From 2 ½ to 3 senses
From severe loss of hearing, I am now at a mild hearing loss. In a way it is my new superpower, I can switch off from a conversation that I do not find interesting!
My disabilities did not define me. They have shaped me. Instead of letting my trauma mislead me, I let my intuitions guide me. I have learnt some valuable lessons in the last ten years after losing my senses.
1. Look at the person you are speaking to.
When your hearing depends on lip reading and facial expressions, it is important to pay attention to how it is being said. I learned to pick up nonverbal cues, I used the pauses to comprehend the information. I asked questions to clarify. Of course being culturally sensitive and mindful not to stare. And I always remember to smile.
2. Pay undivided attention and focus.
From being the last bencher all my life, my hearing loss led me to move to the first bench and focus, resulting in excellent grades and awarded various scholarships during my Masters and other courses that I did. I was also invited to be a part of the Golden Key International Honour Society. This was big for someone who had dropped out and failed thrice in college. Sometimes we think we know it all, but there is so much more to learn.
3. Listen to understand, not to respond.
Do not wait for the pause so that you can start talking. Understand the meaning behind the pause. Sometimes people want to be just heard, respect that.
4. Ignore what is being spoken behind your back; it doesn’t serve you anyway
I came across people who made fun of my deafness. I tackled them by ignoring them. I came up with a strategy of segregating items into a bullshit folder in my brains. I shut them off by not paying any attention to and remained happy. Do not let how others behave with you affect you. Their treatment towards you is a reflection of themselves. You know you! Be more of you! The world will adjust
5. Don’t look back.
You are not going that way anyway. Own your imperfections and be proud of them. And, if you depend on lip-reading, say that before you get into a conversation. You will be amazed at how understanding and supportive most people around us are.
6. Dare to go beyond your limits.
There may be many things your mind tells you; you cannot do so because you will not be able to. Or you are not good at. Dive in. You will find a way. You can have everything you want once you give up the belief that you cannot have it.
Don’t take your senses for granted. Pause and enjoy the silence. Listen to your favourite music, pay attention to the chirping birds. There is so much joy in little things.