All my life I have greatly relied on one important person to help me engage with the hearing world. Over the years different people filled this role; my younger brother, a best friend, a boyfriend, my first husband, and now my current husband. They helped me connect with other kids in the neighborhood, at school playgrounds, and later on, in classrooms, at social events and in making important phone calls on my behalf. Often they weren’t aware of what a service they were providing me as I took pains not to make my dependency too obvious. But their help was vital in helping me establish social connections, figure out the world and function productively within it.
I have special gratitude for the role my brother, Elliot, played in my life when we were little. More than my parents, he was particularly attuned to my hearing loss, always facing me when he spoke to ensure I could read his lips. His clear enunciation allowed me to comprehend him with little effort.
He explained our family dynamics, narrated the plot lines of our favorite TV shows, and guided me through the intricate rules of the games we played with neighborhood kids. Together we lost ourselves in imaginative games we conjured up, spending hours exploring uncharted territories of our imagination. These shared times were not just about dependency, but about our sibling bond that deepened through our connection. I cherish the laughter, love, and contribution he has made in my life. His support, and those of others, has helped me bridge the gap between silence and sound.