Reports from people with hearing loss

A hearing-impaired medical student

Returning to Chronicles in full force, I want to show you the very interesting contact from a reader, a hearing-impaired medical student who is almost graduating!

The story of a hearing-impaired medical student

The life of a deaf medical student is full of emotions – just like that of any medical student, with the difference of hearing little! The first and second years are easy, because it’s the basic cycle. From the third year onwards, things really pick up: the medical clinic comes into play (we start to have contact with patients, learn how to examine them, etc.).

The big problem is the famous heart murmurs… If normal academics are confused and find it difficult to differentiate between a B3 and a B4 at first, imagine me! I use my hi-tech stethoscope (ahahah) and manage just fine, but of course I get confused and can miss things… But then comes common sense, which prevents me from being a cardiologist, pulmonologist or anything like that, right? Obviously I’ll take this into account when choosing my specialty, there’s no ignoring it.

I’m thinking of studying otorhinolaryngology. It would be ironic, wouldn’t it? Last year I watched some surgeries with the team and I was delighted. There was just one problem: the surgical masks prevented me from lip-reading, making it impossible to communicate in the operating room, unless the person spoke in my ear, something that doesn’t happen in practice… And as we know, doctors talk during surgery.

I ended up consulting a doctor at the hospital, my tutor and confidant on academic matters. He told me that YES, I’ll have a thousand difficulties if I opt for surgery, because not only will communication be affected, but I may find colleagues who aren’t very good at working with disabled people and who aren’t very patient… However, he gave me some insight: if you really want to be a surgeon, go into a specialty where you can operate on your own, such as ENT, ophthalmology, dermatology… I was reassured to know that yes, I could be a surgeon.

I thought I was going to “suffer” at the hands of the teachers for not listening, but so far they have all been helpful and understanding. They are curious about my ability to get around and often praise me for my perseverance. It thrills me when people praise me for my efforts and call me a winner. I don’t consider myself a winner, there’s still a long way to go.

“Limits are imaginary things”

It’s very good to learn how to handle it well. I hope I can help others to overcome it too. I’m very happy with my achievements. I’ve always studied in regular schools without repeating any year, I speak English fluently (if you know what I mean, that’s another story, hahahah), and I managed to get into a public medical school in 2007.

That was a separate chapter, it was a bit of a controversy in my family. They even told me I couldn’t do medicine, because by not listening I could put other people’s lives at risk. I retorted that limits are imaginary things, and went on. I don’t have any great difficulties, even with auscultation, as my stethoscope is amplified. I’ll graduate in 2012, if all goes well. Seeing my dreams come true despite the difficulties is priceless… Victory is even sweeter! I think you know what I mean, don’t you? 🙂

Bad situations… but good ones too

As for bad situations, unfortunately I’ve been through a lot. Most of them happened in high school (what today goes by the modern name of bullying ), and served to make me mature more quickly. When I didn’t have my braces on, they kept calling me, only to laugh when I didn’t answer. They’ve even poked my device. They laughed at the way I spoke (before I had speech therapy and improved by 90%) and also because I was the class nerd and the teachers’ darling/protégé, who bet on me and always made me sit in the first seat. Physical education was hell on earth, because I couldn’t hear the pitches. It’s not enough for a child to be “different” and suffer internally for it (because we all want, deep down, to be the same as the majority), they still have to suffer from bad jokes and various forms of rudeness. Sad.

In college, because they are older, these puerile attitudes no longer occur, but there is a certain prejudice on the part of some, albeit veiled. Some people think that a doctor has to have all his senses intact and that’s that. However, I find angels there who help me a lot, they give me a seat at the front when I’m late and there’s no room (even without me asking), they repeat things they say and I don’t listen, etc. It’s great to feel welcomed and understood, even if only by a few. I do believe that there are jokes behind it, because there will always be little people. Fortunately, it’s not a majority in my class, which I believe is mostly rooting for me.


About Author

Paula Pfeifer é uma surda que ouve com dois implantes cocleares. Ela é autora dos livros Crônicas da Surdez, Novas Crônicas da Surdez e Saia do Armário da Surdez e lidera a maior comunidade digital do Brasil de pessoas com perda auditiva que são usuárias de próteses auditivas.

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