Monday, February 25, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Good Afternoon All!
Basically though, I have a 75% hearing loss in my left ear and 80% loss in my right ear, yet essentially wearing hearing aids virtually brings almost 100% of it back! So this allows me to be able to hear just about any type of noise. However and unfortunately my nerves inside my ear were damaged. So that means that I cannot UNDERSTAND conversations on the phone, in person, etc WITHOUT the aid of text or lip reading or anything. However a lot of hearing people just do NOT seem to understand that concept.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
HP (Hearing Person) - Hey Alex not much just chilling
Alex-Sweet, you all going out tonight?
HP-Ya we are wanna come?
Alex- Nah, I gotta go home and study for a test but thanks!
HP- Ok bro no problem see ya!
Then we found a table and sat down, and we kind of talked amongst ourselves... Well rather we talked, and the rest signed, then like I really felt like I was in the minority here. Even though I am deaf/Hearing-Impaired like they are, I can talk and read lips and not be able to do ASL like they could! They all had a clique, something to belong to, I did not. Then people were signing and acting out skits and stuff, and we had a speaker come up and he tapped the microphone and said "ok, can anyone hear me?" this is when I lost control of myself and started laughing abruptly thinking, your asking a room full of Deaf people if they can hear him? I actually heard the room chuckle a bit, while my mom laughed and so did Angie. I assumed he did it as a joke, since a lot of the others also laughed along.
Once again, I want to reiterate that this was MY situation. I typed this out for people both hearing and deaf, to see the light hearted situations I found myself in. Even though I am hearing-impaired, I was so used to being surrounded by hearing people I had to literally readjust, and what was normal for deaf people was not for me. Hence my surprise reactions and thoughts to the different situations. I hope you enjoyed seeing a different side of another hearing-impaired person and enjoyed the irony and situations that had played out in front of me.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Glad to see your here reading about Cued Speech. I understand this is a very controversial issue for many involved, myself included. Deaf People are either against it, support it, or mutual, they don't care too much to see both ways. After my parents found out about my hearing loss, the first thing they did was to seek about ASL. However my parents were adamant from the start that I was not to go to a deaf school. They were at a doctor's office for one of my regular check ups when my mother came across a story about cued speech in a sesame street magazine. Most of us are already familiar with cued speech, whether you support it or not. A basic description is it is based on the sound/phonetics of the speech, and not so much the visual aspects of it. A quick look on youtube.com or google.com will yield you many search results.
My parents were fascinated by cued speech and learned using this would widen my vocabulary and help me learn to speak as well. They contacted some people through the magazine to get some more information, and figured this would be a perfect tool to aid me when I am mainstreamed. My parents pulled me out of the deaf school to put me in kindergarten. The deaf school apparently was not going to have that. Battles ensued, back and forth about what was the right thing to do for their child. The deaf school wanted me to stay put and raise me in a deaf world surrounded by deaf people. They knew I would be a role model for other people, but my parents did not want that. They wanted me surrounded by hearing people and to grow up like them-hearing.
Battles however STILL went back and forth. Meetings were held, but the stance was always the same. Deaf school telling my parents they were doing the wrong thing. Parents saying no, we want him raised in a hearing environment and he will learn cued speech. If I recall lawsuits almost were brought up or threatened by the schools as a legal ground to hold me at a deaf school, but don't hold me to that. It was a really bad time for everyone.
I was placed to enter kindergarten, by then I had the vocabulary of a hearing kindergarten student. I stuck with cued speech all the way until now. I had a cued speech interpreter all throughout elementary, and High school.
Of course only learning cued speech, meaning I am able to read it but not able to be fluent in actually cueing it. This allowed me to communicate with many people deaf and hearing who were able to talk or speak enough I was able to read their lips. Unfortunately I was not able to talk to deaf people who only did ASL. So I was still stuck and lost and left out of the deaf world because of that. You can believe I was harassed and bashed and called everything in the book for leaving the deaf world and going to the hearing world. I was told my parents did the wrong thing for myself; I didn't help the deaf people's case in trying to be a community. I no longer belonged and I was shunned. That was fine, I had hearing people who accepted me and embraced me. It was a shame I couldn't see the same with deaf people. Why the reason? I don't know, I have guesses but I won't say them here. They have their reasons for being upset at me for taking the direction I went and the choices my parents and I made.
