So many of you reading will already know, I’m more deaf than hearing. I was born profoundly deaf in my right ear and as i have got older, the hearing in my left has started to deterioate. At times, it can be difficult especially in settings with lots of background noise. Although i like to think i have the art of lip reading down to a tee.
Something I’ve always struggled with is my identity. I don’t quite cut it as a deaf person, i don’t identify myself as part of the deaf community and have often been made to feel ‘I’m too hearing for it’ but i also don’t identify as a hearing person either. This is something that had previously made me question my place in society. The truth is, i still don’t feel as though i fit in BUT i am more than okay with that. I am just me and i can live with that.
I never used to tell people of my hearing or lack of. It’s something i felt embarrassed of but as I’ve got older, I’ve realised I’m proud of my difference. In a lot of ways, it makes me who i am. The experiences I’ve gained throughout my life have made me more compassionate, understanding and aware of the internal battles everyone faces; just because you can’t see something, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Although i have noticed, hearing individuals have a negative perspective of hearing ‘loss’. The more open and honest i am, the more comments I’ve noticed such as “poor you” or “can’t they fix it” because of the type of hearing loss i have, hearing aids/ devices do not help. Even if i could “fix” it, I’m not sure i would want to. Some may gasp in horror and think “why would you not want to hear?” It’s simple, I’m proud of who i am, that includes my bad hearing. As i mentioned earlier, it’s made me who i am.
A while ago, as part of an assignment i had to look at ‘deaf gain’. To begin with, i thought it was a strange concept. It looks at how deafness is a gain to not only deaf individuals themselves but society as a whole. For example, deaf people gain increased and improved visual abilities, alternative ways of thinking and problem solving and social structure. Whereas society gains from the contribution of deaf individuals i.e. BSL.
It wasn’t until i read further into deaf gain that i realised, actually, this is part of me. In a way, my deafness can and will be used to help others.
I’ve often said, i wouldn’t want anyone to feel how i did growing up which was alone and isolated. However, if i can make a difference to at least one person’s life from my own experiences; I’ll know it will have been worth it. I stand by this but i know now that even if i can’t possibly impact someone else’s life in the way that I’d hoped although, i don’t think I’ll ever stop trying. It has still been worth it, my experiences have made me a better and stronger person.