kmicican / Pixabay (How you’re going to feel after 30 minutes of training your software)

Having a hearing disability or vision disability is tough enough on it’s own.  However, due to having residual hearing and being able to benefit from hearing aids (though not perfect) many people disbelieve the notion that I’m deaf and blind.

There’s the common misconception that all blind people see nothing and all deaf people hear absolutely nothing, just pure pitch blackness and pure silence.  However, that’s not really the case.  While it’s true some blind people see absolutely nothing and some deaf people live in complete silence, it’s not true for everyone.  Some blind can see and some deaf can hear.

I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it’s not, hear me out here for a moment.  Being legally blind means you can’t see that top most letter on an eye chart at a specific distance from it.  This doesn’t mean you can’t see at all though.  For me that E looks like it could be an F or a B or even a D, it’s hard to tell, but I know it’s an E, it’s always an E.

Likewise with being deaf, it’s not just pure silence, though it can be.  Deaf people can have some hearing, much like with the deaf person that can still somewhat see.  Without my glasses I can’t see very well and legally blind, with my glasses my vision is close to 20/20.  Likewise with my hearing, without my hearing aids, I don’t hear women and children, nor little yappy dogs, birds singing, the sound of the microwave, running water, the toilet flushing, the sound of a toilet seat slamming, doorbells, door knocks, phones ringing, bells, etc.  However I do hear deep tones, bass and the vowels of most men’s voices.

Often people will think I’m not blind because I can still navigate about without my glasses without the need of a white cane.  People also think I’m not deaf because I notice when someone is speaking when I’m not looking at them or that I react to loud noises and bangs.

Just because I can hear a loud crash or a gunshot, doesn’t mean I’m not deaf.  Just because I can still see without my glasses, doesn’t mean I’m not blind.

It’s far too typical for a lot of people to think the deaf hear nothing and the blind see nothing.  Again, it is true for some deafs and some blind, but it’s not true for all of us.

johnhain / Pixabay

One of the biggest problems in the deaf community especially is the inability to get proper mental health care.  Especially for those who are reliant solely on signing rather than through oralism means of lip reading and speaking.  Often times they don’t know what to talk about, what to describe or how to describe what they’re feeling appropriately so that they can get the care that they need.

This is where an interpreter comes in extremely handy, however, the terp can’t give the patient advise nor help in communication ethically except with what the deaf person says, translating from that sign language into spoken language and vise versa.

Granted the deaf aren’t the only ones with mental health issues, hearing and hard of hearing alike also have their fair share of issues to deal with.  Untreated hearing loss increases the risk of dementia exponentially.  My ENT and Psychiatrist both believe my dementia is likely caused by my hearing loss having been left untreated for so long in my life.  The non-stop voice that tells me how worthless I am.

It’s one of the reasons I don’t post all the time, even on medication, it’s relentless.  Medication helps, but doesn’t make it go away.  It’s difficult to write, create videos and even enjoy video games when all I’m hearing is how nobody loves me and never will, desperately urging me to my suicide.

Now that I’ve been having some form of treatment for my hearing loss, the voice has calmed down some, and with medication it helps a lot, but it’s still there.

Hearing loss is a serious problem that nobody seems to really think is that big of a deal.  “Oh well he can’t hear too well, but it’s fine.” no it’s not really fine, he’s going to have some serious mental health issues.  With a lot of people who are hard of hearing and deaf committing suicide.

Hearing Loss not only comes with increased risk of dementia but also social alienation.  When you can’t hear too well and people have to raise their voices and repeat themselves multiple times, they get exceptionally tired of trying to communicate with you and thus end up not wanting to be around you anymore.  And so they don’t show up to talk anymore either.  This leads to depression and increased risk of suicide.

Mental health treatment is important.  If you’re feeling depressed, see or hear things that aren’t there, feeling angry all the time or easily upset, please see a shrink, there’s no shame in it.  These are all serious illnesses that need to be treated.  You can’t just snap out of it just like you can’t just snap out of a heart attack or snap out of having a stroke.  It needs professional treatment.

Try to get the help you need.  If you have hearing loss, do try to get yourself treatment for the hearing loss as well to help prevent risk of future issues involving your mental health.

Believe me.  You’re worth it.

RyanMcGuire / Pixabay

I strongly dislike speaking because I worry about how I sound, though it doesn’t stop me from making videos and livestreams.  I mean I dislike speaking mainly in public.  The reason being is that there are far too many people that don’t realize I’m deaf until I tell them, and that’s usually after they get annoyed with me thinking that I’m ignoring them.  When I resort to telling them to “pardon my death stare, I’m deaf” for the lip reading aspect, I usually get various comments like the ones below.

  • You can’t be deaf, you speak too well
  • Deaf people can’t talk
  • How are you able to talk then?
  • Wow, you speak exceptionally well for a deaf person

And the list goes on and on.  The point is, I’ve been through years of speech therapy to train me how to speak properly.  It’s not something that happened overnight.  I know, crazy ain’t it?  That’s what I had to go through being a mainstreamed deaf trained in the dark arts of oralism.

I’m thankful for knowing how to speak properly.  I am able to switch to my deaf accent by simply not thinking so much on the words that I speak which is easier on me, but overall being able to speak has opened so many doors for me in my social life and has allowed me to be partnered with a wonderful person who I love dearly, have friends that crack jokes and enjoy company with.  My life is rich.

Just the main downside are people that disbelieve I’m deaf just because I can speak well.  I only reveal that I’m deaf to people so they don’t get pissed off for me “ignoring” them and to get them to not turn mid sentence or cover their mouth when they’re talking.

27707 / Pixabay

From Reddit user Ladymmj

Hello all. I started a new job and I didn’t disclose my hearing issues in the interview but I did wear my hair up with my hearing aids on full display. I got the job and am now 2 weeks in. One of my coworkers is not my favorite, he tends to talk down to others and loves to make jokes at others expense. Today he came up behind me and jingled his keys right next to my ear, right above my hearing aid which of course made a horrible noise right into my ear for me. I somewhat snapped and told him off for doing that right in my hearing aid. He apologized profusely and said he didn’t know I had a hearing aid. I’m wondering if I should let this go or say something to our boss. I’m all for fun and games but I would rather not have this happen again and I’m not entirely sure he didn’t know I have hearing aids as I wear my hair up most days.

And further in the post as a comment

One of the examples of him talking down is a woman in the office will ask him to do something which is her job and he will question or just not do anything she says. We also have an adult living with disabilities working with us and he will often repeat what she says in a mocking tone or ask if we heard her when she asks abnormal questions.

And again

One of my coworkers told me she can’t stand how he talks to her. I’ll talk to her today about documenting her experiences and I’ll start documenting mine.

Just goes to show you there are assholes, that’s needless to say I’m sure, but in these kinds of situations, it’s best to literally speak to your manager or go to HR with the report.  It’s likely the asshole coworker already definitely knew the hearing aid was there and was simply seeing if she could hear it which is even bigger of a dickhead move.

It’s unfortunate things like that happen, and they’re going to happen regardless.  Your best move when things like this example happen is to simply report it to HR and management so they can investigate and put in proper procedures to correct the coworker’s behavior.  It’s the path that if it continues, they have to do something about it or face potential lawsuits.