When I was young and people called me, my
head would reflexively tilt to the right so I could hear what
they say with my left ear. When my father would call us through
phone, my mother would try to put it over my right ear since that
was more convenient, but I would always transfer it to my left
I always believed that was normal. That,
like how we prefer writing with our right hand, we might also
prefer hearing through our left.
It was the summer after fifth grade and I
was getting ready to become a sixth grader when we found out
about my hearing problem.
You see, my father had bought an iPod Nano
for me and I was listening to it upstairs in my room. I vaguely
heard my mother yelling for me and I took out the earphone in my
left ear to hear her better.
That was when I noticed that I could only
hear the music in my right and no lyrics at
I put the left earphone back, and the lyrics
were there. But when I took it out, only faint music issued out
from the iPod.
On the edge of panic, I ran down to my Mom
and told her what happened.
I went through hearing tests. Sitting inside
a booth, I was told to raise my hand when I heard a sound in the
primitive surroundings of the Iloilo Hearing Test Center. The
lady was visibly shaken when I was not in the least bit affected
by the already rising notes she had set. To me, it was all very,
very faint. Right then, my right ear was diagnosed as profoundly
deaf while my left ear had mild hearing
I tried to be upbeat. Really, I did. But
getting back inside the car, my mother broke
"I can't believe this," she said, crying as
she looked out at the passing vehicles, her hands on the steering
wheel, though the car remained at a standstill. "I'm so worried.
What if you go completely deaf?"
"Mom," I said, reaching over to the front
seat to hug her and wipe away her tears, "I'll be
It was in that moment that I vowed to myself
that I would be strong. I would get through
My mother and I flew to Manila for a second
opinion from an expert. He checked everything---everything---and
recommended us to get hearing aids or have cochnea implant. The
implant costs a million pesos, and we weren't even sure if that
was the problem. Besides, it was risky. I could lose hearing in
Hearing aids don't come cheap. My father
paid for it by way of their savings account.
All my life after that, I had to deal with
the contempt of the others. They looked down at me because I had
a disability, but I didn't take that lying down. I lashed out by
achieving everything I could possibly achieve at the age of
twelve, fought back at my detractors, and tried to stay
My life was full of illusions. Whenever I
got up, my mantra was "It's okay, it's okay" even though I knew
deep down that it wasn't. And others fed those illusions by
agreeing with me. I know it was for my own good, that they wanted
to protect me, but in my head, all I could think of was, "What
are they protecting me from, now that the damage is
I've learned to deal. I've learned to accept
my limitations, that I can't always win quiz bees because I
couldn't hear the questions. I have to live with the fact that,
one day, I might wake up and not be able to hear
I try to live life to the fullest. I don't
take a lot of bullshit though, and the minute someone's pity
begins to show, or when someone insults me too much, I give one
heck of a response in return.
Life's not perfect. Life's not terrible.
Life's okay, it has its ups and downs, and everything happens for
a purpose. I might act bitchy sometimes, but at the end of the
day, it all crashes down on me that I might have little
opportunity to use all five senses, much less live at all, and I
should use what I've given in a good way.
Life is one rollercoaster ride; the hearing
problem was just a downhill climb. But like all downhill climbs,
it'll all go back up, and I'm hanging on for that