I am the mother to a child with a moderate hearing loss. I am also the wife of a man with profound hearing loss. I have been audience to their struggles in a world of sound. I have also been front seat for many victories.
I remember sitting in primary one of the first Sunday’s my daughter attended. The primary president began speaking very quietly. I knew even with hearing aids, my daughter would not hear what she was saying. She began talking about how when you feel the spirit you should become quiet in speech and action. My daughter was staring out the window, not hearing, not invited, not understanding. A distinct message was being sent to me and her. If you can’t hear…you can’t feel the spirit.
I talked to my husband about this later, asking him what his experience had been like in church. He talked about how much he missed. How often he sits through meetings unable to make out the mumblings of the brethren in priesthood, missing countless talks and lessons simply by sitting near a window, in front of two chatty friends, or a teacher that talked into the chalkboard. Even with hearing aids, these situations exist, as hearing aids make everything louder. And pulling out the main sound can often be an exhausting battle, especially when you add an organ into the fray.
To address this need in my daughters life, I brought her FM system to church. Which is a device that brings the wearer’s voice to my duaghters ears. I was shocked when someone refused to wear it. REFUSED. It is not invasive, it is worn simply as a necklace and then transmits directly to my daughters hearing aids, no one else. I left church angry and heartbroken and to this day I have not brought the FM system back to church.
I have a new admiration for members who have a hearing loss. For showing up, even when they know they may get very little out of the meetings.