May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. I want to tell you about a hidden disability that I have. I hide it so well that people forget that I have a problem with it. I am hearing impaired. I've no hearing in my left ear. In my right ear, I have a severe to profound hearing loss. I started wearing a hearing aid at age 6.

I learned to lipread and to discriminate what others were saying . I never thought of my lack of hearing as a "handicap." I did not let my not being able to hear stop me from doing things. I just did what I wanted to do. I played sports . I played the clarinet in the Band. I went on to college.. Buena Vista University. I received a BA in Elementary Education and a minor in Coaching.

The past few years have been frustrating as my hearing has gotten worse. I have a difficult understanding others and they get frustrated with me as they think that I am ignoring them. I just cannot hear. I get upset with myself for not understanding like I used to. I am not making excuses. I want so much to be able to carry on a conversation and understand what I need to do well at my jobs. It's just that I seem to handle things so well , that others forget that I cannot hear that well. Remember - there are many disabilities and not all of them can be noticed.