My Deaf Journey


I was mild HOH growing up. At first my teachers had me sit at front of the class.  When I entered upper elelmentary,  I was given a hearing test at school and ended up having to undergo 5 ear surgeries, starting at age 5. Like many parents, mine just wanted to “fix” me. Most of my hearing loss in the beginning, was from reoccurring ruptured eardrums, repeated head trauma and abuse.

As a preschool age little girl,  I remember being curled up in a ball, in a chair or in my bed, rocking and crying uncontrollably because the pressure in my ear was so painful. I had horrible ear infections, one after another constantly. My mother would look at me as a 4 year old child and tell me “don’t worry, once your eardrums rupture, you will feel better”. Of course, this is true; but why not get help for me right away?  Why not take me to get help before the ear infections get to the point of rupturing my eardrums? Once the school nurses detected a hearing problem in elementary school, then I was taken to an ear, nose and throat Doctor. I had numerous Myringotomies (ear tube surgeries) between the ages of 7 and 12 years old.

When I was 11 years old, I met a Deaf family. They taught me so much about Deaf language/culture/history & community.  They took me to their residential Deaf school, Deaf football games and to Deaf events. I learned my first ASL vocabulary from that Deaf family. I was at their home constantly because they let me babysit and I became immersed in Deaf community and culture.  I had to learn quickly because they were a full ASL family.  Later on, I became an ASL Interpreter after I graduated college. I was a hospital/medical and educational Interpreter. I also interpreted for my Alma Mater & did that for several years. I continued working as a University classroom Interpreter, part time, even after becoming a Mother.

In 2002, I was in a catastrophic car accident. I suffered multiple injuries/surgeries & a traumatic Traumatic Brain injury (TBI). My hearing & vision declined. I diagnosed with a Convergence insufficiency in my eyes, halo vision and Extreme Dry Eye syndrome (because my eyelids don’t close 100% due to the head trauma & stroke). I got special glasses with prisms in them. I also had to get a pacemaker because my brain would not tell my heart what to do. It was at that time that I got my 1st set of hearing aids.

As time went on, my hearing declined more .  In 2014-2016, I had repeated double ear  infections again.  I lost more hearing. Later in 2019 -May, I went in for new hearing aids and they found an auditory tumor called “Cholesteatoma” (Information regarding Cholesteatoma & information regarding Cholesteatoma ). It had “eaten away” at my 3 ear bones/ossicular chain and mastoid bone. My eardrum was torn badly. I lost most of the hearing in my right ear and there’s severe loss in the left. I was also diagnosed with Tympanosclerosis (Information regarding Tympanosclerosis) or hardening of the eardrum. *{There’s more information about this below}.

I’ve been communicating with ASL & have been a part of the Deaf community since 1973! During college, I used to go every Thursday evening to the D.A.D. (Detroit Association of Deaf) bowling events. I had a Deaf boyfriend for quite awhile during those years & hung out in the dorms with my 16 Best friends; who happened to also be the Deaf students. We had so much fun and got into a tiny bit of fun trouble! Lol…

Later, I joined 2 ASL drama groups; after moving in 1982 to Arizona. In one group, “Silent Impressions Productions”, we had costumes & choreography. Tickets were sold & people paid money to see our show “Nights on Broadway ASL”, at Arizona State University. I was also in a Christian ASL Drama group at the ASU Neumann Center. We did ASL Christian song covers & Interpretive dance. That group was called “Silent Praise”.

I had originally moved there in order to work with Deaf PRE-school children! We taught the children during the day & in evenings, weekly; we taught their parents/families ASL. I KISSFIST (love) that job! After a year & half, I missed my friends & my home & so I returned to Midwest!

After coming back home, I did a little modeling & went back to Interpreting at my Alma Mater. I married & had 2 baby daughters. Fast forward to 1991, & I had to take my baby daughters & myself to a domestic violence shelter because I had been abused again for the past 8 years. As long as I felt that my daughters were safe, I stayed in the home. Once I saw my ex husband, kick our dog in front of our daughter, I knew it was time to leave that marriage. No matter how scary it may be “out there in the world as a single Mom working full time”- it was more scary to stay & continue on that way.

