One thing bugs me, and it’s been bugging me for a long time, and that is hearing people who thinks they fully understand what is deafness, how it affects us. They may know all the facts and figures but they can never truly understand what it means to be deaf. I have met BSL students, interpreters, and communications support workers who’ve seems to think it is appropriate to tell me that they know what it is like to be deaf after a blocked/infected ear or any other reason that temporary affects their hearing. Yes! It can give you an insight as how difficult or tiring it is to follow conversations or listen on the phone.
But they will not understand the emotional impact it can have on us such as the impact of growing up deaf, the being the different one in school, the bullying, the exclusion from hearing peers (including hearing family), growing up with deaf peers, being fully integrated in the Deaf community/culture, or being deaf and not including in the hearing culture, the different upbringing, or modes of communication such as BSL, oral, lip reading etc… This list can go on and on! All these factors add into our own individual formation of our deaf identities, whether it’s negative or positive! We all have our own personal unique journey to our deafhood!
Am I the only deaf person who roll their eyes and zone out when someone tells me they understand what being deaf is like? Do I have a chip on the shoulder about this because I’ve had negative experiences with being deaf in the past…..
But they bottom line is, a hearing person can never truly understand what being deaf is!