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The Life of a Deaf Girl This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

I have a profound hearing loss. I don't know if I was born with a hearing loss or not, but I was diagnosed with a hearing impairment when I was three years old. Ever since my mother brought me into the world, she knew that something was wrong with me; however, my doctors always said that nothing was wrong with me and that Mom was just being paranoid.

At the age of three, Mom and I moved to Knoxville, TN. Since I was living in a new town and all, I had a new doctor. My new doctor finally found out what was wrong with me; I was deaf. It was quite obvious, too—I couldn't hear what people were saying to me and I didn't talk like the average three year old, I talked like a one year old.

Mom obviously wanted me to hear, so I got a hearing aid to help me hear. I kind of remember receiving my first hearing aid, but the memory is a bit fuzzy. I vaguely remember sitting in a hearing booth and being tested, and putting on my hearing aid for the first time. I didn't understand that I was deaf, I didn't even realize I couldn't hear.

Shortly after I received my new hearing aid, I was put into a school for children with a hearing loss. I spent two years there with my teachers, Ms. Kathy and Ms. Nicole. I liked it there; there were plenty of fond memories at that school.

When I was six years old, and starting kindergarten, I was transferred to Bearden Elementary School. In kindergarten, I was placed in a special education classroom; I wasn't quite ready to be in a regular classroom.

In first grade, however, I was put in a regular classroom with hearing kids. I was still in special education, though, but just for part of the time. I felt like I fit in with the hearing kids; I had no problem getting along with them even though my classmates probably thought I was “weird”.

When I was third grade, I was transferred to another school. I was the only deaf student in the entire school. But I didn't care. My teachers and parents said that I was very intelligent, far too intelligent to be going to school with other deaf students.

It wasn't until fourth grade when I realized that I stuck out because I was deaf. I realized that I was “weird”. All of a sudden, there was a barrier between me, the deaf girl and my classmates, the “normal” kids who could hear. So, from fourth grade to fifth grade, I refused to socialize with hearing people; therefore I didn't have any friends.

Then I went to middle school. During that time, I decided to actually make friends. And I did manage to make a few friends. I was shy and quiet, though, and I didn't socialize with everyone.

But then, around the middle of sixth grade, I lost my friends. Was it because they didn't want to be friends with somebody who couldn't hear? Or was it because that I was too socially awkward? I never knew why I lost them. I didn't have any friends, but I still talked to people.

Being deaf isn't easy, I can tell you that. I have a hearing aid in my left ear, and a cochlear implant in my right ear. At school, I use something called an FM system. The best way to describe it is that it is a microphone that teachers wear so that I could hear what they are saying.

My classmates know that I am deaf, and they accept me for it. I'm pretty lucky; I could have been endlessly bullied or teased. However, they don't know that I have a hearing aid and a cochlear implant (my hair “hides” them). So, when my hearing aid or cochlear implant's battery goes out in the middle of class, I have to replace the batteries in front of my classmates which can be humiliating.

I am used to being deaf, though; I am used to being the one that “sticks out”. I am used to the people talking behind my back about my hearing problem.

Sometimes I wish I wasn't deaf. Would I have a better social life if I wasn't deaf? Probably. But, other times I like being deaf. Being deaf is like a part of me; I can't imagine if I did have normal hearing. There are several bright sides to being deaf; one example is sleeping in peace at night (I don't hear a thing at night!).

I am proud that I am deaf. I don't know exactly why. But I know that there's a reason behind my hearing loss; maybe I have a hearing loss so I can be a stronger person, I don't know.



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