After I served him with divorce papers, I was offered a job within 3 days, as a school district interpreter! It was my dream job! Then later, I got a job (to get better health insurance) at a University hospital. I was a secretarial & clerical “float”. I learned 500 people jobs and worked all over the hospital wherever needed. I also wore a pager and was called to interpret all over the hospital. I got to keep interpreting for the school district on 1/2 day Weds. & on Fridays.

In approximately 1994, I made a new friend. She is Deaf & she introduced me to her two daughters & to her friends, who are also a part of the Deaf community. My daughters became good friends with her kids! She and I are still good friends today in 2020.

I had started a “Sign language club” at my daughters’ elementary school. I did it for my friend , her daughters & my own kids too. I also interpreted for her daughters’ IEP’s.

In 1997- our Sign language club “Silent Impressions”(yes…named after my old choreography/ASL group in AZ), was invited to Madonna University (& other venues) to put on a little ASL performance. It was a great time in my life! I was given an award from the school district, called “Volunteers in public schools Award- (VIPS award)”. It was for my volunteer work. I had been the elementary schools’ jump rope team coach. But I also helped: in classrooms, during field trips, in the the library & initiated & ran the Sign Language club. I was honored, but my reward was not that; it was giving inclusiveness to my friend. It was also about educating our children & many others & giving them a good experience along the way, in their lives.

I Re-married & finally to my soul mate, in 1997. We have been happily married for 23 1/2 years. But in 2002, we were involved in a catastrophic car accident. A man drove through a red light. Luckily, my husband only got a few bruises. I was hurt badly & unconscious for 30 minutes. I suffered a TBI, 11 surgeries (along with multiple painful diagnostic tests) & many injuries. These included more hearing loss & vision lowered due to Convergence insufficiency & halo vision. I ended up with 9 years of PT/OT and 3 years of brain injury rehabilitation. I got my first pair of Analog hearing aids, from my ENT & audiologist. Lastly, I had a stroke, a heart attack and a pacemaker! I was diagnosed in 2007, with the most painful nerve autoimmune illness known to mankind, “RSD aka CRPS” (#47 out of 50 on the McGill pain scale). The RSD/CRPS led me to several other connected & painful health issues (EDS-4, Chiari, Gastroparesis, S.I.B.O., Dysautonomia/POTS, Atrial fibrillation & Sick Sinus Syndrome (a heart condition) . I had to go on disability & have been living with mobility aids, including leg braces (AFO’s), loft-strand crutches, a walker & wheelchair etc.

But nothing has been as scary to me as the diagnosis I received after my hearing started declining more and more from 2014 to 2019. I actually was Hard of Hearing and I did fine with ASL and hearing aids. Yes, I can speak but I prefer ASL. I was diagnosed with an auditory/brain tumor called “Cholesteatoma”. It destroyed my 3 hearing bones and my inner ear. I had to have a Tympanomastoidectomy with oscillar chain & Mastoid bone cut & cleaned-out. I did receive a prosthetic Anvil (Incus) earbone also. But I was also diagnosed with “Tympanosclerosis”(Information about Tympanosclerosis & Hearing loss). This means that my eardrums are hardening & will continue. With this diagnosis, added scar tissue & the tumor (which has a 50% chance to return); my hearing will continue to decline. For now, my right ear has severe mixed hearing loss and Left is high moderate/severe sensory neural hearing loss. I also have pulsating Tinnitus. I received new Signia hearing aids in May 2019 and they are a tool. But since the auditory tumor surgery 7-26-19, I identify as Deaf instead of HoH. I belong to Michigan Association of the Deaf & a few online Deaf groups.

