The Male Nurse with Hearing Aids

by atom2013

6,200 Visits | 22 Comments

This is my student nurse life in the Philippines. What makes it somewhat unique or extraordinary? I had to go through the four years of my challenging life experiences with my hearing aids. My survival kit that drives me to where I am right now.

  1. 11

    The Male Nurse with Hearing Aids

    In most cases today, it is already common to see people with eyeglasses. Obviously because of their poor vision. However, have you ever encountered or worked with someone who has to wear hearing aids especially in the nursing field at a young age? Well, imagine my story.

    First of all, I am 23 years old and was born in the Philippines as the youngest of three. I grew up and studied almost half of my life there. Then, I moved to California to be with my mother. I went to middle school, finished high school and took up a business administration course majoring in accounting in a university at California.

    When I was in States, a lot of people had noticed that I do not hear them sometimes and even those minimal noises that they could hear. So my mom and I went to different doctors and had my hearing check-up for many times. They all found out the same result which was my mild to moderate hearing loss. They could not figure out what may be the exact reason for it. But, a flashback to my childhood years came up that I had a swimming accident during my physical education class. It happened so fast and later that day, my ear bleed and I had to rush to the nearest hospital for an emergency check up. I could not really recall which side of my ear was affected but what I can remember was the huge traumatic impact it caused me at that moment and the person who was involved.

    Then, there it goes, the reality. I had to wear hearing aids at all times. At first, it was pretty much difficult to adapt to my new situation since it was the time of becoming self-conscious about your own image as a teenager. Eventually, I got used to it. I was also not really treated different back then since in the United States, people do not mind or care much about your physical disabilities. What I just always put in my mind is that it is for my own good and others as well. But the day that I started having my hearing aids, I knew that it was the moment that will change the rest of my life.
    As you may already noticed, nursing was not really my first choice. Honestly, I like to be more in the business field and be on a corporate or semi-formal attire than on a scrub suit working in a hospital. However, I decided to move back to my home town and finish college there due to personal reasons.

    By that time, I did not know what course to get but I ended up enrolling in a nursing college. There were several reasons why I chose it. One was because nursing is a very practical course. I mean, nursing is a broad course that almost everything is in it. You get to learn different very helpful knowledge, essential information and implement them to our daily lives. Another reason is because I was exposed to the nursing field in my family. My two older brothers actually took up nursing too. They both got their BSN degree and one of them is already a US registered nurse in California. Also, I've heard that nursing was fun and interesting especially the clinical duties and practices.

    Then, my student nurse life career started.

    First year of college was actually my favorite. It was that time when people did not know anything about me yet, especially my hearing ability as I decided to keep it to myself. There were only few school officials knew about my condition since they got my records. Since I was somewhat new in the country, I did not have any friends yet. I most likely put my time on my studies other than my family to keep myself busy. I was recognized to be doing good on my academics especially in a nursing subject, but that changed when I eventually met my own group of friends. Although some things changed, I still managed to balance my time between school and friends. Most importantly, I enjoyed my first year of college as I was getting interested in my new school environment and nursing at the same time. I was also chosen to be part of my school's pageant activity. I won as a runner-up with special award. It was that time that I met more great people and get recognized in a good way. It was the year that made me comfortable at my school and boosted my confidence as well.

    Then of course, when there are good times, bad times come on the way. Things had changed ever since reshuffling happened wherein you were placed in a different section surrounded with different faces and personalities. It was also the time that I decided to wear my hearing aids since my clinical duties started. I realized that I really needed them for my own sake and of course to others' safety as well, especially patients whom I encountered with.

    Unfortunately, we sometimes cannot avoid dealing with people who may be insecure and try to belittle others in some ways. There were rumors and gossips spreading out about me and they were using my hearing loss against me. But what worse is, I had some clinical instructors who doubted my abilities and skills. I remember, one said to me that it is still misfortune for my case because 'I'm deaf'. I mean it is true that I am 'deaf' but she did not have to say it out to everyone and use it as a personal offense to me. It hurts hearing that especially from some one you should be looking up to and encouraging you. It is sad that there are still people who are immature and judgmental but we cannot help it so I had to get along with them as needed for school matters.

