truthseeker08 / Pixabay

We are deaf and disabled and needing charity.

When it comes us deafies, we often don’t like to be considered disabled or in need of charity, but the truth of the matter is, we are disabled and we often do rely on the charity of others, and charitable organizations.  It’s not so much that we need a hand out, but a leg up in society as often times we find it exceptionally difficult to find work, or if we do find work we find it difficult to get promoted and get raises and the like.

Deaf and Seeking Employment

I’ve had a recent experience with trying to find employment, having asked first hand with the management if they are willing to employ those with a hearing disability.  The management typically respond with the usual “Oh yes we hire people with disabilities”.  Then it comes down to brass tax of actually hiring someone with a hearing disability and suddenly places that are hurting for employees somehow magically no longer have any positions that need filled.  Amazing.

It’s times like that, when I’m actively seeking employment once again in my life because having a little extra money each month could and would definitely help me out, not just out of a sense of self fulfillment but also the financial gain of being employed.  Hell I’d be willing to lose my disability benefits if I could find a job that would employ me steadily full time and give me raises for good performance, and possibly promotions too, that would be nice too.

But alas, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Arbys, Checkers, Burger King, and numerous other places that I could mention within the last couple of months, have suddenly no longer needed any new employees the moment I showed up for an interview at a place that “hires the disabled”.  Even more fishy when after my interview a friend of mine tried getting on at McDonalds a couple days later (literally), got interviewed and ended up starting next week on Monday.  Amazing, they didn’t need help when I was interviewed but then needed help a couple days afterwards afterall.  I smell a lot of fish in this case.

mcdonalds fries
Pexels / Pixabay

The Discrimination Conundrum

Seriously, what gives man?  Is my hearing disability so drastic, even though I can clearly lip read well enough to hold a one on one conversation during an interview that I simply cannot be employed?  I really do want and need that extra little bit to help me out, both mentally for my own well being and financially to have that little extra spending cash.  I’m not some teenager only getting a job because his/her parents are forcing them to and they begrudgingly go to work or face the wrath of their parents.  Quite the opposite, I’m a full grown adult eager to be employed.  I really do want to work, honestly I do.

It’s issues with finding work like that which cause me to think maybe I should give up seeking employment yet again.  Yup, this isn’t my first round in seeking employment.  It’s excessively difficult to get a job.  I’m up front and honest about my hearing disability, informing them that I’m deaf, reason being is I don’t want it to become a surprise after I’m hired on, but that seems to be the only way to get a job is to hide my disability, which I shouldn’t have to.

I’m not requesting an ASL interpreter to be with me at all times, just simple jobs I can take care of without having the need to hear people holler things out.  I can alter the way I work in order to be able to fulfill my job tasks without the need for extra communication and without assistance from others.  It just means I take even more steps to make sure everything is to order and not out of stock (like grilling burgers at a fast food joint) or paying extra attention to screens and the like for orders.

Deaf and Charity

So without being able to get employment, what am I to do?  I have to rely on my disability payments coming in and I have to rely on the charity of others.  I don’t like having to run off every Monday to a local food bank to get help with food.  But I do it so I can make my money stretch as much as I can.  I don’t like the fact that where I can I get free clothes from various local charities.

I would much rather spend a little extra on food products, I’d rather be able to afford fresh produce each week and I would definitely love to be able to afford to go vegetarian, but processed meats in various foods is cheaper than fresh food and the food bank gives several packages of meats and sweets and breads every week.  Beggers can’t be choosers.

deaf question
qimono / Pixabay

So the multi-billion dollar question is.  What do I do?  I could potentially do this thing where I run around selling misc crap to people out by selling them from their sympathy as is a common scam as mentioned by ATR on his blog about fake charity.  However I don’t mix well in public, and being a mainstreamed deaf, my ASL isn’t up to snuff.  I know it, but I’m not fluent in it and wouldn’t want to run the risk of being called a scammer when I’m not.  We have enough to deal with.

Do I throw out a paypal address and hope for the best, hoping that someone will have sympathy enough to donate the extra money to me?  Well that would end up making me feel worthless, which I already feel using food banks and doesn’t give me self fulfillment.  Though that is tempting, I highly doubt anyone would really open up their wallets to a rando on the internet.  I’m not big name personality and definitely don’t have the social pull to really get that kind of personal charity.

The Deaf Conclusion

So what I’m likely to do is to continue on with the status quo.  Continue going to food banks and local charities and keep receiving my social security payments.

