I lost my hearing finally when I was 10 years old. The parents knew it was coming; it was just a matter of when. They had been warned way since I was born, and so it was a little irritating when my mom would cry her eyes out whenever she screamed my name I could not hear her because I had taken off my hearing aid.
I do not know the particular day I stopped hearing everyone completely; the day when my hearing aid stopped aiding. But it came and I was prepared for it.
You see, I love to read. I was easily one of the brightest students in my primary school. I learned words fast because I knew it was only a matter of time before I’d never get to know what certain words were pronounced as. I used to read out loud to my own hearing because I never wanted to forget how my own voice sounded. Although, now that I am deaf, I realize that you never really lose your voice until you give it up. A person’s voice is part of their being; there’s no modicum of deaf that can take your voice away – unless you sell your voice or worse still, give it away.
For a while when I first became totally deaf, I would lie in bed and playback my mom’s shouting and my dad’s hearty voice in my mind. But after a while, I forgot how they sounded. It happened slowly, but it sure did happen.
After that phase, I went a little crazy. The silence was literally killing me. It was as though I was alone in the world. I stopped talking because I could not hear what I was saying and frankly it was weird. You’d think that you can trust your mind to deliver the words you so diligently stored up in it when you go deaf, but no. You would second-guess even your name when you say it. It’s a horrible phase.
But you know, one day, I was at one of those painful auditory-oratory conferences my mom would so graciously take me to. (As an aside; it’s tough to multi-task as a deaf person because you hear with your eyes, so you have to always be watching the sign-language or reading people’s lips.) Anyway, I was at this conference and it was themed, ‘Explore the Silent World With Us!’
Explore? I thought, Yeah right.
But then, after I ‘listened’ to the different speeches, I was motivated to try it out. And boy, did I make the best decision ever?
The silent world is soooo much fun.
First, you can actually read in silence here. Signs in libraries and public places that say, ‘Please silence here!’ actually make me laugh. Silence where? I never get disturbed by noise. My thoughts are clear and I can very well articulate them in writing. No distractions. You’d be surprised to know the amount of distractions that are in the way of you becoming who you want to be.
Second, you can be a ghost. It might shock you to know that people treat deaf people as though we are nonexistent. I laugh (internally)! We are so existent. I have sat in on gossips and scheming, and have had a nice time knowing who people truly are, simply because people think deaf = dumb; dumb as in stupid.
Third, you can actually listen to people and not just hear them. Well, technically, you can’t hear them. But words are overrated. Human eyes, the brows and body language are better communication tools than words. Our words go through our brains before they come out of our mouths (this is a general supposition), you get to refine and deliver them with a sprinkle of innocent dishonesty. But the words our eyes and brows and bodies say skip the brain part and just jump right at the communication recipient. The problem with speakers and hearers is that they are limited to only hearing and speaking, respectively. But those of us in the silent world can hear what has not been tainted by brain oil, and that’s why we prove to be more helpful, and are better judges of character than the other guys.
Finally! We can sing ‘Silent Night’ at Christmas carols while truly rehashing that glorious wonderful day when the Savior was born.
If you love adventure, you should find a way to join us here in the Silent World!