September 25, 2012 Alicia Castro 0Comment

It took me six years to embrace my hearing loss. Reasons why I hated wearing hearing aids wasn’t because they looked ugly, but because I was bullied. I was bullied a lot in my elementary, middle, and high school years. The bullying continued to increase throughout the years and I started to believe in myself less.  I was scarred for many years; I spoke less because I was afraid the bullying would continue. I was bullied because I used to wear “behind the ear” hearing aids and wore my hair up in a ponytail.  No matter how many times I tried to cover my hearing aids, the elementary students continued to bully me.  Another reason why I was bullied is due to the fact that I refused to socialize. Not because I wanted to, but because I couldn’t hear you and people couldn’t understand what I was trying to say. Back in my elementary school years, the hearing aids were not advanced as they are today.

My mother is the only person who believed in me. I am grateful that she has given me so much support and continues to remind me that I can overcome anything as long as I have faith in myself. I managed to graduate high school with a 3.6 GPA. I decided to attend college and dorm in my first year because I wanted to improve my social skills, especially finding out who I am as a person. Finally, the bully stopped. It also stopped because I started wearing “in-the-ear” hearing aids. Also, some college professors and students encouraged me to wear hearing aids every day. I refused to wear them every day because of the fear of being bullied again. But the fear went away thanks to one person I met in college.

Her name is Sarah Ilarde. I call her “roomie” because she was my first roommate, and she continued to be my college roommate for three more years. Thanks to her, I improved my speech pronunciation and socialized better. She was shocked that I couldn’t pronounce so many words correctly. There were a few friends who helped but Sarah was the only person who never gave up. I remember she was finally happy when it took me a whole year to pronounce “World.” We celebrated afterwards! Sarah and I joined sports, biked, and ate together from morning till night-time. She was always there helping and encouraging me to never give up! The first two years, my grades were horrible! I struggled so much because classrooms were bigger, noisier, and I rarely took notes due to lack of hearing. After hitting depression and attending counseling sessions, I confessed to Sarah that I might not graduate with her like we promised to each other in our first year. After my confession around the 2nd year of college, Sarah promised to proofread all my essays and taught me how to improve my study skills. Because of her, we graduated together in 2010! I thank my roomie a lot! Thanks to Sarah and my mother, I no longer hate that I’m different. I embraced my hearing loss because I have overcome depression, my shyness, and ignored the bullying. I have become stronger, and nothing can break me. If I can overcome my weaknesses, anyone can too! Accept who you are as a person and always remember that there are people out there who are willing to help you and guide you in the right path. Accept their help and love yourself first! Also, I encourage you to embrace your hearing loss and hearing aids.

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