What I want is a fucking job, but that seems out of the question, and my ethics in regards to hiding my disability feels too much like lying in order to get employed which is also something I don’t want to compromise on.

Thus, I will continue to be nothing more than a leech upon society.  I hate this about myself.

johnhain / Pixabay
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.

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.

geralt / Pixabay

This comes up on account that I was asked how I manage to edit videos without the use of sound.  I’ve stated before that with audio I have assistance of online friends that check it out for me and give me advice on what needs to be done with the audio, including helping me pick background music and the like, but when it comes to video itself, how do I manage to edit it?

Just like everyone else really, the difference is that while someone that can hear normally is able to have audible cues to tell you when and where to cut and what to splice together, I utilize visual aids in order to know the same things.

In my raw footage, even if I’m doing a first person POV recording, I will have a hand sign in front of the camera so I know what to chop, where each scene begins and ends, which take of a particular scene I’m viewing, etc.

This isn’t that different from that clacker board thing you see in professional video/movie production, just instead of a board with numbers and whatnot on it, I use basic handsigns that I understand to tell me what is what.  These hand signs are not ASL, nor are they BSL, they’re a custom home signing that I personally use and haven’t taught anyone.  This would be confusing for someone else editing the vdeos for me and if I were to hire a professional editor I would simply just end up changing from my unique home signs to something more mainstreamed such as an audio cue at the very least.

Hope that helps in understanding how I go about it.  My software of choice for editing videos is Kdenlive, however if I have to add special effects, my go to is Lightworks.  My editor changes largely depending on the needs of editing.

Pexels / Pixabay

Of course this comes from the perspective of a deaf guy, and you might ask “But if you’re deaf, then how the hell would you know if music today sucks or not?” well it sure as hell sucks bad enough that even I can tell it sucks, so sit down and take a minute.

Truth be told I can hear to a degree, as with a lot of deafs, I have residual hearing.  I can enjoy low tones and pitches and can hear a good amount of the vowels from most men.  And yes I had to say most men as some men seem quite content with themselves sounding like Vitas when he’s screaming, thus making it so I can’t really catch what they say all too much if at all.

(This 24 minute Vitas meme has more rich sounds than the average song in the music industry)

You’ll notice though that with most music today, even the lyrics are just as repetitive as the beat itself.  So when I’m mostly looking for something that feels good with conduction headphones, and tickling what bit I can hear out of fancy because I do enjoy hearing what I can, music today is no different than a 24 minute loop of Vitas doing the same thing over and over again.

Modern music has a 3 to 5 second beat that doesn’t change through the entire song and the vocals, and yes I can tell without lyrics on screen that the vocals are horse shit too, it’s all the same.  Is your CD on repeat?  You can’t tell!

Music from the 1950’s – 1990’s were some of the best music.  Though I will admit from what I can tell musical talent peaked around 1955-1960 and gradually went downhill from there getting progressively worse and overall samey as time went on.  Even the millennial whoop is annoying as hell to me.  “Ohohoohohohohhohoooh” like god damn you having an orgasm in the microphone keep that on pornhub and xtube I mean DAMN!

You can have rich music with a variety of sounds from numerous instruments, even digital.  Even Skrillex who thinks Mac is a musical instrument comprehends this to a degree.  It’s one thing to have a consistent beat, it’s another to have a non-stop looping of a 3 second clip playing over and over.  And another thing entirely to have that 3 second loop with repetitive lyrics.

Seriously how many times does one need to say Gucci Gang in one freaking song?

(The award for the weakest vocabulary goes to ….)

Seriously, there is absolutely zero passion in that song what so ever from this artist.  If you can even consider this an artist, I sure as hell really don’t.  And it’s not just him.

“Cmon cmon” and even the whoop is in this, yes I can tell, that’s how bad it is.  “Ohhhoohhhohhhhhhhhh, my body’s saying let’s go.  Ohhhohhhohhhhh, but my heart is sayin’ no” and I’m also saying no to this song, begone thot!

Now I do understand having a chorus that repeats itself, my problem comes when the chorus appears the be the whole song or the vast majority of it.  Then there’s Christina’s “Genie in a bottle” music itself, it too is nothing more than a loop with no differentiation.  It’s not got any good depth to it and is samey all throughout the piece.  And this is a “hit” somehow.

