About Me

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Me and my husband

My name is Erin Windheim.  I have been hard of hearing my entire life, and I have worn hearing aids since I was four years old.  I have a BA in English Writing from Fort Lewis College, and I work in Quality Assurance.  I live in Colorado, and I am married to a wonderful and understanding man.

This blog is intended to be a discussion of what it is like for me, personally, to live with a hearing loss.  It will also occasionally include research papers or articles that I feel are important.

My intention is to be informative and to raise awareness about those of us who are hard of hearing or deaf.  It seems that not enough people truly understand what it is like. I want to change that.

I know I don’t post as often as I should, but do visit often, and feel free to leave respectful comments or questions.  I will try to respond to every comment I get.

Also, please please let me know if there is anything you want me to talk about. I am totally open to suggestions.

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3 Responses to About Me

  1. I nominated you for a Liebster Award today. I love reading your writings in is real and relatable. Thanks http://www.ausomemomma.wordpress.com

  2. Nancy says:

    Hi: I have a very similar high frequency hearing loss. What do you do at a new job? Put a little sign on my desk to remind my coworkers? How can I make people understand and not belittle or avoid me? I told my coworkers in person on the first day of work about my hearing. Then told them in writing about my hearing loss. Once they recieved the email they seemed angry and relationships have not been repaired. I’ve been at this for two months.
    Thank you.

    • ewindheim says:

      Hi Nancy,

      Thank you for your comment and question.

      This is a very difficult question to answer, as it really depends on the people you work with. That, and I am by no means an expert on the topic. I can only tell you my experiences and hope that they are helpful to you.

      Do you mind telling me what you do and how old you are? I work in Quality Assurance/Documentation Control and I am 29. I only ask because it may help me better understand your situation.

      Sorry if this response seems a bit long. I wanted to touch on as much as I could.

      When it comes to jobs interviews, I personally tend to be very wary about mentioning right off the bat that I am hard of hearing. I don’t want it to be a reason for not hiring me (not that that would be legal or that they would ever admit that). Once I get hired, I may mention it if it comes up, but I don’t make a big production out of it. That being said, I did mention it briefly in my interview for my current job. However, I followed it up immediately by assuring my potential bosses that I wear hearing aids and can hear pretty well without them. I tell them that I can function without much help, if any. I try not to launch into too much detail, but I will answer questions if they have them.

      Now, once you have a job, it can be tricky knowing whether or not you should tell all your co-workers. I don’t know how big your office is or how many people are in your department. If it were me, I would be fine with just my boss/manager/supervisor knowing. Unless I interact with someone frequently, I likley would not bring it up at all. Your boss should be there to protect you, which means they should be able to do something if one of your co-workers is harassing you. Verbal harassment, if you are getting that, is not okay. Talk to your boss if this is happening and hopefully they will be able to fix the issue. If not, you may need to talk to HR (talk to your boss first before doing this).

      Your co-workers may appear angry or confused about the news because they do not know how to react to and deal with you being hard of hearing. They may have little or no exposure to it. Keep in mind that people tend to be afraid of things they do not understand. They could be afraid that if they treat you badly or do something wrong, you will accuse them of discrimination based on your disability. For example, they may think you will sue them for harassment or something. This may be a bit extreme. I don’t know your co-workers, so I cannot honestly say why they are angry. I can only speculate. They may think that you are rubbing it in their faces and expect special treatment that they view as unfair instead of simply being something you have a right to because of your hearing loss.

      In the future, consider simply telling them once in person. I do not think an email is necessary. It comes across as beating them over the head with the information. If they slip up and accidenlty do or say something that hurts your feelings or is otherwise insenstive or unhelpful, speak up. Kindly ask them to stop doing what they are doing or kindly tell them why what they did or said was inappropriate. Don’t dump your whole story on them. Explain as much as you need to and then let it go. If you don’t get a chance to say something for whatever reason, it may be best to let it slide and move on. Bringing it up after the fact may just make them angry or cause issues you don’t want to deal with.

      I wouldn’t put a little sign on your desk. That may come across as belittling or weird. Your co-workers should know by now what you are hard of hearing. Simply do your job as best you can and remember to ask for help if you need it. No one should fault you for asking questions or asking for help. My bosses constantly encourange me to do this. It helps you learn. Also, if you can’t hear someone, kindly ask them to speak up or repeat it. Say something like “Sorry, I didn’t get that. Can you repeat what you said, please?” Whether you mention you are hard of hearing is up to you. I would only mention that to someone who doesn’t know you yet.

      All that being said, if someone shows an interest in your hearing loss/hearing aids, by all means tell them all about it! Let them ask questions. They could be genuinely interested. You could even make a new friend :).

      I hope this is helpful. 🙂

      Happy Friday!
      Erin

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