    From those times, I just moved on and took the courage to just let it go and be myself. My defense mechanism is either go with the flow and laugh at it or avoid it and let them get what they deserve in the future. I did not care anymore and just focused on my priorities and did my best as much as I could.

    Fortunately, there are awesome people who accept me for who I am and have been true to me - my closest friends. They already know who they are and I am grateful having them. So I enjoyed the rest of my college years with them. Moreover, there were still good clinical instructors, professors and advisers who appreciated and recognized my hardwork, willingness to learn, and potential to be a good nurse despite of my physical disability. It felt really good and flattering knowing those positive feedbacks and evaluations about my capabilities as a student and a nurse.

    One unforgettable experience and achievement that I have is my nursing research paper or thesis. I was unexpectedly chosen by my group to be their leader and I felt like having a big responsibility that time. But I just pushed myself and put my best effort and most of my time in it as I was thankful for a lot of opportunities related to our study. We became a candidate for best thesis, represented our school to present in other colleges, received a certification of recognition and even a best thesis runner-up award on my graduation.

    As I mentioned above, nursing was not really my first choice. But as years pass by, it touched my heart and became interested on it even more. One thing that I love about nursing is that you can touch someone's life even in small ways. Being able to put a smile or comfort to others and sharing your blessings are already big fulfillments for me.

    Another main reason for all of this is my Almighty God who has been there to guide and help me. I realized that it is probably God's will to put me where I am right now. God has reasons for those things that happened to me in order to prepare myself in the future especially on my chosen career. I even asked God to give me a normal hearing sense, but then he gave me hearing aids instead. It made sense to me. God will never leave you a challenge that you can never get through. Don't give up. Have guts and toughen up!

    So what if I have hearing aids, so what if you have a physical disability, it does not mean that you cannot serve others well. It is given that I do not have a normal hearing sense same as almost everyone out there. But, I believe that I can listen well and that's more important. Hearing may serve as my weakness but at least I somewhat turn that perceived weakness into strength. As long as you are doing the right thing, you are in the right direction. Do not get your physical disability or fear lower your self esteem and get you down. Do not be shy about it, but have the courage to be the best person you can be regardless of your physical disability. Show them that you can do it, prove them you are worthy because you really are. That's the spirit of being a strong nurse, a nurse with strong guts with strong mind.

    Hearing aids are not just my survival kit that drives me to where I am right now, but what most important are to be God-Loving and to have a positive attitude. There is always a way and God will put you in there in the right time. Also, always remember that there are people out there who love and accept who you are - your loved ones. And of course, there is our awesome wonderful God 24/7

    I just graduated last April and hoping to get ATT this year and pass the NCLEX-RN exam first time. I will be a US registered nurse soon and I claim it Lord!

    Live to Learn, Learn to Live. With God, We Can!

    The male nurse with hearing aids, Atom.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 1, '13
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    atom2013 joined May '13 - from 'Philippines'. Posts: 140 Likes: 22; Learn more about atom2013 by visiting their allnursesPage


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    22 Comments so far...

  5. 2
    I loved this article. I'm so glad you overcame your weaknesses and such.

    It's crazy how similar our life story is, because I am hard-of-hearing as well and have been since I was a baby. I started wearing hearing aids when I came to Canada. And truthfully, I hated them with a passion. I'm an introverted person, wearing something that was bulky and something that set me apart from the rest was hard. Also, I had to continually go back to my doctor to fix a problem with my hearing aids and that happened to me way too many times. So I stopped wearing them and prayed everyday that I had perfect hearing.
    I also had people like that who tried to put me down during my nursing studies (because of my hearing) and let me tell you, I told them I would not tolerate that, even the teachers (in a polite manner and privately :P ). They understood (thank goodness).
    Just recently I had a hearing test done and my hearing went up 30% on both ears so I was happy. And I continually pray to God to take away my hearing problems (but I am glad I had it in the first place, because I would not be the person I am today).