I have my own Facebook group called “ASLExpress” & a Facebook page called “ASL SuzyQ”, where I advocate and share Deaf history, culture and ASL. I also have My YouTube Channel @ASLSuzyQ and My Instagram @ASLSuzyQwhere I share Deaf memes, ASL songs & other fun stuff, including Deaf experiences & stories. *Then there is my TikTok page where it is just all in good fun! My TikTok Channel/Page

Link to “This Is Me” in ASL by Keala Settles (from Greatest Showman)

This was me a year or more after the
catastrophic car accident in 2002

This is me, post-op, after my auditory
surgery 2019-July
This T-shirt was a gift from the parents of kids
This is me at my “Silent Praise” group

A newspaper article honoring me for the
VIPS Award

My class with me at Deaf pre-school

Cholesteatoma, Deafness And ASL


Have you always wanted to learn American Sign Language, but didn’t know where to start?

Well, the best place to learn all of the rules, parameters and the full language, is from a certified, Deaf ASL professor. You should do that if you are able to at all. You should also try to find a Deaf community to hang out with and go to Deaf events. Most of the communities are so amazing and we welcome all levels of ASL. We are excited for you to learn and happy to help. If you want to do that, but you don’t have the money or the venue to take those special classes; the next best place to start, is by heading over to YouTube.

There are several great places online where you can get started learning for no cost. The best and first, is Free ASL classes at Gallaudet . Next, I would say Lifeprint.com & Hantdspeak.com is another, but first I wanted to let you know that I do have some “ASL Basics- Vocabulary” lessons at my YouTube channel :

My YouTube Channel @ASLSuzyQ

The important thing is that you don’t just learn vocabulary, although that’s a great place to start. You need to learn about the language, culture, community and its history! I do have several videos that are a little bit about each of these things. I have one video about “How to get a Sign Name”. There are other videos that include “Deaf President Now” movement in the 1980’s. Also the Sign Language community that was living in Martha’s Vinyard, Massachusetts; in the early 18th century until 1952.

I’ve been using ASL since I was 11 years old. I was babysitting and hung out with a Deaf family of 6. I grew up mildly Hard of Hearing due to recurrent ear infections and numerous ruptured ear drums with scarring. I always had to sit in the front of the class because I couldn’t hear well. Later, when my elementary school performed hearing tests, they informed my parents that I needed tubes in my ears because I wasn’t hearing well. I had multiple operations from ages 7 through 12 or 13 years. However, I did not get hearing aids until much later.

I went to Deaf school events, such football games at MSD (Michigan school for Deaf). I fit right in and felt comfortable. I later went to college and a group of 16 Deaf students in the dorms, were my best friends. We watched “General Hospital” with closed captioned. We went dancing and had some great times together!

Later on, I took a break for a year and a half & went to work at a school in Arizona with Deaf preschoolers. I loved that job. I was ecstatic to find out that I’d beaten out several other candidates for that position because of my skills. I also worked at a Deaf relay center called ADARA or “Arizona Deaf Assistance Referral Association” while I was living in Scottsdale.

After working there for about a year and a half, I went back home to finish my degree in Sign language studies & Interpreting. I then got hired as an educational interpreter for a school district and stayed on Interpreting for my Alma Mater. I got married, had two daughters and 8 years later I became a single mom.

I needed to take care of my girls and I immediately got a full time job with full benefits at the University hospital. I was a “Secretarial float” & wore a pager so that I could be notified when Deaf clients/patients needed me to Interpret for them. I loved my job. At that same time, I was an Interpreter at a school district nearby. I also volunteered as a pro tactile interpreter for Deaf/Blind medical screening events a few times each year.

I continued attending workshops at my Alma Mater and one in particular stands out in my memory. I met an amazingly intelligent and kind man who impacted the rest of my life, in a good way! His name is Art Roehrig and he was a Deaf/Blind guest speaker at one of my most memorable workshops. He told stories about how he’d grown up at a residential Deaf school and discovered that he had Ushers Syndrome, when he was a teen. He shared jokes and told us all about how he was living independently. He was a public speaking and later worked at and then retired from Gallaudet University. I still email with my long time friend, Art.

