  I blog about my crafts, hearing loss, LGBT issues and my wonderful family. I live in New Jersey with my wife and our 2 teens.  Our son who is 12 1/2 has mild bilateral hearing loss.  I enjoy French movies, reading, gardening, the beach and am an avid cross stitcher and run a small shop on-line.  I work full time at a craft/art store and I love it.  Although, being deaf makes it challenging dealing with customers.  But, I love a challenge, so it certainly makes the job more interesting!
When I was 9 years old, I had the Mumps and a high fever which caused profound deafness in my left ear.  As a teen I started to lose my hearing in my right ear and was diagnosed with severe/moderate hearing loss in my right ear.  I refused to wear hearing aids at the time, I just didn't think they were 'cool' at that time, so my studies suffered terribly because of this.  I social bluffed my was through my young life and it got me through, as well as leaning on my friends to help me.  Now that I am older, I realize how wrong this was and I wish I would have done things differently.

For years I had been wearing two bte hearing aids from Beltone.  Now, I wear just one in my right ear.  I also use a Assisted Listening Device in certain situations, I've also used CART, a note-taker and interpreters.  In my 20's I started taking classes in ASL.  This changed my life.  Once I met other deaf and hard of hearing friends and was able to sign and use other communication techniques, without just having to smile and nod and not understand all the time.  Sign Language  has been my most affective means of communication with family/friends.  I also am not afraid to let people know I am deaf and that I may need them to accomodate me in different ways. 

My advice for parents is talk to your school, let them know if you need special educational needs, a 504 plan or an IEP.  Do what you have to do to make sure your child is accommodated, so they don't miss out on any part of their education.  See if your state has a Deaf/Hard of Hearing Organization that can come to your child's school and educate the staff on hearing loss and amplification tips.  Keep an open line of communication with your child so you know what needs may not be met and that you can help with.  Give your son/daughter lots of love, hugs and kisses and be their support system.  Depending on the hearing loss maybe they would benefit from Deaf School Education. 

And don't forget ASL it could open many wonderful doors for you and your family.

Next week, we're going to an ASL workshop. Such timely advice from Kym!

Happy Easter!

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