    Best of luck on the NCLEX!!!
    atom2013 and graykitty like this.
  6. 2
    Hello Atom, I don't usually post but in reading your story, it touched me very personally. I must commend you for your attitude and your perseverance. Getting through nursing school is hard enough in itself, but then to add coming from another country, becoming accustomed to the way of life in the US, and dealing with hearing loss and the "stigma" and comments from ignorant people...that is enough to make some students want to give up. You clearly have a trait of looking at the bigger picture and recognizing the strengths you do have! It's not the disability that matters, it's how you choose to handle it! I have a similar story (in some ways). I am a 58 year old female, married, with grand kids. I never went to college after high school, but worked various administrative jobs for about 30 years. Years ago if you had great clerical skills you could land a great paying job right out of high school, which i did. But in 2005 I was surrounded by younger coworkers who all had degrees, and I was treated rudely and given all the dirty, unskilled basic tasks that anyone could perform. No joy in going to the job, and no chance of advancement. My self esteem plummeted. At 52, I knew I had to change things. I decided to become a nurse. My husband and family thought I had lost my mind. But I was determined to see if I could do it. Starting with taking per-req's at night, I was finally accepted into the ASN program, and I graduated in Aug 2009, at 56 yrs of age! My family was so proud of my accomplishment, but even more important - my self esteem was intact. I no longer felt "dumb!" I passed my NCLEX on my 1st try, and I got a job right away. Fast forward, I love the job, because I can put myself and my heart into caring for my patients, something that is frowned upon in the corporate world. I am surrounded by coworkers who are in their 20's and I love it. In the last year however, I find that unless I am right in front of someone, I sometimes cannot understand what they say. I hear the sound but it is muffled. If I cannot see their lips, I can't make out what they say. I work with many surgeons and anesthesiologists who have foreign accents. This is a challenge to begin with. But if they are at a distance from me, or have a mask on, I must walk closer to them and ask them to repeat themselves, sometimes 3 times!!! And over the telephone, it is the same. Some of the doctors get irritated when i ask them to repeat please, and instead of slowing down and enunciating, they scream the phrase loud and fast!! I am so embarrassed and humiliated. Some of my coworkers have started having fun with it. I feel I am headed to getting a hearing aid(s). Your story has given me courage to go have it assessed. There have been those who belittle others, since the beginning of time, and they will be here till the end days. We can't change that. But we can move forward and use our talents in our jobs, hoping that others will see God's love through our actions. You will make a wonderful addition to the nursing profession! Thank you for sharing your story with us!! God bless you.
    atom2013 and Esme12 like this.
  7. 0
    Quote from SilkyKRN
    I loved this article. I'm so glad you overcame your weaknesses and such.

    It's crazy how similar our life story is, because I am hard-of-hearing as well and have been since I was a baby. I started wearing hearing aids when I came to Canada. And truthfully, I hated them with a passion. I'm an introverted person, wearing something that was bulky and something that set me apart from the rest was hard. Also, I had to continually go back to my doctor to fix a problem with my hearing aids and that happened to me way too many times. So I stopped wearing them and prayed everyday that I had perfect hearing.
    I also had people like that who tried to put me down during my nursing studies (because of my hearing) and let me tell you, I told them I would not tolerate that, even the teachers (in a polite manner and privately :P ). They understood (thank goodness).
    Just recently I had a hearing test done and my hearing went up 30% on both ears so I was happy. And I continually pray to God to take away my hearing problems (but I am glad I had it in the first place, because I would not be the person I am today).

