Category Archives: Deaf

"Quiet Day"

Today is going to be really quiet, I can feel it. From the minute I opened my eyes in bed I knew that this was going to be a “deaf day” as I call them.

Many may be asking, “Aren’t you already deaf?” or “How can you be surprised, you’ve been deaf all your life?”
The thing is though, my hearing fluctuates. With the number of times the Duggar’s have had kids in that show “19 Kids and Counting”, my hearing can fluctuate just to that amount of times in a day.

The problem is though, somJim Bob and Michelle Duggare days my hearing doesn’t quite bounce back all the way. It just goes low, and stays low. These are hard days. Because the world still expects what normal-hearing Connor can do when currently, I may not be able to hear a single thing your saying.

Lately it’s been doing that more often. There is really no answer why, it just is. It happens a lot to people who have Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome (LVAS). That is why my audiologist is getting me a cochlear implant. Because my hearing has gone down, and stayed down to the point that I need to get surgery to “fix” it. (That isn’t his wording, that is wording that a lot of people who aren’t familiar with cochlear implants like to use)

Although this all may sound very grim and depressing. I’m not really bothered by it. It has been this way since I was born and there isn’t a thing in the world I can do about it. I have to look at the positives in life. I just get up, put my underwear on, and go to school like the rest of the world hoping that it’ll be a good day and that I’ll get a good spot in line at Starbucks.

Have a good day folks.

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Crewing A Show

English: Helen Keller. Français : Helen Keller.

English: Helen Keller. Français : Helen Keller. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve just begun crewing “The Man Who Came To Dinner” and through sitting there for six hours while they set cues, a lot of things were revealed to me.

I’ve realized what frustrates me so much about tech rehearsals. Don’t get me wrong, I like doing the whole crew thing, its just the actual “teching” that”s always really frustrated me and for some reason; about 3 hours in I was always ready to leave.

It was the darkness backstage.

Now somebody reading this is probably thinking, “What? Is he afraid of darkness?” No it isn’t that. It’s the fact that after about three hours of sitting in the darkness not being to hear the whispers that my fellow crew members are saying to each other, and the fact that I can’t read lips back there really sets you back.

Especially if you feel they may or may not be talking about or to you.

It’s also the fact that the stage manager gives orders through a microphone. This drives me crazy. I know, that’s how it’s done, it’s a “God Mic” and she has to use it. But that sound reverberates like no other. I can’t understand a thing and it drives me absolutely crazy. I made a complete idiot out of myself yesterday because I thought I heard something and did something else and it was very embarrassing. Nobody will offer to tell me what she said, so I’ve gotta improvise.

It’s because of all of this, that I am constantly asking questions. And because I ask so many questions, I’m getting on peoples nerves and they start being impertinent towards me. I have NO IDEA what is going on. I can’t hear a thing back there and my vision is impaired. Yes, as many of you are thinking, truly a Helen Keller situation.

As you may be asking, “Well what’s so different about tech rehearsal from normal rehearsal?”
It depends on the show, because usually there are lights on from the stage most all the time that allow for me to see lips backstage. I’m praying this show is like one of those…

One more point I want to make today:

Nobody has the right to get frustrated with me for something I have no control over. Just like nobody has the right to get frustrated with somebody else about something they have no control over. I’ve done the best I can, and everybody else has too. Getting frustrated with me for not hearing in a piercing black backstage is like getting mad at a man in a wheelchair for not being able to dance with you. I’m not specifically talking to any one person or group of people when I say this, this is a general address.

Everybody have a good week, it’s a short one for me!

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Weird Injection

Well, I just got injected with something weird that the injections nurse at Goddard didn’t think I should be injected with for my surgery coming up in December. That was comforting. It was really nice to be asked four times if “I’m sure I want to be injected with this?” So if all the sudden I change colors or grow a third eye, you know why.

Something that came to my mind today; oftentimes I’m asked why do I date hearing girls? Or how come I don’t date deaf girls? Apart from the fact of how completely random that question is, I just don’t think about it. Honestly it never crosses my mind. It just so happens that I’m around hearing girls most of the time, and when it comes time to ask girls on dates, they don’t have hearing aids! Its not prejudice, its probability.

In my opinion, if your too busy looking at stuff like that you are not somebody worth dating. Now I’m not going to be oblivious to the world, there is a basic attraction that must be achieved before you could give somebody a chance at dating. But if all you ever think about is “oh, he’s nice and funny. but I can’t date him because he’s got hearing aids”, than you need to think about how you present yourself in society. I’ll answer that for you, you look like an idiot if looks are all you think about.

I distinctly remember a girl in high school that I liked my freshman year, and it seemed as though she was interested back. Whenever I brought up the discussion of my feelings toward her, that exact reaction was played out in real life. I was told I couldn’t be dated because she was embarrassed about the hearing aids and being seen dating somebody with them. Now that, was a completely shocking move towards me. I had never been told that I wasn’t able to do something or be something because of having hearing aids! Now I look back on it and marvel on the complete rudeness of the girl, but back then I was shattered. I went to school two days without the hearing aids on to try and hide it. That was embarrassing for everybody involved. I couldn’t hear a thing going on and trying to cover it was weird because trying to add into a conversation when you don’t know what is being said is impossible. I tried to compromise. Nothing worked. She just was a complete imbecile that wasn’t worth my time.

