AESTHETICALLY PLEASING ONLY!!
I was just 14yrs old when first Deaf, Following a Non accidental Injury to the side of my Head/Ear by Mothers Husband (NOT my darling Dad)
It was hard. I was a kid, or at least it's how I felt. I struggled so hard in my last year of school at a time when youngsters are coming to terms with so much. Tutors wouldn't help, saying "Oh You'll be leaving soon anyway.
I was forbidden to say a word about it to anyone by Mother (so called) (you will NOT discuss my business outside! Like it was HER hearing or something but she didn't want relatives to know. Sad cow really as they already knew he was violent and beat the crap out of her too!.)
Around 6 months later whilst outside a Polling station in Southall (Middlesex UK) I met a girl my age (Maria 14 and a half). She was Deaf by the time she was 3yrs old and so was able to form some words. I of course, already had my voice and understanding of English Syntax & so begun our Friendship.
Her first sign language was ASL (That's another story that perhaps I can call simply that, Maria's story) Over the next couple of years I learned to finally have someone to communicate with as she taught me some ASL and I taught her an expansion of what vocalisation she did have. She taught me my lip reading skills and little things that make hearing people feel less self conscious about us looking at their mouths by introducing a little trick of looking at the tips of their nose instead. This had the benefit of hearing people thinking we're just looking at them when in fact we're only interested in their lips and of course some facial expression.
The passage of time saw some hearing return in my Right ear though still profoundly deaf in the left and put together it meant a life of getting by using what little sound I had in my right ear, Lip reading, and facial expression. My Kids grew up with me asking them to 'Please move their hands away from their mouths so Mummy can SEE what they're saying" & so have my Grandchildren. My dear Friend and I, still friends 49 yrs down the line have muddled our way through life communicating & Now have a variety of skills with which to do that and will have a go at the lot lol; ASL, BSL, SSE, PSE, even a little Makaton thrown in for good measure courtesy of a mutual friend.
We have survived! We did it! In this world that once seemed so hard and unforgiving we somehow found a way. What grieves me is that sadly, a LOT of hearing people, just don't get it and I really feel the need to shout about it sometimes hence my story.
There are a few small (and sometimes funny) guidelines that Hearing people really do need to take on board & TRY to think outside the box so for those of you this may apply to & those of you who think this doesn't apply too (but we know it does) here are some helpful hints and tips:
1. No Thank you I do not need my menu in Braille! Last time I looked my eyes did work. Poorly, yes but do work.
2. Oh Thanks, It's great to hear I Don't LOOK Deaf ???? Er??? anyone know how someone LOOKS Deaf?
3. The fact that I have a voice and speak does NOT mean my ears work! Last time I looked my Throat and my ears had NO relationship going on at all!
4. Thanks for telling me I speak well for someone whose Deaf. The problem being THAT implies that my friend Maria Deaf since the age of 3 does NOT speak well and actually I am NOT OK with that!
5. IF you choose to speak behind me don't assume I'm a RUDE......... (fill in the blank) TRY instead to use your brain, think outside the bubble and wonder IF I maybe didn't hear you?.
6: If you see my friend Maria and I signing, enquire of us and we explain we're using ASL. Please do NOT assume you have the right of passage to say that "In Britain we should be sticking to BSL"! You do NOT know us or our scenario OR what we have both survived and come through. WE call it our 'DEAF FREEDOM'! The freedom to choose how we communicate because communication is the key! THAT is what matters and not how we do that.
7. Oh so you think people should take steps to stamp out and eradicate Deafness? (I mean REALLY???) Well yeap knock yourself out. I mean you need to eradicate, Genetically linked deafness, You would need to eradicate German Measles (Rubella) and other extrinsic factors too. Will you stop every child listening to amplified music? Of course not, could you stop Deafness due to impact from Violence, Traffic accidents etc, Of course not! The list is exhaustive. A much simpler and less tiring way of managing DEAF is to simply listen (Because fortunately for you, you can) and understand (because we ALL can) That we are not stupid or poorly educated, we are DEAF. We DO have Ears, they just don't work. We are the same as every single hearing person out there and we can do everything they can do EXCEPT HEAR.
We can communicate across a large hall/room full of people without shouting, We can even speak with our mouths full lol. We can communicate easily underwater when swimming AND we MIGHT be Lip reading YOU as our EYES hear your every word. that person in the local cafe who seems to be looking at you a few times. I even recently watched two men speaking about the affair one of them was having! (Poor Wife) So remember we are DEAF NOT DUMB! And who knows? maybe out there in this world somewhere is a nice gentleman, with some kind of hearing loss issues for me lol.
Our ears are Aesthetically pleasing only!!