I’ve mentioned this a few times throughout my blog but I haven’t really expanded on it. I don’t know the best way to but here’s my first shot at it. I have started this blog post several times but I usually end up deleting it because I just can’t seem to figure out the best way to 100% express what I’m trying to say. Not even sure this will make any sense but maybe it will be a good starting point.
All my life, I always felt like I was missing out on something because I couldn’t hear. People thought it was sad I couldn’t hear. People thought I couldn’t enjoy the world around me because I couldn’t hear. That negative attitude made me miss out on what being deaf had to offer me.
Sure, people feel “sorry” for me because I can’t hear. Frankly I feel just as “sorry” for them because they can hear.
Don’t get me wrong. I love hearing with my CI and hearing aid. I would never take them for granted. I wear them everyday even though they just give me environmental awareness and not speech discrimination. If my CI were to ever fail *knock on wood* I would 100% want to be reimplanted.
However, I love not being able to hear too. When I take my CI off things just become sharper and the colors become brighter. I notice things that hearing people don’t notice. When I visit a place I’ve never been to…I like to experience it with sounds and without sounds.
For example, when we hiked a 14Ker in Colorado earlier this year…with the CI, I could hear the wind blowing, birds, us walking, us huffing and puffing, streams, etc. It did make it harder to focus on the visual things and I felt like I was missing out on the beauty around me so I turned it off for some of the hike. It wasn’t until then that I started noticing the finer details of trees, the way water flowed around rocks, all the colors of the sunrise, the way the sunshine was hitting the mountain, subtle facial expressions on my fellow hikers’ faces that made me smile on the inside, etc.
Yes, I know hearing people notice those things too but I truly feel like they don’t get to appreciate it as much because they’re being stimulated by an additional sense that overrides some of the things they’re taking in visually.
Funny how when I was younger I took it for granted that I was deaf and didn’t think there was really anything positive about being deaf. The older I get, the more I wish hearing people could experience what it’s like to be deaf because they do miss out on things. Although every once in a while it’s nice to have a world of my own, a world that belongs to me.
Frankly, if I had a choice between experiencing what it’s like to be a hearing person for a day or give the gift of what it’s like to be deaf to those around me for a day. I would want those around me to be deaf for a day…because I think it would be a gift for them to see the fine details that this world has to offer us. I think people would be amazed at how much they overlook because of all the senses they have.
If all the hearing people around me became deaf for one day I would cram everything into that day. I would take them to a waterfall, on a subway ride, on a hike, and to a music concert. Just to show them how much fun it can be to experience those things as a deaf person.
Sometimes it does bother me that I can’t share what I experience as a deaf person with hearing people.
Being able to hear is a gift. Being deaf is a gift. I have 2 gifts. I’m very thankful for both gifts.