My name is Frieda. I am the third child in a family of four adoptive children. I was born with a moderate to severe hearing impairment. I am a wife and a mother of two boys in their teens.
Here is the beginning of my story.
One of my earliest recollections was of listening to a radio. I was probably about three years old. I remember holding the small, white pocket radio really close....right up to my ear, listening to music.
My parents knew that something was different about me. I was a curious child, poking in drawers, and keenly observant about my surroundings. When I began to talk, my language skills were..... different. I would say, "fida ator" for refrigerator. It was a language all my own, a language only my parents could understand. I am sure my mother patiently repeated the words, enunciating them clearly to me. But the progress wasn't there. Basically, I was speaking the words I was hearing. As a toddler, I was taken to an audiologist for a hearing test, but my mom said I was so uncooperative, the test was never done.
It wasn't until I was about five years of age, getting ready for Kindergarten, that I was taken for another attempt to test my hearing. The first thing I remember was seeing what looked like a large safe. As the audiologist slowly opened the door, I remember screaming and crying. I truly believed that I was going to be "locked" in the safe.....forever.
What was different this time was that my mother was allowed to come with me into the "safe." The audiologist showed me the pictures on the walls and pointed to the toys on the floor. He sat down, picked up a pair of headphones, and placed them on his head. He looked into my eyes and gently placed the headphones on my head and left the room.
But he did not close the door. I felt better.
I heard a voice through the headphones. He called me by name and asked if I could hear him. He then asked me to pick up a particular toy. Asked me to point to one of the pictures on the wall. Asked me to pick up another toy. What a fun game! This interaction continued until he had enough information for a diagnosis.
I don't know what term they used in the 70's...perhaps it was "hearing impaired." At this time, I understand my diagnosis to be "congenital moderate to severe bi-lateral sensory neural hearing loss." This simply means that my hearing loss is in both ears and I have had this loss since I was born. Being an adoptive child, there are no medical records or prenatal history that indicate why I have this particular loss.
What is your story?