Growing up as a deaf person has given me unique insights into patient care, which I hope to incorporate into my practice when I’m a physician.
I was born profoundly deaf in both ears, which means I could only hear sound above 95 decibels. Without hearing aids, I could hear extremely loud sounds, such as a plane taking off or a train going by, only if I was near them. With hearing aids, I could hear sound at 40 decibels and up, so I could understand one-on-one conversations as long as there was no background noise, the person didn’t mumble and I could see his or her mouth clearly.
Before starting medical school, I got a cochlear implant, which helps me hear so much more than I could before. When I listen to music now, I can hear all the different sounds rather than one static sound, and it’s much easier to differentiate between the instruments. Understanding speech has also become much easier. I now communicate orally with hearing people and via sign language with deaf people. However, I am still deaf, and there are still times when I am unable to understand what people are saying, such as group settings where there’s a lot of ambient noise.