Do I want to be a hearing person? I got that question often as a kid. I would often answer with a “yes” even though it wasn’t really what I wanted.
I always felt like I was SUPPOSED to want to hear. I felt like society expected me to want to hear and it was wrong to be okay with being deaf. I do want to point out that I spent a good half of my childhood being the only deaf person I knew which played a huge role in how I viewed my deafness. It was a good growing experience for me and has taught me so many things.
I did have those moments when I would become extremely frustrated and wished I could hear for 30 minutes just so I could understand 100% what was going on without having to work so hard in certain situations. Whereas I felt like I could never admit those “I want to hear” moments to deaf friends. I always felt like I was SUPPOSED to want to be deaf and that the deaf community would look down on me if I wanted to be able to hear.
A bit confusing.
Some people may make the assumption that I want to be a hearing person because I decided to get a CI. Not true. I want to be a deaf person who can utilize some “hearing” to help communication within the world I chose to live in. I have mentioned this before but one of the many reasons it took me 5 years to decide if I wanted a CI or not….was I wanted to be sure I was comfortable being deaf before getting a CI. I wanted to be sure I was getting a CI for what I believed to be the correct reasons.
Even though I have one foot in the deaf world and the other foot in the hearing world…I have more or less chosen the hearing world even though I will always be a part of the deaf world (I need both worlds). My whole family is hearing, most of my friends growing up were hearing, I chose a career within the hearing world, and as many culturally Deaf people put it…I grew up “hearing minded.”
So, why did I get a CI if I do not want to be a hearing person? I see my CI as a tool. To me, it’s kind of like when you decide to live in another country and you learn their language. Even though you’ll always be more comfortable with your native language and you may never be fluent in that particular country’s language…..learning a bit of that country’s language will help you in daily situations. I have chosen to work within the hearing world and I have many loved ones within the hearing world….hence….I want to learn their language.
Basically, I am a deaf person who wants to be deaf and “hear”…however…I don’t want to be a hearing person. Sometimes I do feel selfish for wanting both. Am I asking for too much? Or does it surprise people that instead of choosing being hearing over deaf…I want both?
My answer to “Do I want to be a hearing person?” has changed over the years and I’m sure it will continue to change. My answer right now is that I want to be a deaf person who can “hear” some.