I’m sitting there trapped in a billion cords wrapped around my head and neck, leading to my ears.
I’m holding a button in my hand, pressing it every time I hear a sound.
I have to pass this test.
The man running the hearing test turns to face me and my mum, frowning.
For a while, teachers had been telling me off for not listening in class. I was doing my best to listen, I just couldn’t hear.
Now, I wear hearing aids. At first, people were shocked. Everyone stared.
It was hard for me getting used to walking around with devices and cords in my ears. It didn’t feel natural. It didn’t help that everyone noticed.
I live in a tiny town, based off two mines. If you live in Biloela, chances are someone in your family has a connection to the mines.
My grandparents work out there. The whole town is at every sporting event.
Everyone knows everyone, and that can be hard.
I felt like every parent, grandparent, and great-grandparent knew what had happened to me. Everyone knew my story. Everyone knew I was different.
People would over exaggerate when I don’t have them in, asking “Can. You. Hear. Me?” Yes, I can.
I had to show a new girl around school. She had bright pink hearing aids. She loves them, pink is her favourite colour.
She saw my brown ones and said she wanted to get hearing aids like mine because she was so scared people were going to judge her.
I felt for her. She’s going to have to go through what I did.
It’s been five years since my hearing test. I have a great group of friends now and honestly I can’t be phased anymore with what people think. It’s tiring having to explain who I am again and again.
People that truly care about me won’t judge me for my hearing loss.
I told that little girl to hold her head high. She doesn’t have to let her hearing loss define her and change because of the people around her.
I hope she keeps her bright pink hearing aids.
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