Living With Wolfram Syndrome – Lauren Gibilisco

A couple of weeks ago I was asked if one thing could be healed on me, what would it be? I thought about it for a while and decided it would be my hearing. I asked my mom what she thought and she answered blindness of course. She couldn’t believe I said my hearing.

Photo of Lauren Gibilisco

Lauren Gibilisco

My hearing went before my blindness. But with the hearing I was able to get hearing aids that definitely helped me hear. Life went on and I slowly lost my vision. It wasn’t something that went at once so I was able to adapt. My cane instructor worked with me to listen for sounds in order to cross streets and even know where I was. So vision was directly affected by hearing.

Last week, my one hearing aid quit working and the other one had the ear mold fall off. This happened both at the same time. Suddenly I almost couldn’t hear anything. My mom called up our hearing doctor and asked if we could drop off my hearing aid that day and have them glue it back together. We had a hearing appointment scheduled for the next week but I couldn’t wait that long. It was right before Easter when all our relatives were coming to our house. They of course said they would be happy to do it for me. This is out of town for us, so my mom and me went out to lunch and then did some shopping to waste time until they called to say it was fixed.

Now just think about it. Here I was, not able to see anything, and now couldn’t hardly hear anything. My mom had to yell in my ear for me to hear. All of the sudden my vision became much worse because I did not have my hearing to help guide me. The dark became darker.

The following week I went to my hearing appointment. My hearing had been getting really bad and my mom made the appointment because she was tired of having to scream all the time. The good news is that the doctor said my hearing had decreased but not that much. It was my hearing aids that were shot. I needed a new pair. He also was telling us about the improvements in hearing aids since I had my other pair. He said they made them moisture proof so when I sweat in the summer it won’t affect them. He said I would be able to hear much better for the advancements but would still have difficulty understanding what was being said. It’s like I can’t tell if you said “pink or sink”. This makes me take time to understand what you are saying because here I am thinking you are talking about something being pink and you instead are talking about the sink. This takes the brain a little longer to catch up.

Now even though he said the understanding would still be a problem, there would be an improvement. I was happy to hear this. I talk with kids all over the world and understanding their accents is sometimes very difficult. I hope this will help me so I will be better able to connect with the world.

Now my mother understood why I would want my hearing fixed soon. I can get around pretty good with my cane and with my hearing I can do almost anything. After thinking it all through my mom had thought without being able to hear and see I would only have a few options. Would a cochlear implant help me or would we have to start learning sign language in the hand like Helen Keller did. My mom admitted it was more stressful to always having to repeat things than picking up something I bumped into and broke. Life is always amusing.