This is the first post of this kind. For one Wednesday or Friday, every month, I will post two “Getting Personal” blog posts where I give you all a taste of my personal life. This is to help you all see that, perhaps, you are not alone and that our experiences are not so dissimilar.
A lot of people have it in their heads that having a Cochlear Implant (CI) is a rejection of being deaf. While I won’t deny that some newly deaf people wholeheartedly reject the circumstance of being deaf, I don’t. I embrace being deaf but I also embrace hearing as well. I was so happy to be able to hear again when my CI began working like it was supposed to.
But with that comes a readjustment. I had been deaf for 13 years before I had the procedure done at 32 years old and I don’t regret a bit of it. It took a while to reacclimate to hearing again, but it was, and still is, an amazing journey! But when the processor is on, sometimes I just turn it off and take it off my head. No more music. No more speech. No more sound, period. At least for a while.
One of the things I love about being deaf is that I can fully retreat within myself and concentrate on what I want or need to do. I can focus better on tasks and do them with greater efficiency. I can write better without any aural distractions and I can think faster.
Sometimes I don’t want to hear because sound can be frustrating, especially background noise. The thrum and hum of the refrigerator, AC, the water faucet dripping or pouring, and the yelling of kids just outside the house is manic to me and the source of so many fits of frustration. Having the Sound Processor off for a few hours does wonders for my peace of mind.
I won’t even speak when I’m out and about without my Sound Processor. I will sign and intimate that I can’t speak. It is too much work to keep explaining to people that while, yes, I can speak, I’m deaf and can’t hear a word you’re saying.
I’ve found a balance in both not hearing and hearing. Not hearing is my natural state and it took me a while to accept that. Once I did, I immersed myself in the deaf community and fully enjoyed conversing with my fellow deafies. When I can hear, courtesy of my Sound Processor, I often still sign. It’s a part of me that I can’t and won’t give up.
I’ve found the benefits and blessings of being able to turn my hearing off. Some won’t understand this, whether they be hearing or deaf, but it is my truth and my life. I’m living in two worlds and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“In life, risk is part of the equation… “