During Jess and I's evacuation, we made a trip to Raleigh and upon a night out with our family, somebody came up to me (that I've never met) and said "I thought I recognized you from your blog!" I kid you not, that actually happened and it was the strangest moment of low-key fame I've ever had... in a good way. It's flattering realizing that people like you are reading these very words. Many people are even writing e-mails with questions especially about my hard-of-hearing upbringing. There seems to be a lot of myths I need to debunk about what it means to be hard of hearing. I'll go through them one by one.
1. "Oh you're deaf, okay you can't talk on phone."
I can't tell you how many customer service representatives tell me I need TTY (teletype)—like Lord, if you already know what I need, go ahead and fix the problem I'm calling about. TTY stands for teletype machines and they are used by SOME people who are deaf or heard-of-hearing to communicate by typing or reading text. I can talk on the phone jussst fine. Go ahead, call me and let's talk!
2. "So if you don't hear very well, you must do sign language."
No, not every hard-of-hearing or deaf individual chooses to American Sign Language as a form of language. Every child or adult makes their own decision but our family decided for me to be mainstream in my communication skills: good ol' fashioned talking. Sure I get insecure if I sound "deaf" when I don't have my cochlear hearing devices in, but I'd rather sound deaf then have to learn a language only about 250,000 people know how to speak (ASL). If someone is calling my bluff, I just do stuff like this:
3. "Bet you can't hear me right now."
Yes, I can hear you. I have cochlear implants that serve as a fancy aid. The better question to ask a deaf or hard-of-hearing person is "Can you understand me?" Even if I have my cochlears in, I might not understand you for many reasons: you're talking too fast, you're covering your mouth (so I can't lip read), you're mumbling, you're speaking too quietly or there is background noise.
4. "OOh, I bet you take out your device when you don't want to listen to someone."
This is actually an insult to me sometimes. You basically just assume that I got three five-thousand dollar surgeries so I could not hear you on purpose? No, I want to hear you, no matter how annoying you are. But that's my personality. Every deaf person has a different personality. If someone really got on my nerves, I'll do what every hearing person does:
5. "How do you watch tv?"
Closed captions are my best friend. My sweet husband has gotten so well-trained that he turns on captions by default without me asking and if we're somewhere else, he'll ask for me sometimes. My family says they still watch tv with subtitles because they got so used to it and liked the funny *sighs vigorously* subtext that came with it.
6. "I bet you wish you could hear."
Let's put it this way, if I could hear, I just know I'd eventually lose my hearing in old age because I LOVE loud music so I'm just beating everyone to the punch and not crying about losing something I never had to begin with. Again, hate it when people assume that being deaf is the worst thing in the world. I gots food, I gots family and I gots a home—that's a lot more than I need.
Thanks for reading Day 23! You're pretty much a total rockstar for reading lots of words. See you tomorrow.