The music industry has lost it’s flair.  It’s lost it so bad that even I can tell.  When the deaf is telling you that your music blows goats, it’s probably time to have some introspection and improve.  It’s not piracy killing the music industry, the music industry is killing the music industry.  Your music sucks.

quimuns / Pixabay

It’s amazing how often I actually get that specific statement “Deaf people can’t speak!” or “You can’t be deaf, you talk!”  This is sorely a myth.  Only 20% of the deaf population rely solely on signing, never saying a verbal word in their life.  The remaining 80% of the deaf population do, in fact, speak.  My preference in communication is verbally with my voice.

You can clearly hear me speaking in even my video on reviewing the Britzo hearing aid system in which I’m speaking using a crappy microphone.  I’m deaf and have been deaf since very early in my childhood.  Granted initially school administrators thought I was literally just retarded and put me in special ed initially in kindergarten only for the special ed teacher to inform them “This kid isn’t retarded, he just can’t hear.”  Thus the speech therapy classes were started that would last for 7 years from that point.

I can speak well and articulate my words with proper enunciation and often focus on what I’m saying so I don’t “sound deaf”.  I have a problem in which I am personally always worried about how I sound.  Generally this results in me not speaking in a lot of cases unless I absolutely have to.

thisismyurl / Pixabay

And yes, I am able to sign, it’s not my language of preference though.  I was mainstreamed, and most of my friends including even my husband are all hearing or hard of hearing.  I don’t bother teaching them how to sign unless they ask me how to sign something specifically, with the exception of this one roommate who wants to learn to sign for reasons of having a second language and being unable to find a class nearby.

Generally, though, I find things more accessible to me to speak using my voice.  There are rare instances in which I’ll go mute, but to save on confusion I don’t sign in those cases.  What I do instead like when I go into a gas station by myself, I’ll type on my phone in a note that reads, “I am deaf, I need $20 in gas on pump 3.” and communication problems averted.

Every so often, I run into someone working that knows basic signing.  Enough to tell me my total and say thank you usually.  In some very rare cases, I run into someone I can call fluent in signing and they bust it out.  Some hearies think it’s offensive to just suddenly start signing when they learn someone is deaf, but trust me, it’s really not.  It’s no different really from having a hispanic customer with limited and broken English and you suddenly just speaking Spanish to help the customer out.

Clker-Free-Vector-Images / Pixabay

Well, I say there’s no difference, but the difference in reality is I do know English.  So why do I go mute from time to time?  Even with hearing aids, communicating verbally with someone is very stressful, and it’s exhausting over extended periods of time.  So it’s literally easier on me mentally to not have to pay that much extreme attention to detail just to communicate with someone when I can get by with less stress just passing my phone back and forth if I absolutely have to communicate in those cases.

It doesn’t mean I can’t speak.  The problem, though, with using my voice isn’t just me worrying about how I sound.  It’s also that ugly myth that keeps rearing it’s ugly head “Deaf people can’t speak”.  People learn I’m deaf and assume that I can’t be deaf because I can verbally articulate what I want to say.  I know this myth comes from two different sources.  Popular entertainment media and Deaf Culture.  In Deaf Culture it’s taboo for a deafie to use hearing aids or to have cochlear implants and it’s just as taboo to use your voice even if you know how to with or without a deaf accent.  You’ll be “Not deaf enough” for that crowd.  So that group itself perpetuates the myth.  “If you speak, you can’t be deaf” because those involved in Deaf Culture insist that deaf people don’t speak and must rely solely on signing.

TheDigitalArtist / Pixabay

Just don’t believe the myth is what I’m getting at.  Just because someone can articulate and enunciate well, doesn’t mean they aren’t deaf, they very well could be.  They could’ve had low hearing and gotten worse with age, or they were deafened later in life for some reason (and there are multitudes of ways you can go deaf, by disease and by accidents and on purpose).

At The Rim (ATR) responded even to my blog post on listening to music as a deaf person titled “Falling on Deaf Ears” and you can read that on his blog.  He was deafened later in life, he can speak and sign (BSL) and has much the same issues I have with Deaf Culture across the pond in the UK.  In his response to my “Falling on Deaf Ears” article, he states, in brief here, that he was deafened later in life, knows what sound and music is and all its intricacies (so do I as a vague memory in my youth) and now avoids things like sound systems and equipment because it’s stressful and depressing.  We’re not all alike and this is worth mentioning.

OpenClipart-Vectors / Pixabay

My point is, I’m not the only deaf that can speak.  There’s actually a lot of us that can and do.  Even the deaf YouTuber Rikki Poynter speaks with her voice when she’s not trying to cozy up to Deaf Culture that hates her guts for the crime of using her voice.

