Hi! My name is Jessica Gill. I am nine years old. I am hearing impaired. I wear hearing aids. My little sister is also hearing impaired. That is what this story is about. Let's get started.
When I was two and a half years old I started to not hear what people were saying. So my parents took me to many ear doctors before we found a doctor who discovered my problem - I was hearing impaired. I didn't have much hearing Then the doctor suggested I get hearing aids. My parents agreed.
I attend a public school, and most of the peopel treat me as if I'm not hearing impaired at all. I have three best friends at school. Their names are Lauren Erwin, Ilana Zuckerman and Lauren Sher. They treat me like I don't have a hearing problem and never did.
But, sometimes, I do feel left out. My sister and I are the only hard of hearing kids in the entire school. I had a few adjustments to make when I first started school. That was because I knew no one and many people didn't know what a hearing aid was, so they didn't speak to me the way I needed to be talked to.
Sometimes certain people don't ask me to do something that I want to do, so then, I ask them, and the girls say "no." Then I feel as if I'm deaf instead of just hearing impaired. These girls also never face me so I can't read their lips. But some of the girls do. That makes me feel better, because I don't understand a word when they don't face me; the same thing happens with a few boys.
Now my class knows how to speak to me the way I need to be talked to. I have a lot of friends. My best friend understands me properly and her name is Lauren. She also has something to say: "I am sorry Jessica wears hearing aids, but I'm glad she goes to P.S. 276 and is my best friend."
Tips for when you meet a hearing impaired person:
-originally published in the March/April 1994 issue of ZuZu. Illustration by Kirsten Wehmann.