I’ve loved stories ever since I was a little girl. Long before I became Lipreading Mom and years before my hearing loss diagnosis, I sat in a crowded elementary school classroom and waited for a story to begin. I placed a set of headphones over my ears. When the recorded storyteller asked a question, I was to write down my answer. I sat there motionless. The background noise in the classroom competed with the storyteller’s voice. What was this garbly-goop story about anyway?
My first hearing test came shortly after that, and at age 6, the doctor told my parents I had perfect hearing. That’s when I received the unofficial diagnosis of Selective Hearing.
“Shanna can hear,” the audiologist declared. “She just has trouble paying attention.”
For the next 20 years, I was convinced I had attention problems and needed to try extra hard in school. Even when it was uncool to do so, I forced myself to sit in the front row of class so I wouldn’t miss a thing. When the next recorded storytelling time began, I closed my eyes and concentrated with all my might. I wasn’t going to let this attention problem get the best of me.
Was my situation really selective hearing—or had the audiologist been wrong way back in 1979? Did I really have a mild hearing loss that went undetected?
It’s funny to tell someone he or she has selective hearing, particularly when it’s a family member who likes to tune others out. That was me. I was so stubborn in my selective hearing ways that I acquired some interesting nicknames along the way: Stubborn Shanna, Mule-Headed.
Okay, so the nicknames kind of hurt.
Then at the age of 27, I received the diagnosis I had suspected for some time. I had a progressive hearing loss.
If you suspect someone you love has selective hearing, do me a favor. Get a second opinion. Visit more than one audiologist until you get some consistent answers. Because if that loved one really is hard of hearing and needs hearing aids, you’d be doing that person a huge favor.
Have you ever been ‘diagnosed’ with selective hearing?
Share your story below. That way, Stubborn, Mule-Headed Shanna (a.k.a. Lipreading Mom) knows she is not alone. 🙂