Have you ever wanted to freeze or preserve a perfect moment? You try to memorize every detail, every sensation so that that you can bring up that moment at any time and relive that moment of happiness. I do that with sound. Every day, I make conscious notes about the sounds that I pick up. I am constantly wondering if this is the last time that I will hear a specific sound. What if this is the last time I am going to hear this sound?
Sounds are not distinct to me. They are fuzzy. Often times it is very difficult, if not impossible, to tell sounds apart. When I am wearing my hearing aids, my head is filled with a cacophony of noise. Perhaps this why I hate wearing them, because I am used to living in a much quieter world. The first time I was fitted with hearing aids, I spent the day jumping out of my skin. Although I still had a fairly mild hearing loss, I still learned that certain things make sound. I could not get over just how loud industrial toilets flushing can truly be!
I can no longer hear the sound of the rain falling or the waves crashing against the beach. I can no longer hear my dad’s voice when he calls me “his little Bri-Bri” (no matter how old I get) in his Cajun accent; but, I can still “hear” it in my head sometimes. I can see it on his lips when he says it. Although I have lost the ability to hear sounds that many people take for granted, I have also gained so much more than words can express. I gained a unique perspective of life and the world due to my progressive loss. I learned a beautiful language and have been welcomed into an amazingly rich culture.
In this blog, I plan to write about life as a Deaf woman in America. I want share my experience and write about the barriers that people with a hearing loss face. The purpose of this blog is to help bring awareness the fact that there is no one “Deaf Experience.” Each person who has a hearing loss has a different experience and story to tell. Over the next few weeks, I am going to talk specifically about my deafness and my childhood. I want to share the story of how I got to where I am. How I grew up going to speech therapy and “managing” my hearing loss.
I will catch you up on my story in the next few posts; however, I am going to conclude this post by telling you a little bit about me in general. I have a severe-to-profound hearing loss in both of my ears; however, my right ear is worse than my left. I was enrolled in speech therapy and taught to speak and use my residual hearing. It was discovered a few years later that I have a progressive hearing loss. I received my first pair of hearing aids as a pre-teen. After my parents separated when I was fourteen, my father gave me permission to enroll in American Sign Language classes as my foreign language credit.
Once I discovered how much easier my life could be with the use of ASL, I learned as much as I could as quickly as I could. I began watching videos on Youtube, vlogs, interpreters, etc. I practiced as much as possible. I decided to pursue a career where I worked with other Deaf/HoH individuals. When I went away to college, I was finally provided with ASL interpreters in the classroom and I surrounded myself with other people who signed. I attended college approximately three miles from the state school for the Deaf. My ASL skills (especially receptive) flourished. Although I left the college I was attending, I never lost my passion for learning/working with ASL and Deaf/Hoh individuals. That’s why I started #ASLove on Facebook!
Okay, that’s all the writing I have time for right now. Unfortunately, an essay and presentation preparation are calling my name. Until next time!