The spectrum of what it means to be Deaf and Hard of Hearing is extremely vast, diverse and situational. The hearing world needs regular examples, reminders, awareness upgrades and education to get an ongoing understanding.
It’s not unusual for a Deaf and Hard of Hearing person that usually may wear hearing aids or a cochlear implant to not wear the devices every day. There are many factors that may induce this, but some frequent reasons include variations of irritation from the device(s), straining fatigue from wearing it/them, shrill amplifications of the immediate surroundings, the regular imperfections of the devices not functioning properly and etc.. (insert your own experience). In a lot of cases, many Deaf and Hard of Hearing people can’t hear anything without them, (like myself) but can communicate and express themselves just fine either way. Awareness of this is helpful as you may have an experience of this nature.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing people are not obligated to wear Hearing Aids or Cochlear Implants everyday – this shouldn’t surprise or shock people. Awareness of this helps one be prepared for the many other means of communication inclusion and accessibility. Do you want to learn sign language?
A Deaf and Hard of Hearing person may choose not to use their voice or to speak in some situations but rather use their smart phone with a text and typing application – allowing for others to read short phrases off the device / phone held in front of them. Most phones have a “notes” application that you can type and show text on. Or, I like larger text applications like Cardzilla. In almost all cases when I’m not wearing hearing aids I don’t use my voice.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing people are used to the various levels of nervousness and uncertainty displayed by hearing people when found in a moment of communication that is “different”. It can be frustrating for both parties. We can all take a breath in the knowing that these exact moments and interactions are for learning, raising awareness, compassion and understanding for and of each other.
This blog part is a part of my continuing exhibition: “Communicating My Deaf & Hard of Hearing Self – Part 1”.
You can view the exhibition here – https://wp.me/p252IX-4I4