Friday, July 10, 2009

Just Some Thoughts...

As suspected, there are no Perseos out there to be had. I should have known better than to be hopeful. But, I'm still thankful for the effort by a total stranger.

I recently read something by another blogger about the discrepencies between deaf and hard of hearing individuals who categorize themselves either in the Deaf Culture, or in the hearing world. The particular article I was reading (and I didn't bookmark it, so I have nothing to reference here) said something along the lines of "If you are deaf or HOH and think you can be part of the hearing world, you're kidding yourself. You will never be one of them."

This statement offended me. My entire life I have been told I can do whatever I want to do. Now, of course, as an adult I realize that's not exactly true. I couldn't be a soldier, fly a plane, or be a telephone operator...or lots of other things, in reality. But then again, just because you have perfect hearing doesn't mean you can be an astronaut just because you really want to. But I'm on a tangent here.

Anyhow, I have never been a fan of the deaf culture and I will tell you why, but first, a disclaimer. I have nothing AGAINST those individuals, only that it seems they look down upon people like me, people who strive and struggle to get through life HOH in a hearing-centric world. I do NOT want to embrace my deafness as the main thing that defines me, and I think that is okay. There are so many other facets about me as a person that make up who I am, along with having a disability. Not because of it.

That being said, in so many ways I am NOT a part of the hearing world. For example...movies on planes. No good to me b/c I can't stick the earphones in my ears, and there are no captions anyhow. Drive throughs are completely off, and its rare that I can order something in a restaurant without having to ask someone to repeat themselves at least once. Swimming. No fun for me, because I have to take my hearing aids out, or sit on the edge of the pool and stress that someone will splash me or push me in, or sit far away from the pool and feel anti-social.

There are so, so, so many times in a group of people when everyone is chatting and talking and I am just smiling and laughing and have no clue what's going on. People who know me well know this, and may turn to me at a certain point to enlighten me to the joke, but the general feeling is that I am a kid hanging out with a bunch of grown-ups and I don't get the punchline. With people who DONT know me as well, the assumtion is that I just have nothing to add to the conversation or that I am "quiet", which is totally not true!! In high school and college I completely played the persona of the dumb blonde because it explained how I never knew what was going on. I often, even with my best friends, feel that I am on the outside looking in. Like I will never be as close to them as I could, simply because of all the things I miss.

I don't know, just some thoughts...


  1. This blog really made me feel for you so much! I am hearing, and am now learning ASL. I recently went to a Deaf Night out at a bar with a classmate who is hard of hearing, and he was so thrilled because we were in a loud bar and it didn't matter, he could be involved in every conversation. He was used to asking everyone to repeat themselves. He didn't have to using ASL.

  2. Good blog entry. I consider myself a part of the hearing world, and the deaf world as well. It is okay to be able to switch back and forth from one world to another. I like doing that because it allows me to meet a variety of people. These people may not understand/or not want that kind of situation to occur. However, they do have the right to express their feelings, and so do you. So good blog entry.

  3. Are you hearing? The gray square next to your nickname on Deafread's list identifies you as hearing.

  4. I identify with the Deaf Culture but don't look down on people like you or even oral deaf who "struggle along", like you, in a "hearing world".

    In fact, my ownership of Deaf Culture isn't an all-encompassing thing, any more than an ownership of a religion or an ethnic identity.

    It's just one facet of my life, and doesn't define my role in the community. In many areas I feel equal to hearing people and actually compete with them on that basis.

    It's also something I feel pride in owning, as in ownership of an exotic language, of an identity or character, in a brotherhood with others similar to myself. I'm also proud of others in my culture as with others in my family, my neighborhood, my church, and so on.

    People who think of "deaf culture" in the same thought as "limited" or "exclusive" are missing its meaning.

  5. Thanks for the comments.

    To anonymous, I don't know, am I hearing?? LOL. I really didn't know how to answer that question. I don't consider myself "deaf", I function at a high level with hearing aids, speak well, and most people who meet me in an easy-to-communicate setting, such as my home, are surprised to see that I wear hearing aids.

    On the other hand, I am very obviously profoundly deaf according to my audiogram. Without hearing aids, I am limited to the sounds of thunder, doors slamming, or maybe the dog barking.

    Oh and I TOTALLY embraced frat parties/bar hopping in my college years:) It was amazing to be able to communicate BETTER than most people due to my ability to read lips!!!