Rikki Poynter has a deaf accent when she speaks.  I do not.  She can’t hide in plain sight, I sure as hell can and have for a good long time.

But at least, now you know.  Coincidentally, I can also sing.

stevepb / Pixabay

It’s a common question and I can understand why it’s asked. Many people who can hear perfectly fine or are just hard of hearing even will ask a deaf person like myself “Do you enjoy music?” or “Are you able to enjoy music?” and the answer to that question is actually yes, I can enjoy music and I often do enjoy music.  I just enjoy it differently than you would.

While you would enjoy listening to the various tones of the sounds that your brain interprets I do similar involving the vibrations of the music.  Things like conduction headphones work wonders in this regard as it allows me to be able to feel the music far better than I could without them and without the need for a big speaker that would disturb others who can hear in my household.

Free-Photos / Pixabay

Sure I can’t really catch all if any of the vocals in the music but I can enjoy the instruments playing and the varying ways they make different vibrations for me to enjoy.  If you go to a concert with a loud stereo system to compensate for a very huge crowd, do not be surprised to learn that deafies are way up front towards the speakers jamming out.  This allows us to feel the music since we can’t really listen to it to enjoy the sounds.

This, however, allows me to enjoy the music and be able to dance with the beat.  Granted there are deafs with cochlear implants that can bluetooth into a music system and hear the music in their head and can better enjoy the music in a similar way that a hearing person would.  But just because they have a CI doesn’t mean they’re suddenly hearing or hard of hearing, they’re still actually deaf.  Without their processor they hear nothing.

So if you have a deaf friend, don’t be afraid to ask if they would like to jam out to some tunes.  We might even suggest an artist alongside saying “Hell yeah”. 🙂

geralt / Pixabay

It’s sadly quite common among the culturally Deaf to conflate their wants with the needs of all deaf and Hard of Hearing people alike.  Clearly that’s not the case because like with the HoH, they don’t need classes in ASL or BSL, it’s not going to really help them.  Hearing aids do however.  And then there are those who are deaf, but mainstreamed rather than being involved in Deaf Culture.  Most mainstreamed deafs don’t rely on signing, have hearies for family, friends and romantic partners who also don’t know how to sign.  Many of these deafs rely on speaking and lip reading or cochlear implants.

However, those who are culturally Deaf tend to lobby for funding from programs and proposed programs that would help the mainstreamed deaf population (the majority of the deaf population) and the HoH by siphoning those funds to deaf clubs, deaf meetups and signing courses.  They also siphon those funds to sign language interpreters (terps).  I’m not against job creation in services like that, however very little of that money goes towards stenographer services for deafs like myself.

I seriously prefer to just have a stenographer listen in on the call and type out what’s being said when I schedule doctor appointments or call government offices like Social Security rather than someone on a video call signing it to me in a broken, ass backwards inferior language.  It’s my own personal opinion as a deaf person that ASL is inferior to English and Signed English.  What do you expect from a language made literally by a group of uneducated children?

How is ASL inferior to my signed English?  If I ask for a cup of coffee, I can ask for sugar and milk, but when I ask for “milk” I actually get “coffee creamer” rather than actual milk because it’s interpreted to be creamer.  Well sorry you screwed up my order of coffee due to such an inferior language not being able to distinguish between milk and coffee creamer, but when using Signed English, when I say “Milk” I mean actual, literally milk from the cows tit kind of milk.  My use of Signed English has a sign for coffee creamer and a sign for milk.  I can even sign if I want butter milk, skim milk, low fat milk, 2% milk, whole milk, etc.  I also have specific signs for powdered creamer, liquid creamer, and various creamer flavors.

So for someone that’s a mainstreamed deaf that speaks English and lipreads/uses cochlear implants, how is a vastly limited, highly interpretive language like ASL or BSL going to actually help someone like me?  It won’t, it’ll only frustrate me.  Now how will it help someone who’s hard of hearing that uses hearing aids?  Answer?  It won’t, because again, they’re used to milk being milk, creamer being creamer and numerous other things that have to be interpreted in order to get the picture.  Basically literally saying one thing meaning something else.

The mainstreamed deaf and the HoH both do not need sign language interpreters, nor do we need these deaf meetups, deaf groups, deaf clubs, etc.  What we need are language literacy classes (for English, the mainstreamed language of our country ((USA and UK))), stenographers, proper closed captioning, hearing aids, cochlear implants, audiologist visits and education on the care of our hearing and listening devices (and batteries for said devices).