Back in 2002, I was involved in an Catastrophic car accident. A man ran through a red light and I suffered multiple injuries, surgeries and a Traumatic brain injury. I went through 11 surgeries up until now, and 3 years of TBI (brain injury) rehabilitation. I am left with many medical issues, including several high pain chronic illnesses, chronic pain, a stroke, heart attack and I received a permanent dual chamber pacemaker. Since the car accident, I’ve had vision issues, such as “halo vision” and a Convergence Insufficiency. Also, due to the TBI, my hearing declined even more. Prisms were placed in my eyeglasses for quite awhile and I was fitted with two hearing aids for mild.

My hearing declined over the years and the past 4-5 years it was rapidly declining more. I was waiting until my husband retired this past year, to be fitted with new hearing aids. They’re so expensive ($6,000.00), so I had to wait until we got new insurance, that would help with the cost.

When I went for the hearing test, they were concerned because my bilateral hearing loss had very much worsened. The right side was also now a mixed hearing loss and not only sensory-neural. The ENT ordered a CT scan & later in May 2019, I was diagnosed with an auditory tumor, called a Cholesteatoma. I had a very scary & difficult brain/inner ear surgery on July 26, 2019. I got two new & improved digital hearing aids. But they’ve been nothing but trouble with one thing or another since I got them! We had to pay $1,500.00 of the cost plus $150.00 for the ear molds (which now both have split on me and I’ve only had them for a few months). I’m ready to give up on them.

My hearing bones, eardrum & Mastoid were all diseased from the tumor. I received a Tympanoplasty, a Mastoidectomy (called a Tympanomastoidectomy) & a titanium Anvil, a prosthetic ear-bone. I’ve had Vertigo, a tingling, droopy top, right lip & my tongue has no sensation or taste on the right side, since that surgery this Summer. Oh… and I’m Deaf in my right ear and Moderate/severe HoH in my left ear. The deafness isn’t my problem. The fact that I have to live a lifelong battle with a reoccurring tumor, (that’s like a cancer in the way that it grows into the brain & can kill you. Also in the way it can repeatedly grow back); that is my problem! I have to go back in Spring 2020, for another of the same surgery, possibly. The micro Neuro-Otologist surgeon, told me “to be prepared”. This thing is the “Never ending story”. An endless battle that results in multiple painful & scary surgeries and deafness. But as I said, deafness is not the problem. I’ve been part of the Deaf community since age 11. It’s the lifelong battle with more pain & surgeries on top of the current pain…..that is the major issue for me.

If you’d like to follow me in social media, I will leave the links for you, below:

1) http://www.instagram.com/ASLSuzyQ

2) http://www.facebook.com/ASLSuzyQ

3) http://www.twitter.com//ASLSuzyQ

4) http://www.youtube.com/ASLSuzyQ

5) http://www.tiktok.com/asl_suzyq

6) http://www.facebook.com/groups/ASLExpress (*This one is an ASL info, & help group)

My new Hearing aids:

The Lion King -ASL


Hello Luvs!

I thought you might enjoy a bit of something light, to cheer you. If you’re like me, the “Lion King” was my favorite of all Disney movies. I have here, “The Circle of Life” in American Sign Language-(ASL), from that Movie! I also have below, “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”? In ASL….I hope you enjoy! *Please “Like”& “Subscribe” on my YouTube videos & “click the little bell 🛎. This way you’ll be notified when I post a new ASL cover song video, to my YouTube channel. I’m trying hard to grow my audience. Thank you so much!! Here’s the direct link to watch ” The Circle of Life” In American Sign Language: “Circle of Life” ASL

Just for your information, at the beginning, of “Circle of Life”, I Sign “look over there! Look over there”… then I name several wild animals, such as: Lion, tigers, giraffe, elephant, antelope, hyena etc. Then I show them all coming forward as they did for Simba when they presented him at Pride Rock. Then I sign “we all must protest against the Lion named Scar. We will win & there will be peace again!!” (This is what I’m signing in parts where there is just music). Then I’m signing the song itself, to the best of my abilities.

