Episode 35: Acquiring Disability and Hearing Aids

In this episode, we talk about acquiring disability. Even though we have had ours from birth, acquiring disability can still affect us. For example, our reasoning for making this episode was that Emily recently figured out she needed hearing aids. Although hearing aids are just another piece of assistive technology, Emily’s first day with them made us think: If acquiring disability is this challenging for someone born with another one, what would it feel like to have lived a non-disabled life and be thrust into having a disability? We discuss that and more in this episode. We hope you enjoy it! A transcript for this episode can be found here.

Please note: In the episode, Emily says she has “profound” hearing loss, but this is not technically correct. Her hearing loss is significant, though.

Acquiring disability

We’ve talked about access before on this show. We’ve talked about disability on this show (obviously!) But, we both don’t know what it’s like to have your first disability be one that you’ve acquired, or what it’s like to have your access suddenly limited or changed. However, Emily recently getting hearing aids due to hearing loss gave us a glimpse into what that might be like. We recorded this episode on the first day Emily had her new hearing aids. She did not like them. But if it takes so long to become comfortable with an acquired disability when you already have a disability, it must be a challenge to acquire your first one late in life. That isn’t to say there aren’t exceptions. But Emily’s “day 1” struggle was real.

Above all else, what this episode really taught us was that change takes time. And that’s okay. Acceptance doesn’t happen overnight. In Emily’s example, the hearing aids were “an attack on [her] senses”.

It made us realize that being “born this way” helped us deal with acceptance because we simply had to from the minute we were born. This is different from self-acceptance, which we also touch on. But our lives never vastly changed overnight like they can when you acquire disability. And we realized that in a very roundabout way we were grateful for being “born this way.”

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