My name is Matt, and I have lived with profound hearing loss my whole life. I did not receive hearing aids until I was seven years old. It has been a long journey to get to where I am today, but I am still far from being 100%.
I've had 3 surgeries on my right ear to remove a cholesteatoma, which left me with no hearing in my right ear. My left ear drum rests on the ear bone, making it very hard for me to hear out of that ear. I finally received my hearing aid for my left ear when I was seven, and the world seemed to open up to me. Unfortunately, I was far from the finish, and still had years of speech therapy and learning new social cues. As the years passed I learned how to communicate better. Even though I was learning how to communicate I still missed very important social cues, for example I would not notice when a friend called me from down the hallway, and I would keep walking, so people found me to be rude. It isn't just the social cues I am missing, but I still sleep through alarm clocks and any type of alarm actually, including fire and emergency alarms. I also cannot hear people knocking on the door, cell phones, and sometimes when cooking the gas would still be on, but I would not hear the ticking noise it makes. These obstacles have made it very hard for me to fit in over my lifetime.
I felt a sense of welcome to the world the day I got my first hearing aid. I have learned about NEADS and the way the NEADS Service Dogs for hearing change peoples’ lives forever, and I would love to experience that too, as I continue my long path.