Secondly, I have also done the song “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?” In ASL. Here’s the direct link to that song done in American Sign Language: “Can you Feel The Love Tonight?” ASL

I hope you enjoy these because they gave me pleasure to make it! Thank you so much for following “Tears of Truth”. Thank you also for Subscribing to my YouTube channel!

Part of Two Worlds


Hello Luvs,

Many of my “regular” readers may remember that I am “Hard of hearing”. Hearing people may use the term “hearing impaired”. We prefer to be called “Hard of hearing”. Mostly because we don’t feel that we are broken or “impaired”. Technically it means that I’m not totally “medically 100% deaf”. I can hear a few various pitches, frequencies and sounds. With my hearing aids in, I can hear a little bit during a “one on one” conversation. But add in background noise and people who mumble or talk very fast; and then it’s nearly impossible. Next, add the situation of trying to “listen” to several people at once, in a crowded room or restaurant? Lastly, there are those with facial hair all around their mouth and lips. They are the group for me, who have the most frustrating lips to read! Then again, it’s not really like “reading”. Because it’s more like piecing together bits and pieces of a puzzle & then trying to “fill in the missing pieces”.

In case you’re not familiar with my hearing loss journey; I’ll recap just a little bit for you. When I was a child, I had recurring ear infections. During those times, I could often be found literally rocking my body back & forth, while curled up in the fetal position. My memories start as young as age 3 years. It was always pure hell while I was living with horrible ear infections. When I complained to my parents about the excruciating 😖 throbbing Pain in my ear (or ears), my mother would always say same thing. She’d tell me “Once your eardrum ruptures, the pressure will go away and you will feel better!” Well, it did feel better after the pressure was gone. But each time that happened it caused scar tissue to form in my ear drums. It also caused mild hearing loss as I was growing up. I remember asking the teachers if I could sit closer to the board to try and hear them better. Therefore my audiologist (in 2002) & ENT Dr. felt that I’ve had mild hearing loss since I was a child. I had tubes put in my ears when I was about 7 or 8 years old. They were surgically placed multiple times and for several years.

Later in 2002, I was a passenger in a car driven by my husband. We were just driving along through a green light when we were hit by a car running through a red light. It was considered a “catastrophic accident”. I acquired a TBI (traumatic brain injury) and had multiple injuries and 9 surgeries. I went to brain injury rehab for 3 years & had 9 years of PT/OT, balance therapy and speech therapy. I acquired a pacemaker, glasses with prisms (for lowered vision), 2 screws in my left shoulder and 2 hearing aids. I also got a wheelchair, a seated wheeled walker, a motorized scooter, loft strand crutches, a cane and several other helping aides for activities of daily living.

I won’t bore you with all of the chronic pain illnesses that came out of that accident. That’s not what this post is all about. But I also acquired a bi-lateral sensory neural hearing loss in both of my ears L>R (but currently (2019), it’s R>L & it’s a mixed hearing loss). Along with the many medical issues, I also acquired lower vision. I saw a Neuro-Othamoligist, who put prisms in my glasses to try and correct some of it. The prisms really bothered me. Today I just have a very strong prescription for eye glasses. Everything has a bit of a halo effect.

It’s ironic and very awesome that prior to that MVA (motor vehicle accident), I had been an ASL Interpreter. I worked at a Deaf preschool and then I interpreted for a school district. In the end, I was a medical Interpreter at a University hospital. I even did volunteer work doing medical interpreting for Deaf/Blind at free medical screening events. I had gone through a 4 year SLS/Interpreting program and finished with a 3.8 gpa.

Back in the 1980’s when I went to college, I practically lived at the dorms with my 16 Deaf friends. We watched CC “General Hospital” daily at 3:00 pm. We even tried to schedule our classes around it! It was a social hour. I’d been learning ASL since age 11 & even “tested out” of the first fingerspelling class.

