The power of my hearing loss | ABA Journal

To many, it may seem ironic that a deaf judge presides over hearings.

Although I navigate the world as a South Asian Muslim woman with hearing loss, seeing my disability as my power is what shaped my path to law.

I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. At age 3, I was curious, well-mannered and loved going to day care. One day, I was playing alone with toys at the back of the room during free time when suddenly I was picked up, carried to the front and plopped into my seat. My teacher scolded me: “Everyone already returned to their seats! Why didn’t you listen to me?” I felt shocked and humiliated. Despite trying so hard to be good and follow directions, I somehow still got in trouble. Eventually, the teacher met with my parents and advised they take me for a hearing test. I was diagnosed with moderate-to-severe bilateral sensorineural hearing loss and needed hearing aids. When I tried on my first pair, I heard sounds I’d never heard before. The world seemed so noisy!

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