The culturally Deaf insist that mainstreamed deafs and HoH need ASL interpreters and these various clubs, meetups and spaces and ASL classes to “Improve our lives” as “It’s what we need”.  It’s not what we need, it’s just specifically what they particularly want.  It’s a want, not a need.

I know roughly 1000 words with ASL, I wouldn’t say I’m fluent in it in the slightest and my home signing those who rely solely on signing, an ASL user will understand about 30% of what I say.  My deafness runs in the family, and as a result, we have a home sign that’s passed in the family which, from what I can tell is based on ASL and BSL both.  However, there are lots of words I can use and often do, that ASL and BSL users cannot translate because my home signing was created by educated adults in mainstream society.  Hence I have words for coffee creamer and milk separately.  I can also sign words “is, an, and, the, etc” while they cannot.

Do I rely on my home signing in my daily life?  Not at all.  In fact it’s exceptionally rare for my husband, roommates and various friends to see me ever sign anything, ever.  Exception being my husband when I make a video where I’m signing, but that’s about it.  When I speak to my Great Uncle, my two brothers, my sister, my mother, my father, my step father (my mom’s previous husband, not her current alcoholic abusive child molesting asshole she’s currently with).  Otherwise, nobody really sees me sign much at all, it’s exceptionally rare.

I will more often than not speak when I need to communicate even though I always worry about how I sound due to bullying growing up in a mainstreamed school (kinda why I fully support homeschooling and school choice so god damn much).

But, did I get raised using home signing?  No, the adults used home signing but they spoke with the children, even the deaf ones like myself and my system and the HoH ones like my brothers.  I didn’t start learning home signing until I was 11 and by then I’ve already had a good 5 years of speech therapy under my belt, literate in English and spoken English and was lip reading (with some challenges) and wore hearing aids (which helped a ton back then).

Why was I taught the home signing?  Because it’s easier for me to communicate with the adults and vice versa, but I was encouraged to speak orally all the same.

My upbringing in oralism has taught me a lot.  I can speak well and enunciate properly, enough so nobody really even realizes I’m deaf much of the time.  I can read and write exceptionally well, better than average at the very least.  Plus I’m able to mingle in mainstream society and take part in numerous cultures surrounding me and just walk up to a random person and be able to communicate well enough with them, even if I can’t hear them at all, to be able to do things I need, including even as far as getting directions.

Granted I do have memory issues but that’s another story in and of itself caused by untreated hearing loss, which is more common than people want to admit.  Memory issues and depression and feeling isolated aside, my life is vastly better than someone who relies solely on signing and my needs are thusly vastly different than those who are culturally Deaf.

I don’t require a terp for phone calls or even in person visits to my doctor.  Just enunciate or if I can’t catch something, I’ll ask you to write it down or type it on your phone and show me your screen.  For my phone calls, I just use InnoCaption on my Android device so a stenographer listens in and types things said to me.  Those who I would otherwise talk to like family and friends, I just send and receive texts and IM’s instead.  That last part is also why it’s super important for social media giants like Facebook to not ban people all willy nilly for having the wrong opinions and why I dislike posting much on my Facebook at all.  I don’t want my ability to contact loved ones to be snatched out from underneath me because someone got butthurt about something.

Suspend my mom and oops, now suddenly it’s that much more difficult to casually speak to my mother.  Suspend my husband or roommates, BOOM now suddenly it’s a thousand times more challenging to communicate with them.  #FuckCensorship

geralt / Pixabay

I’m sorry to say it to the cultural deafs, as much as everyone around me knowing sign language would make it far easier on me to communicate with people in my daily life, being involved myself in cultures that are mainstreamed in the larger hearing communities, I can’t simply expect everyone around me for 50 sq miles to learn to sign.  It’s not practical, feasible nor is it reasonable.

Learning to sign is literally learning a whole new language.  Besides, most people that are going to learn a second language in America are going to learn a language that they will far more likely to run into far more regularly than a signing deaf person.  Here in America that second language would be Spanish.

I know the argument, and I’ve chimed it myself a few times.  “Not everyone will visit a foreign country, but anyone could go deaf” yeah yeah I know.  Yes, it’s true, anyone could literally go deaf for a multitude of reasons, including even a firework accident with a firecracker exploding too close to the ears (not kidding, that’s happened).

