From Somalia to Minnesota: A new life for a woman with hearing loss

I'm from Somalia in East Africa; I grew up in North Somalia. I was born able to hear, and throughout most of my life I could hear. When I was 14 years old I began to have hearing loss and I don't know what caused it. I have an auditory neuropathy kind of hearing loss.

I went to many doctors and I didn't get any help. I dropped all my education because I couldn't hear anything. I didn't know any sign language and my whole family can hear and don't know sign language. I felt isolated and alone everywhere I went. I loved my education and when I became deaf I dropped out. Every few months I would go back to school and pay much money without learning anything because I couldn't hear and there was no sign language.

For five years I had no communication. I was communicating with gestures and universal sign language. I tried to hear what people were saying but I couldn't hear. I also tried to lip-read, but people wouldn't look at me while they talked, so their faces were looking the other way. It was too difficult to live in there. I even went to doctors without communication, with no writing and using sign language just to talk only.

After being depressed for so many years I came to the United Staes in 2008. I went to a deaf school and I started learning sign language and English, but my family still didn't learn except for my second oldest sister, who is ten years old. She can spell A-Z and knows a little ASL, but my mom communicates with my by writing my native language.

I'm happy in here and love my education; soon I'll go to college. Thanks to everyone who has supported me to change my life.

Photo by Bert Heymans (Creative Commons)

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