The Deaf community accepted me and they were kind to me. At that time I went to Deaf bowling every Thursday with DAD club. I had a Deaf boyfriend whose sister was a cheerleader at MSD & we went to all of the football games and even the homecoming dance! Me and my group of college friends, who happened to be Deaf, used to go out dancing on Friday nights. One time my friends & I were on our way to a dance club and we got pulled over for a slight bit of speeding. We were all packed in the back of a mini van signing with each other. One of my friends told me to “talk to the officer”. I was terrified and I told him “No way! I’m afraid! Since I’m with you guys, I don’t want to talk to him either!” We all laughed as the officer just let us go with a handwritten warning on a piece of paper. That was a fun and I felt included.

Just to back track a little, I started learning ASL at age 11. My best friend & I babysat for a Deaf family who lived next door to her. The parents and 6 children were Deaf. The children went to the Lutheran School for Deaf at that time! They included me in many Deaf social activities and I learned the language & received my sign name from them. First we played games and I learned colors, numbers, family signs, days of week and more!

I’ve always felt accepted by the Deaf community. I always respected the culture, the history & the language, ASL. How ironic then, that I lost my hearing & was already prepared with the tools I needed!

I’ve lost touch with some of my old friends from DAD (Detroit Association of Deaf). But I still have a some close friends from the past, who are Deaf. I still feel a part of the community. I’d like to become even more involved again! But living with several high pain chronic illnesses makes it difficult to get out due to persistent pain.

I’ve found my own ways to reconnect and to feel not so “in-between” two worlds. I get to teach ASL vocabulary with the Deaf Socials on their Instagram and Facebook pages. I love & look forward to each new vocabulary list they give to me for teaching! I truly enjoy doing that and doing song covers to ASL on my Youtube channel: My YouTube channel at: ASLSuzyQ . I also post to my Instagram A link to my ASL Instagram and Twitter A link to my ASL Twitter with the same name. I do this for fun and as a volunteer and advocate for Deaf Awareness.

Lastly, I used to love being a part of two ASL performance groups during the 80’s, when I lived in Arizona & worked at a Deaf preschool. One group was called “Silent Impressions productions”. We performed in choreography and ASL to broadway show tunes and in costumes! We put in shows at ASU and it was so much fun! The other group to which I belonged, was called “Silent Praise”. We performed Christian songs while others did lyrical dances. We did that at the ASU Neumann center. It was such a fun time in my life. My friends and I also interpreted for our church community at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Scottsdale, AZ.

After reminiscing in this post, I feel so grateful that I had already been involved with the Deaf community & had many years of experience with ASL, before I became more (*I was mild HoH since elementary school) Hard of Hearing. As ironic as it seems, it’s not all that crazy. I had a mild hearing loss and then it worsened due to the TBI.

I mostly seem to write about chronic pain illnesses. I’ve been writing about the rights of chronic pain patients to have access to much needed opioid pain medications. We need these medications because without them, people like me wouldn’t even be able to do the small amount of activities that we try to do. I was forcibly tapered from my long acting pain meds after doing pretty well on them for almost 14 years! Now I sit in my recliner for approximately16 hours daily. I try to get up, put I make up and do some online activities every few days. But my life is not the same with so much less help for the pain.

Although I still want to continue advocating in that area, I’m doing more & more advocating for Deaf awareness, inclusion and preservation of ASL. I thought I’d put my hearing loss story and ASL history here in my blog too. I’ve written a few posts about Deafness and trying to live in “two worlds”. But I’ve never explained the details of how I became who I am today. I’m a survivor of long time childhood abuse, domestic violence and then a catastrophic car accident. I’m not a “victim” but I am a “fighter and a survivor”! Don’t ever give up!!

I have a Facebook page at: Link to my ASLSUZYQ Facebook page

I have a Facebook group called “ASLExpress” at:Link to join Facebook group ASL Express

Lastly, I have an ASL group for allowing people to post ASL covers in a safe place, called “ASL Song” at: Link to ASL Song Facebook group

“Silent Impressions Productions” & I’m 2nd left
Me Interpreting at church before MVA
Me Interpreting a Song in “Silent Praise@ group

Me working at Deaf preschool
I was in newspaper when I taught elementary kids

My hearing aids