Image (c) Mike Utley

I’m Mike, fifty-nine, and a resident of the rural southwestern U.S. I began losing my hearing at age eighteen after a bout with meningitis. Over the years it has progressed to a severe hearing loss in both ears and is classified as an auditory processing problem. I’ve tried hearing aids a couple of times, to no avail. I can still hear some sounds but have tremendous difficulty understanding speech. In 2016 I was tested to see if I might be a candidate for a cochlear implant but due to the duration of my deafness there was no way to say if an implant would help. I lip-read but I don’t know sign language.

Due to the rural nature of my location, there is very little in the form of deaf support services. Indeed, I don’t know any other deaf or hard-of-hearing people. I know they must be out there somewhere but perhaps, like me, they’ve retreated into self-imposed isolation as a coping mechanism for their deafness.

My goal with this blog is to finally come to terms with my deafness and put to rest my Sisyphean struggle against it. It’s a battle I can’t win and which I’ve fought fruitlessly for decades. Also, I hope to find others who may feel hopeless as they endure life in quiet isolation. After all, no one deserves to be a silent pariah.

With that said, I’m not just “the deaf guy.” There’s more to me than that. I love writing (especially poetry), nature photography, animals, baseball, PC gaming, and I am an unabashed fanatic of Chinese food (kung pao chicken FTW!).