Life Changing Experience

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

Smack! Within a fraction of a second, my life was changed forever. A homemade slingshot snapped and launched a funnel and water balloon at an unimaginable speed directly into my left ear. Once I’d been hit, an incredibly loud whistling screamed through my head as I opened my eyes and staggered to my feet. Realizing what I was losing, I became overwhelmed by fear and hopelessness, desperately plugging my ears to escape the high-pitched wail. Days later, the fading whistling finally disappeared into the chilling silence of “severe” hearing loss. As I struggled to cope with the devastating impact and difficult changes in my perspective, I discovered the gift of music, something that would affect me far more greatly than any measure of hearing loss.

Since my loss six years ago, I’ve learned that the most punishing consequence of the accident is the difficulty to hear the subtle and fine points of speech. Compared to watching television with captions, speaking loudly unconsciously, or hiding my hearing aids in embarrassment, nothing is worse than repeating “what?” three times to someone and most often, still not ever fully hearing and understanding. The defeat in clearly hearing but failing to understand others heavily outweighs all...

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