For most, it is a frustrating experience but not for the reasons that you may believe. Most of the complaints that I get from my students are because the assignment cannot be done “totally deaf”. The earplugs simulating hearing loss, simply do not take away ALL the sound. They truly want to try to get a grasp of what it would be like to be “deaf for a day”.
I do everything I can to make it possible (smile), but in the end most experience the day “hard-of-hearing”.
I suppose that most who are late-deafened, have at one time WISHED deafness on someone for a day. Perhaps it was even someone to whom they were close… someone being particularly thick-headed about communicating in a way that made life a little easier. In anger, I’ll admit that I have at times wished “deafness” on someone if only to help them understand what my life was like… to experience the frustrations I live.
In truth, I will admit that I do not wish deafness on anyone. I do not wish it on anyone who was born hearing. I have Deaf friends who were born Deaf and are accepted into the Deaf culture and community. They fully utilize ASL as well as fully experience life. When you are born with normal hearing, however, deafness is not something one becomes accustomed too quickly… nor easily.
Many think that becoming deaf means that voices are no longer heard. Certainly communication is one of the more frustrating things a late-deafened person experiences. And yet, so much in our world makes sound! Learning to live in an environment where everything is silent can be painful.
I think that is why I chose the cochlear implant. It helps to keep me connected to the hearing world in which I was born. Almost everyone I know communicates through spoken word. Many of the things I enjoy the most make sound. I have reached the point in my “hearing loss journey”, that I readily accept changes in my hearing, choose to wear “bling” on my implant, and confidently put my faith in my hearing dog, Chloe! Hugs from this Vizsla darling are certainly a perk I enjoy!
I always look forward to the responses from my students about being “Deaf for a Day”. It is interesting to note, that many of the family members tend to be extremely frustrated and “ill” about the assignment. I had a mother once tell me that she “hoped I never repeated the assignment”, for it was “very frustrating trying to make conversation and make sure instructions were understood” to their hearing child gone “deaf”. After that conversation, I cried. You see, the whole point of the assignment was lost on this parent. At the end of the day… when the lights went out – the earplugs came out as well. In the morning their child woke up to their regular alarm clock, or “get out of bed NOW” reminder! (smile) What I want my students to learn… the lesson I hope they come away with… is how their world and relationships would change should they lose their own hearing. Certainly, the greater number of them will adapt, find help, and discover how very supportive their families are.
But hands off Chloe… grin! She’s mine!
©2008 Hearing Loss Diary