When Did It Start?

“You were just born with it;” or “We don’t know.”

This is what my parents, especially my mother, used to tell me when as a young girl of 6 or 7, I questioned about why am I hard of hearing. They said I was a normal birth, born with a wild head of dark hair. I had beautiful eyes and everything else seemed to be in order. My mother was 39 years old when she gave birth to me — if that had anything to do with it.

But they couldn’t know that I was hard of hearing until I was about two or three years old, as Daddy used to tell me. He said he would call my name but I never answered, nor acknowledged him. It wasn’t until he nearly screamed at me the third or fourth time that I finally looked up from whatever I was doing and acknowledged him. He and everyone else in the family began to believe I was just being “hard-headed”, that I was ignoring them on purpose until they shouted at me. It would turn out to be so far from the truth.

So, how is it that I was born hard of hearing? Is it a physical defect? Was it caused by illness such as meningitis? My oldest sister Joyce once theorized in this way: as I was being born the afterbirth pooled around my head, particularly in my ears. And as the doctor “caught” me emerging the after birth rushed out causing my ears to pop.

Needless to say, it all began a journey through life for me of thrills, discovery, heart ache and fear. And this I will dwell upon next time.