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Day by Day: The Chronicles of a Hard of Hearing Reporter presents a marvelous blend of Elizabeth Thompson's experiences and best SNP columns that illustrate how she created her remarkable outlook.
Day by Day celebrates the entire arc of her life, a wonderful testament to her joyous resilience.
The Seventh Volume in the Deaf Lives Series
Elizabeth Thompson’s hearing loss was detected when she was in elementary school, and her hearing continued to deteriorate until she became completely deaf. Like many other hard of hearing and late-deafened individuals, her hearing loss complicated the general challenges of life. She struggled through school, worked as a secretary, married, had a daughter, and then found herself living as a single mother. She remarried, and soon after learned that she had contracted Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Despite these hurdles, Thompson always expressed her determination to enjoy the best life had to offer. Her astonishing exuberance might have gone unnoticed if she hadn’t accepted a new position as a reporter/columnist in 1998 for the Suburban News Publications (SNP). Day by Day: The Chronicles of a Hard of Hearing Reporter presents a marvelous blend of her experiences and best SNP columns that illustrate how she created her remarkable outlook.
In her columns, Thompson presented how she handled her hearing loss as a personal guide for readers. She used every stratagem available to function full-throttle – hearing aids, FM systems, lights for alarms, TTYs, even training her dog Snert. She also gently counseled readers on how to treat deaf and hard of hearing people with practical consideration and respect. Her pursuit of a fully realized life enabled her to do what she loved most, to meet and write about inspiring persons, many of whom are profiled in her memoir. Thompson eventually underwent cochlear implantation that restored 95% of her hearing, an exalting moment for her.
You Are One of Millions
The more I wrote columns related to hearing loss, the more letters I received. People wanted information, answers, and, most of all, people wanted out of their lonely, muffled world. Receiving these letters humbled me and gave a voice to readers. This also showed me I was doing what I was meant to do—write about what I know to reach out to others. I was learning about many lives different from mine other than our shared hearing loss. SNP’s copydesk secretary, Dorothy Stoyer, told me I received more letters than many other people. I’d see her short, curly-haired figure walking slowly toward my desk, smiling. Since she was metaphorically tied to her desk, having to answer phones and faxes, I knew the news was good as long as she smiled. She loved handing letters to me and saying, “Here’s another one, Liz.” Dorothy worked daily to help me succeed as a reporter by listening to my phone messages, taking detailed messages for me, and cueing me into the internal nuances of the newsroom. Her glee over the positive letters was a boost to my self-confidence.
Even though I am naturally gregarious, I had not yet found my niche as a whole person; I knew I had to break loose of my closed world, despite the onset of my deafness. My bluffing was not working well anymore, and with the support of friends like Dorothy, I became more true to myself. It would be impossible to count the times I floundered, answered questions incorrectly, and led conversations so I would know the topic. I felt as through I was constantly blushing from embarrassment throughout most of my adult life as a result of these mistakes. Through this personal pain, I learned how to advocate for myself and got better at explaining my hearing loss to others. The words flowing from my lips gradually became more natural; I began to understand myself more clearly as a deaf person.