I learned to speak first, and then to sign. I have never really known what it was like to hear, so I can't compare hearing aids to normal hearing.
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I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and in spite of what most people might have expected from a young girl growing up deaf, life for me was like one long episode of 'The Brady Bunch.' Despite whatever barriers were in my way, I imagined myself as Marcia Brady skating down the street saying 'hi' to everyone, whether they knew me or not.