Are You Deaf?!
“Come down to eat, quick come and eat!”
Ren Qing was on the second floor, rushing to complete her summer homework.
“Are you deaf?! I called so many times; why did you not come downstairs?!”
Her mother ran upstairs angrily with a cooking spatula in her hand. This scenario was like a scene from a soap opera the young Ren Qing would repeat every couple of days.
“I really didn't hear them, and I explained this to my parents again and again. They didn't believe me at the time. They thought I was playing deaf and dumb", said Ren Qing. Ren Qing received countless complaints ever since childhood due to her hearing problems.
In addition to being hard of hearing, Ren Qing also had an impairment making it difficult for her to pronounce words correctly.
“Can you imagine a hard-of-hearing child who is also unable to speak fluently yet is planning to become a teacher?”, she asked rhetorically.
Ren Qing is a junior in college this year. She has improved her methods for learning Mandarin Chinese over the past year. She has created videos on social media inspiring other hard-of-hearing individuals to be brave and pursue their dreams with the help of technology.
Hearing Loss Gone Unnoticed
Ren Qing lived with her grandmother in the countryside as a child. Once, she had a persistent high fever. Her grandmother followed the advice of an unqualified doctor, and Ren Qing ended up receiving dangerous drug infusions and medications.
Among the more than 3,500 types of conventional medicine in China, only 60 are specialized for use by children. Misuse of drugs is widespread among children in the rural area where Ren Qing was born.
The misuse of drugs caused damage to her hearing.
She was young, and her parents were away for work all year round. Her grandmother lacked knowledge about hearing loss.
So nobody noticed Ren Qing's hearing loss.
She also did not receive any treatment.
Fortunately, Ren Qing still had some remaining hearing ability, but it would take ten years before something changed.
Through Adversity, We Must Bravely Move Forward
As Ren Qing learned to speak, made friends and entered the campus, the impact of her hearing loss gradually came to light.
“I learned to speak later than others, and I was born with a tongue tie, so it was very difficult to communicate with others. Although I was optimistic, I gradually developed low self-esteem.”
Ren Qing could not hear classmates or friends calling her name from behind or greeting her from more than five meters away.
Unable to hear, she would not respond.
Classmates began to feel that Ren Qing was aloof and unfriendly.
At home, Ren Qing was often scolded by her parents because she couldn’t hear them calling.
“I felt unhappy and helpless. Gradually, I began to doubt myself. I thought there might be something wrong with my personality.”
Lacking confidence but eager to receive attention from her family and teachers, Ren Qing had to study hard through adversity and actively show her abilities. Eventually, she earned recognition from her teachers.
“I am really grateful that the teachers were willing to give me more opportunities to show myself during this critical development period, and my flaws never stopped me from shining.”
The Truth Emerges
While in high school, during a comprehensive physical examination arranged by the school, a doctor assessed Ren Qing’s hearing problems and referred her to the hospital for a detailed evaluation.
“It felt like lightning from clear blue skies! I couldn’t speak well at first, but now I also might have a hearing loss?!”
Anxious, Ren Qing and her mother went to the ENT department of a large hospital in the city.
“After the examination, I was so scared that I didn't even dare to see the doctor. I just waited, trembling, by the door for my mother to return and pronounce me with some terminal illness."
”After coming out of the consultation room, my mother told me the doctor's conclusion."
The doctor concluded she had hearing loss caused by drug toxicity. Unfortunately, since such a long time had passed, Ren Qing had missed the best time window for treatment.
“So it's not that I’m aloof or unfriendly, it’s all because my hearing has been worse than others since I was a child!”
That was when she realized the underlying cause of the complaints she had received since childhood. The truth finally emerged. Ren Qing found comfort in the situation and stayed optimistic.
“Fortunately, the doctor said that since I am still young, my brain can assist my ears to understand what other people are saying. But in special scenes, such as crowded environments, I may need hearing aids to hear what others say clearly.”
Hearing Loss Won't Stop Me From Becoming A Good Teacher
At her school, everyone was focusing on their studies. The environment left little room for chit-chatting in the classrooms and dormitories. Ren Qing could get by despite her hearing loss.
But how about later, when she would need to enter society? Would her dream of teaching and educating be realistic?
"You can't speak clearly, so how would the students understand what you are saying? With your hearing problems, how close would you need to be to the students to hear their questions?"
Her parents' worries became another obstacle. Ren Qing would be graduating soon, and she knew in her heart that her speaking and hearing problems had to be resolved.
"Listen to the sound of flowers blooming, the sound of raindrops falling, the ocean waves, and the whistling wind."
Renqing said that if you want to live your life freely, you should not permit yourself to be constrained by hearing loss. The world is big. There is so much to hear. If there are no favourable conditions, create them. If you can’t hear clearly, use the power of technology to supplement your hearing.
Voice memos from Ren Qing's Chinese speaking practice
Encountering Incus Smart Personal Sound Amplifier
By chance, Renqing saw a short video about Incus hearing devices on TikTok.
"I have no problem with face-to-face communication, but when there are many people, I can't hear what the other party is saying. In addition, I can't hear people calling me from behind or calling me from a distance."
Although Ren Qing could benefit from hearing aids, her family was not wealthy, and traditional hearing aids cost thousands of US dollars, which was daunting.
Her hope to solve her hearing problems was ignited when she saw that a smart personal sound amplifier from Incus was available for only a couple of thousand Chinese yuan.
After Renqing received the smart personal sound amplifiers sent by Incus, she couldn't wait to use them.
"Following the instructions in the manual, I used my mobile phone to complete the hearing test directly in the dormitory. After sending the hearing test result to the device, I can enjoy this new world with peace of mind."
Ren Qing's hearing profile in the Yinbei app
"After inserting the earpieces and pressing the button to turn them on, I was surprised by the sudden sound. Oh my god, are there really so many sounds around me? As if I had normal hearing, I can hear my roommate talking from the balcony and my boyfriend on the phone."
The Story With Incus Continues
Ren Qing has been using Kite for more than two months. In an interview a few days ago, she reported that she has fully adapted to the new world brought by the audio-assisted earphones.
"I wear it in the student union meeting, and I can hear the speeches of the students who are far away. I also wear it in the canteen sometimes. Walking on campus, my classmates call me from behind, and I can immediately react. I continue to unlock the various scenarios where the smart personal sound amplifier can help me. At last, my dream of becoming a teacher must be attainable!"