Tuesday, 4 November 2008

How do you feel about being deaf?

The above question was posed to Tales from a CI Gal and it made me think about the question as it applies to me.

I don't actually think that I have thought all that deeply about the fact that I am deaf. It is simply a part of me, there isn't a great deal I can do about it except make sure that I carry spare batteries with me!

You see, although I am deaf, I do like to hear what is going on around me as then I feel less vulnerable and less inclined to behave meerkat-like as I frequently pop up and swivel around in order to see what's going around me. At least with hearing aids I get some sense of what's happening around me, but that doesn't mean that I don't jump a foot (or two) when people manage to sneak up on me!!

Of course, there will always be moments when I get frustrated with the fact that my ears don't work quite as they should. For instance when the promised subtitles are not working it means I can't watch something that I'd been anticipating! Or perhaps when I am out for a walk with friends and family and simply cannot listen to the conversation because we have to walk in single file for a moment - this I find harder to deal with sometimes because what do I do? Do I ask people to wait and finish the conversation later, do I ask people to repeat the whole thing to me after the conversation has finished? Usually I end up shrugging my shoulders and saying to myself that if it was important they'd tell me and so I look at the scenery and think what a beautiful day it is.

As I usually get by, I have no intention of making other people feel uncomfortable and having to feel constantly alert as to whether I was able to pay attention or not. Yes, I am well aware that it could be said that the people around me have a duty to make sure that I am not marginalised simply because I cannot hear. After all it is not my fault that I need to see in order to hear, but like I said, I usually manage to know what's going on so in the main it doesn't bother me that much. Besides, why get all worked up and frustrated about a conversation that probably wasn't all that important - it is just that so much could potentially get missed.

However, I am not so deaf that I can't hear my cat, Phoebe, meow when she wants feeding!! Clearly, I hear her much better when she is right next to my shoulders or when it is particularly quiet and she is right at my feet. Which is a pain in the neck because every time I even look as though I am walking to the kitchen she is there at my feet - meow, meow, meow!! But, hey, I can't have it both ways can I?! I can't choose to hear what I want to hear and ignore what I don't - it's all about taking the rough with the smooth and not forgetting to be quite totally deaf when the call goes up for dishwashers!!!! ha ha.


Mrs. Spit said...

I didn't know that. Thanks for the amazing perspective.

Kelley said...

I love you!

And that last line made me spurt my latte out my nose.

Having a child like Boo, and walking in the circles that I do now because of Boo's issues, I know a lot of people with differing abilities. Not many are as freaking awesome as you. Many live in a world of poor me, or the world owes them something.

Sh!t happens. We are all different. It is what we make of our challenges that define us.

You rock.

Hecticmom Undone said...

I didn't know you are deaf. Sorry to be so nosey - but, do you use sign language too or rely solely on reading lips.

I was heavily involved in the deaf community quite a few years ago, but many of my closest friends are deaf.

And, it doesn't surprise me you can hear Phoebe - cats can be LOUD!