“Being blind separates you from things, being deaf separates you from people”-Helen Keller
Now, I’ve never experienced the blindness part of this quote but I can honestly speak for the second part of this quote and she is spot on about this.
There are statistics out there that say that deafness can lead to depression, it can lead to separation, isolation, loneliness, amongst other things. I’ve also read articles stating that people with disabilities experience increased drug use due to the stresses from their disability. I can speak only for myself when I say that I have none of these symptoms, but I can definitely see and relate to why people with a hearing loss are experiencing this.
One of the reasons that people may feel isolated is that they may be the only person they know that is deaf, and that can be pretty hard. Luckily I have some friends that are deaf, but I don’t see them on a regular basis. For somebody that feels the need to have friends like themselves, this can be a difficult to undergo. I have always been thankful for the people, teachers, professors, and friends around me.
Another reason that somebody can feel depressed is that the people around them just don’t know how to respond to them. I myself, have had several people in my life baby me and treat me like I’m a special ed. case. That can be very embarrassing. If I wasn’t as “joking about the deafness” as I am, I’m sure I would receive this weird treatment much more than I do now.
Something that separates you from people is just the sheer fact of not hearing somebody’s voice. This is something that everybody takes for granted. Think about it, I’m sure most of the readers of this blog now awake to a screeching alarm clock, but what woke you up in elementary school? Your mother’s voice. That was impossible for me. I can’t hear anything because I don’t sleep with the hearing aids in, so I have to wait until I put them in and get used to the sound before I can comprehend everything.
I have people get mad at me all the time for not hearing them, they think I’m not listening. Sometimes I’m not, lately most times I really can’t hear them. It’s easier to just let them get mad.
When I’m talking one-on-one to somebody, I do great in conversation. I can read their lips and comprehend the entire conversation. But when a second or third person is added to the mix, this easy conversation with simple reading of lips instantly becomes as hard as solving a Rubik’s Cube while blind folded. That is when I start being quiet in the conversation and I “listen”, when I’m really just thinking to myself, “how the heck can I get away without seeming rude?” The best way to act engaged in these types of conversations is laugh when everybody else does. I know, it’s wrong, but I can’t follow the lip reading fiasco. Back and forth. Back and forth.
Many of you may have already known this, but I have never let my deafness kept me from having a social life. There is no reason why any other disability should keep anybody else from having one too.
Have a good week people.