Is anybody out there? “Tap tap tap!”
Sometimes being deaf or hard-of-hearing in a hearing world can make you feel very alone – moreso (I think) if part of your life was spent hearing – and as if nobody is out there. Like waking up from a nightmare to find that you are still asleep. Or, more like the Twilight Zone.
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.
Today is April 1st and oh how I wished someone would cry “April Fool!” But, believe it or not, not being able to hear sometimes has its advantages. I am often accused by my kids of having “selective hearing”. In other words, if I don’t feel like being bothered I can easily get away with pretending like I didn’t hear. But I think they’ve caught on to that trick.
Then there are times when I witness those around me suddenly cover their ears as if someone scratched their nails across a blackboard or excruciatingly painful feedback resonates from a stage microphone but I haven’t the slightest clue what everyone is making a fuss about. You can bet that I am not dying to hear those god-awful sounds again.
But what about the times when I strain to hear my grandchildren telling me about a new toy they got from their Happy Meal? What about the times when I approach an intersection only to realize before it’s too late that a rescue squad is barrel-housing through with its siren wailing as loud as possible? What about the times I take nice long walks in the park unable to hear the twittering of birds, trilling of frogs, chirping of crickets or even branches cracking under my own footsteps?
Well, there are many in the deaf culture, born deaf or not, who would rather stay deaf than find solutions (other than sign language) that may help them to “hear” in a hearing world. Hearing aids, listening devices, cochlear implants… many aids that would seem to be a no-brainer are instead at the abyss of controversy.
I wasn’t born deaf and, even if I was, I can’t imagine not wanting to explore other dimensions whether via hearing aids, cochlear implants, experimental hybrids, whatever. After over 19 years since I first noticed that I started losing my hearing, to once again be able to talk on the phone or listen to a lecture or go to a movie or hear what my toddler grandchildren are trying to say… is worth a trip into another dimension of the Twilight Zone where perhaps things really aren’t that eerie. To each his/her own.
Next stop… The Hearing Zone!