What’s it like to be deaf?

First, you know how some people carry an emergency…contraceptive (my grandmother reads this) in their wallet?  Well, MY friend carries an emergency York Peppermint Patty.  Priorities, people, priorities.

That really has nothing to do with my post for today.  What I really want to talk about is the whole, “being deaf/hard-of-hearing” deal. Here’s today’s public service announcement: CONTRARY to popular belief, I do not have selective hearing, I’m NOT making it up, and NOT ALL DEAF PEOPLE have a “funny accent.”

Sure, my friends can still do it like animals (must.bleach.brain.) in their room with paper thin walls while I crash on their couch and no one is embarrassed in the morning.  Sure, if I tell the airline personnel handling boarding I’m deaf, I get to board with the babies and elderly.  Jealous, are you? Don’t be.  There’s a whole other side to this, people.  I bet you’ve never thought of half of these.

The REAL Reasons it’s tough to be deaf/hard of hearing:

1.  Unless it’s an SBD, you’re at a distinct disadvantage when someone lets one fly.  No advance warning (hi, grandma!).

2.  You can’t lead flashmobs.  If you miss the first strains of music, your count is thrown completely off and that’s just embarrassing.

3.  Your aesthetician may forget to speak up, so you might miss the warning that she’s going to pull the strip.

4.  Your TV is up so loud, your neighbors suspect that there is a ninety year old hostage living with you.

5.  On a similar vein, when you go through a rough patch, EVERYONE in the neighborhood can hear you listening to Air Supply and Celine Dion. On repeat.

6.   The Helen Keller jokes when you wear your glasses… Or when you don’t.

7.  You mix up weird words and think you heard the following sentence, “I burned the toast and went to the animal shelter for more booze.”  (I have no idea.)

8.  You sit through a drama at the movie theater and make up dialogue for entertainment, as you have no idea what the characters are saying.  While this is highly amusing for you,  a couple of days later, when at a party, someone knows you went to the movie and attempts to make conversation about said cinematic experience.  Your “I found it…highly ironic,” is met with odd stares.

9.You’re STILL mad you lost the fifth grade spelling bee finals because you thought you heard the girl before you spell “exaggeration” the way you thought it was spelled (CORRECTLY), and when they said, “incorrect,” you scrambled to come up with a different spelling, only to be informed that’s how SHE spelled it and that was “still wrong.”

10.  You have been hit with the following projectiles in a bid to get your attention: a remote control, a pool noodle, several pens, a coaster, a cherry tomato, a matchbox car, a potholder, a kitkat…  You KNOW there are more, and the lack of memory worries you there’s been some brain damage.

But what’s it really like?  You know, I’m not sure I can explain because it’s just the state of things. Technically, I’m not deaf, but moderately hard of hearing.  I miss a lot.  I don’t know what it’s like to be a hearing person, so I don’t know how to adequately compare.  What I can tell you is that mostly gleaned from observation and experience seeing what others can do that I can’t.

I can’t imagine being able to talk to someone in the next room, watching TV without captioning, listening to multiple conversations at a party, going to the movies without having to think about whether I’ll still understand it if I miss a lot of what is being said (action is always better than drama- rule of thumb)…  But for all of that, it’s my life.  It’s what I was born with.  You do the best you can with what you have, you use humor, you become resourceful. When all is said and done, I’m too grateful for what I do have to bother mourning what I don’t.