However, most people from hearing cultures would result in working towards correcting their hearing.  They would fight tooth and nail to restore their hearing in some size, shape or form, even if that’s a cheap option like getting hearing amplifiers from Britzgo to aid in it.

Even a small minority of the deaf population actually sign with estimates towards 80% of the deaf population not even knowing how to sign in the first place.  Rather these majority deafs rely on what residual hearing they have and listening devices (including cochlear implants) and lip reading.

Like myself, I rely on hearing amplifiers and lip reading for the majority of my conversations, regardless of my ability to sign.  Know how rare it is for me to actually sign?  Maybe once or twice per year at best.  That’s how rare it is for me to use as a deaf person.

“But what about phone calls?  Don’t you use a video call to a relay operator?”

I did at one point in time, and by one point in time I mean for like 4 different calls.  The relay operator kept getting hung up on and it didn’t matter if I was ordering a pizza for delivery, calling a government office like Social Security or even checking store hours for a local store, they think I’m a telemarketer.  So instead what do I do?  I rely on an app called InnoCaption for the deaf and hard of hearing on my Android phone, gives me a special number they call and everything.  Someone listens in that’s a professional stenography and I simply speak in return after reading what the other party says.  So no signing required.

“But what about deafs who can’t talk?”

You mean deafs that choose not to talk?

“They can’t talk because they were born deaf!”

Many audiologists consider “profoundly hard of hearing” and “mild deaf” to be the same thing, others don’t so that’s debatable whether I was born deaf or hard of hearing depending largely on the audiologist.  I speak and I speak exceptionally well.

I also know several people who were born profoundly deaf, never heard a single sound in their entire life, and they can vocalize and speak.

I suppose the real difference is whether or not we were abused as children.  Those of us who were mainstreamed or homeschooled and went through speech therapy and taught English with some supplemental signing to assist us in language development in our early years grew up into adults who were able to speak.  Then there are those of us who were abused as a child by parents who sent us to deaf schools where they valued not speaking at all and thusly never ended up developing crucial spoken language skills and additionally stunting their educational attainment.

The only people I know of who are profoundly deaf and can’t speak all have “deaf school” upbringing while those who were born profoundly deaf that were homeschooled or mainstreamed in public education with speech therapy and supplemental signing for language development ended up being able to speak.

Want to know what would really benefit?  Not draining funding from other programs into little clubs for you and other Cultural Deafies to just have a place to gather once or twice a week for social get togethers and allow that funding to be used for things that are actually beneficial.  You know, for things like hearing aids, cochlear implants, audiologist visits for those who need help getting it due to insurance issues, as well as literacy classes, speech therapy, things like that.  THAT would actually be helpful.

These little gathering social meetup club things you guys try to drain as much resources into as you can isn’t helping anyone but stroking your own egos and you’re damaging the deaf community at large because of your selfishness and your isolationism.

It would also help greatly if you stop spreading lies and misinformation about us to people and actively perpetuating them.  I’m actually sick and tired of having to explain to people that the majority of deaf people actually do speak and that the “deaf people can’t speak” bit is a myth.  I’m also excessively tired of having to explain to people that “not all deaf people sign, most of us don’t” and yes I’m also excruciatingly tired of having to tell someone that “no this or that or the other thing isn’t offensive” because they were informed by another deaf person through a terp that it’s offensive to us.

I hate that people walk on eggshells when they learn I’m deaf because they’re afraid of all these little misc crap listicles that you guys have made about how hearing people need to do this, hearing people need to do that, hearing people need to remember this and that and hearing people need to provide us with blah.  And that’s provided they’ve seen those videos which, let’s face it, some have and it’s scared them enough that they actually want little to nothing to do with us.

I’ve had one person who’s seen one of these videos tell me that it’s offensive to write things down for a deaf person and my first thought was “Where the hell did you get that from?” and he said it came from a YouTube video shared on Facebook about communicating with the deaf.  I told him “No, it’s not offensive, it’s a really good idea and very thoughtful.” and I had to end up telling him about how deaf culture is a cancerous tumor that needs excised.

Seriously I spend more time explaining where these bullshit things come from and why they’re bullshit than actually having conversations that I want to be having sometimes.  I inform someone “Hey, I’m deaf” because I want and need them to pay attention and to understand I have huge difficulties hearing them, usually because otherwise I get people creeped out by my creepy death stare, among other things like getting them to keep facing me when they speak.

But hey, if you think sign language will fix everything, fill both your hands with grocery bags and while you’re carrying them, tell me about your day.