Saturday, December 28, 2013


A recent inquiry on an online chat site for cochlear implant recipients asked if anyone ever wished they could hear like a normal person. Usually in these forums, the Hard-of-Hearing (HOH) and Deaf culture purists resoundingly blast away at how we should be feeling proud of our deafness and stop whining and wishing to be "normal" because being deaf IS normal. The purists were there, of course, but the tone of this commentary was vastly different from what I've read in the past.

Instead of the vocal minority dominating this thread, chastising the rest of us for not embracing our deafness, a few brave souls (myself included) expressed a despondent and very real response about hearing loss and the impact it has had on our lives. It touched me deeply.

"It was a HUGE struggle for me emotionally to adapt to this, especially not knowing anyone who had any hearing impairment to talk to or who could understand what I was going through."

"To lose one sense causes one to lose part of life - you can't function 100 percent being deaf, you can adapt as best as you can, but relying on an aid is cumbersome and difficult. It would be wonderful to just hear again."

"I live in a hearing world. I struggle daily not being able to hear things. I'm lost in conversations. My kids get upset with me. I struggle teaching, and it gets exhausting trying to hear. I don't have any deaf friends, so I'm disconnected from that world. I don't know enough sign language, and neither do my family and friends, to communicate through sign. I feel lost between both worlds. So, yes, I wish I could hear."

"I lost my hearing suddenly last year. Deaf in one ear, severe in the other in a wink! Not a day goes by that I don't wish that hadn't happened. But the reality is that I cannot hear "normally" anymore. And as good as hearing technology is today, it will never be as good as my God-given hearing was."

"There are too many struggles and downfall challenges that have even caused major depression....went from a social butterfly to a fly without wings...yep, they were clipped.... And trying to accept and adapt to that is the hardest thing in my whole life I've ever had to do."

"I am glad for technology, but would give anything to hear normally again. Nothing wrong with feeling a bit cheated from time to time."

Cheated. Yes. I feel cheated. Cheated of all the things that should have been, but will never be for me -- things lost forever with my hearing. Cheated of children's voices and spontaneous laughter and music sung. Cheated of casual conversation and secrets whispered and jokes shared. Cheated of kittens' purring and birds' chirping and leaves rustling. Cheated of so many things taken for granted and not understood by those whose hearing is "normal".

On Monday, this cochlear implant inside my head will be activated. It will not be perfect, I've been told, but it's the best technology we have. It will be better than being deaf.

Better than being deaf... 

You have no idea.


  1. You have a way with words. Just to encourage you, with my CI I hear kittens' purring, birds' chirping, and leaves rustling. I miss so much...but these things I do have. God bless you--thinking of you Monday.