One Mother's Story

   My son is nineteen and wears hearing aids all waking hours as he has since he was five and this additional disability, post a lengthy hospitalization, was discovered. I, nor he, could imagine a world for him without them. His speech is still imperfect, and his hearing also, but in the manner of stubborn teen-ism, and a life survived by having such, he has refused learning Sign Language. There is only one other child with hearing impairment in his small rural school where he's currently a senior. His only communication with others is through speech (and now, internet). We are exploring his possibilities post high school. To try to picture this time without him having had hearing aids we would be looking at a gruesomely more limiting future than we're now considering. Yes, it's going to be tough regardless. Hearing is not his only impairment. But of all the daily death defying carrying on that he accomplishes quietly, being able to hear and subsequently speak is the only thing that's allowed him communion with other humans. A way to allow him to know others and a bridge to help others see the human within his damaged casing.

    When my husband just asked what I’m writing about I explained that there’s a bill coming up that will debate whether or not insurers should have to provide coverage for children’s hearing aids. He looked at me seriously and asked if I was joking, he cannot consider that it’s actually a question. Being people prone to humor we wax on about the segregation of body parts that have different fee structures. "Is it their expense, or the ability to hide their lack of coverage?" we ponder, imagining a reneging of canes for the blind, and walkers for those with gait impairments. "I guess it’s if you don’t actually bump into people when your sense is affected." He’s just trying to cheer me. He knows I’ve been concerned since in some Senator’s office a few weeks ago about other, related issues, the Sen. asked me why he should in any way ask insurance companies to be obligated to not do as they please. I asked him who would be paying the cost of children not educated because they couldn’t hear. I met with others that day in Madison, but the question I kept wondering about since then is, "who are these people’s constituents?"