Unusually enough, I’ve come to think that losing my hearing was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me, as it led to the publication of my first paperback. It took a while for me to acknowledge that I was losing my hearing and really needed help.
I think that no matter how challenging things get, you can make them much better. I have my parents to praise for that. Because of my hearing loss, they never allowed me to think that I couldn’t accomplish something. One of my mother’s best-loved sayings when I expressed doubt that I could do something was, “Yes, you can.”.
When I was a senior in college, I was born with a mild hearing loss but began to lose more of my hearing. 1 day while sitting in my college dormitory room reading, I noticed my flatmate get up from her bed, go to the princess telephone in our room, pick it up and start talking. None of that would have seemed strange, except for one thing: I never heard the phone ring! I wondered why I couldn’t hear a phone that I could hear just the day before. I was too baffled– and embarrassed– to say anything to my roommate or to anyone else.
Late-deafened folks can always reminisce the events when they first stopped being able to hear the important things in life like doorbells and telephones ringing, people talking in the next room, or the television. It’s sort of like remembering where you were when you learned that President Kennedy had been shot or when you learned about the terror attack at the World Trade Center.
Unbeknown to me back then, that was only the inception of my downward spiral, as my hearing grew progressively worse. But I was still vain and young enough not to want to buy an electronic hearing aid. I struggled through college by sitting up front in the classroom, straining to read lips and asking people to speak up, sometimes time and again.
I knew that I had to buy a hearing aid. I was still vain enough to wait a few months while I let my hair grow out a bit before taking the plunge but I eventually did buy a hearing aid.
Soon, my hair length didn’t matter much, as the hearing aids got smaller and smaller. The newer programmable and digital hearing aids go a long way toward improving on that. They can be set to match different types of hearing loss, so you can, say, increase a particular high frequency more than other frequencies.
Once I got my auditory aid and had the ability to hear again, I could zero in on other things that were important to me– like my education, my career and writing that first novel! I didn’t realize it then, but that first listening devices actually liberated me to go on to bigger and better things.
As I began to lose more and more of my hearing, it was a chore just to keep up at work, let alone doing much else. Once I got the hearing aid, I no longer had to worry about a lot of the things I did before, and I began to think that writing a novel would be the perfect hobby for me.
My first best-seller was published in 1994 and my fifth in the summer of 2005. Writing turned out to be much more than a hobby to engage in, as I’ve been writing full-time for more than 10 years. I’m now hard at work on my first nonfiction work, a photo-essay book to be published in 2007. I honestly believe that I would never have sat down at the computer and banged out that first novel if I hadn’t lost so much of my hearing. Instead, I ‘d probably still be an editor somewhere and still dreaming about someday becoming a novelist. That’s why I sometimes think that losing my hearing was one of the best things that ever happened to me.