Sometimes you can change people’s opinions about circumstances and sometimes you can’t. I’m always willing to give people a chance though. Even after they mess up.

I now know that it wasn’t worth trying to change myself for her, because if she wasn’t willing to accept me for myself, than I should have said tough s…(you know what goes there) and moved on. There are just some things people can’t change in life, but one thing you always can change is your attitude.

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One Month Away

English: University of Oklahoma logo.

English: University of Oklahoma logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Something that is shocking me is the fact that in a month and six days, my life will be changing.  It is was obviously a blessing from God to get insurance approval to get the cochlear implant, but I’m very nervous as to what it’s going to be like to hear out of that ear. I haven’t ever heard any “real noise” out of the right ear, especially in the last year or so. I’m getting very excited. Even though that is coming up I’ve still got other things coming up, I’m a Lighting Design student for the theatre at the University of Oklahoma. I’ve got a show, “The Man Who Came To Dinner” coming up in the next week, finals, and everything else a college student deals with at the end of a semester. Life doesn’t stop for cochlear implant surgery!

Although I’m nervous about how life is going to be and what it is going to be like going back to school three weeks after activation, I think it’s going to be okay. As far as how things are going now, I’m noticing little things changing day to day.

I remember hearing the elevator door beeping as I would step on it in the mornings, I’m not hearing that anymore. I don’t hear my roommates alarm anymore like I used to be able too, I don’t hear my keys jingling on my belt loop. But I know it’ll all come back in time! One thing that’s funny is although I’m not hearing these things, it’s bringing me closer to God because I’m finding myself praying more for help in getting through the day and in making right decisions when I’m being forced to “fake out” a conversation (when I don’t hear what you say so I use my acting skills and act like I heard you). I’ve gotten good at it and haven’t been caught in a year or so!

If your deaf and your reading this, one thing I’ve learned is “if you do the talking, you don’t have to do the listening”. That’s why I’m always trying to be funny and keep myself in the talking position!

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Introduction Into My Life

Before I go into my story of who I am, what type of hearing loss I have and what I experience everyday, I would like to share with you (if anybody decides to read this) why I’m doing this. I’ve decided to start this blog because I’ve got a lot of original experiences that most people my age will never encounter. I’ve felt that I want to share those experiences so that maybe somebody else out there can possibly relate to what I’m going through and see that it is possible to have a hearing loss or any other type of (what the rest of the world views it as) disability and not let it get them down. I’ve also written this so that I have another way to tell my story to my friends around me in a greater detail so they understand what it is like to have hearing aids in a day to day basis.

First things first, my name is Connor. I was born in Oklahoma, I was born in 1991, before the baby hearing screening laws were ever passed. Now in 2010, whenever you have a baby, they are to be screened before they ever leave a hospital to check for any type of hearing loss. Anyways, I left the hospital without any screening of any type and went on with life. I was my mothers first child and everything that she experienced seemed normal to her. It wasn’t until I was in kindergarten that they discovered that I needed hearing aids. That is viewed to be very late in developmental stages for babies to learn auditory-speech processing skills. That may be one of the reasons why you have the people who have hearing aids, but you may hear a bit of a difference in their speaking. They could have gotten their hearing aids, or cochlear implant, late and it hinders the learning process that they have to learn later in life.

Fast forward 5 years, I get my next set of hearing aids. I had to get more powerful ones due to the fact that my hearing was deteriorating. It was around that time that I was told by my ENT ( Ears, Nose, Throat Doctor) that I would probably need to be fitted with a cochlear implant by 15 years old.

Another four years later I got new hearing aids, these ones were digital to keep up with my ever deteriorating hearing. I was about to be entering high school by this time and the 15 year old mark was approaching. Two years later my hearing was fluctuating more than ever and I got fitted with my top of the line hearing aids that I have now. Jace Wolfe, somebody who I look up to, and my audiologist recommended that I get these instead of the cochlear implant at 15 years old. We did that instead. I’m very happy that I did that and got through high school without having to do any surgeries.

Now a freshman in college, everything has changed. Approximately two weeks before I moved into the dorms my hearing dropped dramatically. My hearing did what most LVAS patients did and what I was always nervous of, the signature drop. My right ear dropped 20 points in one appointment and another 20 in another. My left ear (my good, and always reliable ear) did about 15 in each appointment. There are certain guidelines that are to be met before one is a candidate for a cochlear implant, and within two weeks I went from “No I wouldn’t recommend one for your son, he wouldn’t like it” to “Yes, I would get one if he was my son”. I’ve been set to get surgery on December 20th, and my activation is January 5th. Most would say, “isn’t it just like a more powerful hearing aid?” Honestly, no. The choice you make about getting one must be taken carefully before just jumping into it, and it was a difficult choice for me, the people who get them, and the parents of deaf children to make.

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