Are You Half and Half?

Back in the States, people will ask if I’m deaf, hard-of-hearing, or hearing.

In Kenya, I have had a few deaf children ask if I’m “half and half” after they see my cochlear implants.  Their sign for “half-half” is different than the ASL sign.  They take their dominant flat hand and put it in the middle of their face (on their nose) and then they move their hand back and forth.

Ok, that was a bad description but signs are so hard to explain without visual aids.

Anyways, instead of asking if I’m “hard-of-hearing”….they ask if I’m “half and half.”  Basically, they’re asking if I can communicate with both hearing and deaf people.  They’re asking if I have some hearing or/and some speech.

I actually kind of like the “half-and-half” term better than “hard-of-hearing” even though I consider myself a deaf person.

It’s been interesting trying to explain cochlear implants to people who have never heard the term or seen them.  Many children do not even have hearing aids.  I always make sure that they know that I’m still deaf and that cochlear implants do not make me a hearing person.

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