Now I am finished with High School, I have entered the real world. I went to go work for Southwest Airlines, and this broadened me to more deaf people then ever. Every day almost I was meeting Deaf Customers, and I could not help them one bit. I felt so sorry for myself and for them but then thought no, I am the one that needs to teach myself. After being surrounded and such and struggles of my self in the job I took a leave of absence with the airline, and am currently trying to go back to school in college. With this I hope to become fluent in ASL. I went online to search stuff on you tube and such and came across Geo's site- www.seekgeo.com I was absolutely fascinated by the vlog content and surprised to see people like him signing online and using subtitles for people like me who could not follow along.
I got to speak to Geo and many others and was lead to the live.yahoo.com site as well. Oh my gosh, there was MORE OF THEM?! Immediately I was surrounded by all these deaf people who were using ASL, and I was literally like deer in headlights. So I felt it is now my duty as a hearing impaired person to learn ASL and build a bridge between the hearing and deaf community. I don't mean to become an interpreter, but simply have the flexibility to speak to the hearing and sign to the deaf and vice versa.
I still support cued speech and always will because of the huge success I have had with myself. I promote it for educational purposes, and beyond. Cued speech not only helps deaf people but hearing people who for some reason cannot speak well or have low vocabulary experience. Deaf people seem to be threatened by cued, but correct me if I am wrong about that. I do promise cued speech will NEVER replace ASL. ASL is a beautiful language and it is an art in itself and to see it expressed in so many ways and different languages is fascinating. It is everyone's choice to take the road they want to, and the direction they want to. But please, be respectful of the choice they made, and not every thing is for everyone.
I was lead to that’s site for a reason, why not sure just yet. But so far I am meeting many online people. I am being pushed to learn ASL as expected, however I hope they respect my decisions I made with cued speech and know I will never leave cued speech and will continue to support cued every way I can. With that, I hope to become fluent in both cued and ASL and broaden my knowledge, vocabulary and language in everything!
Thanks for reading!
Sunday, February 17, 2008
When we meet other people with hearing loss, the first question is always typically, how did you lose your hearing?! I was born hearing to hearing parents. I had a medical condition that somehow stopped my skin cells in my stomach to stop forming. This allowed my organs, more particuarly the stomach, liver, intestines, bladder, kidneys, and so forth to spill out of my body. Basically everything but my heart and lungs were outside of my body in a sac. Doctors had to immediatly close me up and rush me to St. Louis hospital. I ended up having over 30 surgeries, 27 on my stomach, and 5 on my neck (was also not born breathing). I was at the hospital for three months recovering. The doctors had to give me a medication to help me survive, unfortunatly the side effect would cause me to lose hearing. They were not sure how much loss would occur IF any. Parents had to sign a waiver agreeing they were warned of my possiblity of a hearing loss, and doctors would not be held accountable for causing my hearing loss.
Fast forward two years later, mom dropped a pan besides me. I didn't even flinch. Mom got concerned and worried, and suddenly remembered the doctors warning. It had come true for them. Their son actually lost hearing, but to what degree? They waited a week doing their own home testing and some sounds I responded to, some I did not. They took me to a hearing test locally, and it was official. I was diagnosed as profoundly to severely deaf, with 75% hearing loss in my left ear and 80% on my right ear. However I am not convinced that is totally correct because I can hear some voices. I listen to music very normally, and can hear cars, trains, loud rumbling noises, thunder, etc etc without hearing aids.
So then it was time to get hearing aids for me. We went to a doctor in St. Louis and tried different ones and I put it on. Immediatly I started screaming and crying. What was this thing coming into my ear?! It was LOUD! It was coming from EVERYWHERE! Finally my mother said to me without looking "Alex?" I immediatly turned into her direction and for the first time I heard my mothers voice and actually recognized it. Mom started crying as did Dad and they believed they finally found something that worked for me.
We left the hospital and I was distracted by everything I was hearing! The hearing aids brought back essentially 90% of the hearing back. With my hearing aids I still cannot hear birds chirping or VERY low soft sounds. But I am able to hear pretty much everything, UNDERSTANDING is a bit different, and I will discuss that later in other posts. Then a Trans World Airlines Boeing 747 roared over head and I was actually silent, but not because I didn't hear it. Believe, me I heard it! But I was more amazed, and I turned and looked at the plane and pointed. Thus was born my desire to go into aviation. But again thats another topic! :)
That's the story of how I loss my hearing and a little bit of the background of it. Coming up I will discuss, topics such as "But your not really deaf are you?" as well as "Hearing/Understanding-Whats the difference?" and many others including Cochlear Implants, Cued Speech, Sign Language and many things!
Thanks for reading!!