Student Perspective: My Heritage

By Chelsea Bruha

There are many heritages in the world.  You can't look at someone and decide if they're French or German; it's almost impossible.  I, like many others, come from many different heritages: Italian, French, German, Czechoslovakian, etc.  But the one that symbolizes me the most is one that doesn't come from a country.

I'm hearing impaired, one heritage that affects your entire life.  That's what a heritage is; something you're born with and that stays within you your whole life.  You can't throw it away.  Being hearing impaired effects my way of life because I can't hear as well as you may.  I can't hear certain sounds or pronounce certain letters.  Many years of speech therapy has helped me more than you can imagine.  I have learned to never give up and always believe in myself, all from a teacher who shows you how to say "h" or where to position your tongue when you say "r".

Once every year, I walk into a soundproof booth and take a hearing test.  The results are always a surprise.  Sometimes my hearing has dropped a ton, and other results show my hearing is the same.  But never better.  There are many devices used to help you hear better and more clearly, and the only one that fits me is a hearing aid.  My hearing loss is my hearing loss, and I don't need some overpowered device to hear for me.  I have accepted that my hearing is not going to change and I continue to live life to its fullest.

I am one of the two hearing impaired students at Hamilton Middle School in Denver CO.  It's not always easy sitting with your friends and trying to capture what they say.  I always feel excluded, because I read lips 70% and hear 30% when someone is talking.  It's hard to read lips when someone has a mustache or a beard: they cover up mouths and make it hard to read.  My friends know by now that when they talk to me, they must face me and not anywhere else.

Because I have known I was hard of hearing since I was three, I know how strangers react around me.  Whenever I go to a public place, I see children looking at me as if I'm an alien from outer space, wondering what in the world are those devices in my ears.  "They're my hearing aids!" I want to say, "They help me hear!" But I know they will not understand.  People my age ask me about my hearing loss, but think of me weirdly.  Older people are more mature and talk to me normally.

Being hearing impaired symbolizes me the most, and effects my whole life.  It is my heritage.

Chelsea Bruha is a student at Hamilton Middle School in Denver CO.

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