My hearing loss is genetic and began around the age of 4 or 5. Thankfully, that meant I had already developed speech; in fact, my first language was Spanish and then I learned English.

My hearing changed over a brief course of time and a preschool teacher told my mother she thought I had trouble hearing. After being tested, my parents discovered I had a mild to moderate hearing loss. The audiologist advised my parents that I start learning sign language since they didn’t know how fast my hearing loss would progress.

I was fitted for a hearing aid the week before I started kindergarten (what a fun way to fit in — not!). A second hearing aid followed in elementary school. I always went to “mainstream” schools where I was one of two kids in the entire school with a hearing loss, which made me acutely aware that I was different and “broken.”

So I’ve lived with hearing loss most of my life. Fast-forward 35 years later and I still wear hearing aids; my hearing loss is now in the moderate to severe range. I don’t speak sign language. I live, albeit imperfectly, in the hearing world.

A virtual lifetime of hearing loss has left me with more questions than answers, which is why I started this website. My natural curiosity as a writer, and a desire for hearing people to better understand the hearing-impaired experience, fuels me. And I’ve closely followed the advances towards a hearing loss cure for over a decade — and want to share more about this exciting field of research.

Erica Patino

Founder and Editor-in-Chief