    Best of luck on the NCLEX!!!
    Thank you. I'm glad that you loved my article and you shared a bit of story as well. Keep the faith and surely God will do the rest.
  8. 0
    Quote from graykitty
    Hello Atom, I don't usually post but in reading your story, it touched me very personally. I must commend you for your attitude and your perseverance. Getting through nursing school is hard enough in itself, but then to add coming from another country, becoming accustomed to the way of life in the US, and dealing with hearing loss and the "stigma" and comments from ignorant people...that is enough to make some students want to give up. You clearly have a trait of looking at the bigger picture and recognizing the strengths you do have! It's not the disability that matters, it's how you choose to handle it! I have a similar story (in some ways). I am a 58 year old female, married, with grand kids. I never went to college after high school, but worked various administrative jobs for about 30 years. Years ago if you had great clerical skills you could land a great paying job right out of high school, which i did. But in 2005 I was surrounded by younger coworkers who all had degrees, and I was treated rudely and given all the dirty, unskilled basic tasks that anyone could perform. No joy in going to the job, and no chance of advancement. My self esteem plummeted. At 52, I knew I had to change things. I decided to become a nurse. My husband and family thought I had lost my mind. But I was determined to see if I could do it. Starting with taking per-req's at night, I was finally accepted into the ASN program, and I graduated in Aug 2009, at 56 yrs of age! My family was so proud of my accomplishment, but even more important - my self esteem was intact. I no longer felt "dumb!" I passed my NCLEX on my 1st try, and I got a job right away. Fast forward, I love the job, because I can put myself and my heart into caring for my patients, something that is frowned upon in the corporate world. I am surrounded by coworkers who are in their 20's and I love it. In the last year however, I find that unless I am right in front of someone, I sometimes cannot understand what they say. I hear the sound but it is muffled. If I cannot see their lips, I can't make out what they say. I work with many surgeons and anesthesiologists who have foreign accents. This is a challenge to begin with. But if they are at a distance from me, or have a mask on, I must walk closer to them and ask them to repeat themselves, sometimes 3 times!!! And over the telephone, it is the same. Some of the doctors get irritated when i ask them to repeat please, and instead of slowing down and enunciating, they scream the phrase loud and fast!! I am so embarrassed and humiliated. Some of my coworkers have started having fun with it. I feel I am headed to getting a hearing aid(s). Your story has given me courage to go have it assessed. There have been those who belittle others, since the beginning of time, and they will be here till the end days. We can't change that. But we can move forward and use our talents in our jobs, hoping that others will see God's love through our actions. You will make a wonderful addition to the nursing profession! Thank you for sharing your story with us!! God bless you.
    Thank you. I am glad that I was able to somewhat inspire you with my article. Thank you also for the effort to share your story. It's very inspiring as well. Whatever the result is, I am sure that you will still be a passionate nurse no matter what. Keep it up and you are an angel in the nursing field. God Bless you and your family
  9. 0
    Quote from SilkyKRN
    I loved this article. I'm so glad you overcame your weaknesses and such.

    It's crazy how similar our life story is, because I am hard-of-hearing as well and have been since I was a baby. I started wearing hearing aids when I came to Canada. And truthfully, I hated them with a passion. I'm an introverted person, wearing something that was bulky and something that set me apart from the rest was hard. Also, I had to continually go back to my doctor to fix a problem with my hearing aids and that happened to me way too many times. So I stopped wearing them and prayed everyday that I had perfect hearing.
    I also had people like that who tried to put me down during my nursing studies (because of my hearing) and let me tell you, I told them I would not tolerate that, even the teachers (in a polite manner and privately :P ). They understood (thank goodness).
    Just recently I had a hearing test done and my hearing went up 30% on both ears so I was happy. And I continually pray to God to take away my hearing problems (but I am glad I had it in the first place, because I would not be the person I am today).

    Best of luck on the NCLEX!!!
    I don't think of hearing loss as a weakness. It just a condition that some people compensate for quite well and have a normal life.
  10. 1
    So inspiring! Words are so inadequate. I wish you the best of luck in your career and whatever endeavors you pursue. You'll find your experience and your outlook will become a source of hope to many.
    atom2013 likes this.
  11. 1
    I love your courage and your will to surpass any obstacles especially people who put you down due to their own ineptness. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story.
    atom2013 likes this.
  12. 2
    I am so thankful for this article! As if nursing school isn't hard enough on life, I recently lost my hearing. After many tests, I still have no cause. I am struggling with the timing. I am struggling with the reality that I have moderate hearing loss. I am in my 7th quarter of nursing school and I can't hear. I started doubting continuing my journey as a nurse. Your story has inspired me... I still am struggling, most of all with God's timing... but as I was sitting here trying to find help with some nandas I found this article...that wasn't just coincidence. I needed to read this. Thank you.
    graykitty and atom2013 like this.
  13. 2
    Hey Brother! The military took some of my hearing. Loud noises and deployments and all sorts of loud exposure is what did it for me. I wear hearing aids and I do not worry about it. If I catch someone making fun of it, I admonish them on the spot and in front of others. I have no tolerance for such nonsense and stupidity.

    Hold your head high and keep moving forward. Great story!!
    sari27 and atom2013 like this.


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