Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Laura Muller and Undiagnosed Hearing Loss

Reading about people who are successful and driven with a hearing loss is always inspiring to me. The latest such story I've seen was in the Yorkshire Post here and has to do with Laura Muller. She was born with 50% of her hearing and is now a professional skydiver.

In the article, Laura discusses how she would often have concerns about how well she could handle things with her deafness. She wasn't diagnosed with a hearing loss until she was 15 years old, so wearing hearing aids was new for her at a pretty important time of a person's life. She made the best of it, though, and went on to attend college and become a skydiver.

Excited! You Bet!
Hearing loss in kids can sometimes be dismissed as
selective hearing or just an excitable child.
(From Flickr user smileham)
What I like about this article is that it discusses honestly the challenges Laura faced but also how she overcame them. She knew what she wanted to do and took steps so that she could accomplish them (one of the steps was replacing her old hearing aids with a new higher-quality set).

What I also found striking was that she had to wait 15 years before a 50% loss was diagnosed. According to the article "they" (not sure if it's referring to family or doctors) thought she just had selective hearing.

It reminded me of how my mother had to fight for my own hearing loss to be diagnosed. She suspected a loss (which was mild at the time) when I was young but it wasn't diagnosed until I was 4. Before then she was told that it was just me being a rambunctious toddler. I am happy I didn't have to wait till I was a teenager for the truth to be found out.

When hearing loss is suspected in kids it's important to listen to your gut. It could be nothing but I think parents tend to know best when it comes to their child. My mom had some fairly subtle signs to deal with (since it was just a mild loss at the time) but she knew something was wrong. One of the tip-offs for her, by the way, was the fact that I always wanted to sit on one side of her and not the other when she read to me. That was/is my "good" side and I could hear her better there.

According to this interesting article I found (from 1995), children with hearing loss in one ear are ten times more likely to fail a grade than children who do not have a hearing loss. So I think it is definitely vital to recognize hearing loss right away.

3 comments:

  1. Hi, Megan. My name is Vera, and I've had hearing loss since I was a young girl. Back then people didn't understand about hearing loss, and a lot of people would accuse me of "playing possum", or what ever else they could come up with. That included my family. I was denied a hearing aid for various reasons. It was 1971 before someone actually listened to me and I got a hearing aid. They have improved a lot over the years and I now wear a digital one. I have more understanding of people who have trouble hearing, than a lot of people do, and I think it's time that people in the work force take a training course in how to work with customers/clients who have hearing problems, because some can be so ignorant in their interaction with us. Thank you for your blog and the opportunity to posthere.

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  2. My degenerative hearing loss was diagnosed when I was 19. I remember having tinnitus and plugged ears off and on throughout childhood. I used to play lipreading games with my 86 year old grandma when I was ten, and I remember she commented once that I was pretty good at it. I have always wondered if she suspected I had hearing loss. She died when I was 13, so I will never know. I was able to use a phone and watch TV. I guess the signs were too subtle for anyone to see until the tinnitus got so loud I took myself to the doctor at nineteen. I didn't even get a hearing aid then. I waited until my mid-twenties.

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    Replies
    1. Your story is about the same as mine. I am almost 30 now. I am finally going to get hearing aids to help me out since I am going back to college this fall and feel that I need them to get though my classes.

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