By Colin Kelland
Allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Colin, a 47 year old man. Living in Texas, I am blessed with my wife of 14 years and 2 children. Moderately successful, I work in IT in the oil and gas industry. In truth, I’m happy with my life.
I’m also Deaf.
There, I said it – that blunt, aww-shame inducing four letter word…DEAF.
So what does that mean to me?
For one, I don’t know anything different – this is something I was born with. So what do you do, right?
It doesn’t stop me from functioning as a human being – I converse, laugh and cry with the best of them. Of course, it might mean asking you to face me when you talk and to be prepared to repeat yourself. But is that really a big deal?
I love sports
I love a beer.
I’m willing to bet it doesn’t sound so different from any of my peers.
So, having established that I can “fit in” with the world, what about the not-so-optimal facets of being DEAF?
- Noisy rooms – that is a big one for those wearing hearing aids. I do lipread but in groups of people in a noisy setting it can be exhausting to keep up. In those circumstances, I can be a downer as it is hard to be my normal gregarious self. It is also hard to influence or direct people, which in turn can be a negative on career paths.
- I could say TV and Movie Theatres but with captions, this has long been a non-issue.
- Beards and moustaches – lipreading is difficult.
- Hearing Aids. Not the most aesthetically pleasing ‘fashion accessory’ but a small price to pay
- People who shout or over-enunciate their speech. Insulting for sure but I know the “intent” is usually good on the speaker’s part.
- Radio. Remember these? I’m still waiting on holographic, real time captions.
- Loudspeakers in public places such as airports. Yes, I sometimes think I’m gonna die. Common sense usually prevails. People are usually only too happy to repeat back to me the messages.
These are the bugbears I can think of being DEAF.
Not much in the way of enjoying a normal life, I don’t think.