Accepting that: I make noise, the doors slam when you get up, the vacuum cleaner at 2 a.m., footsteps all day, the barking dog, startle everyone present when I turn on my computer because I did not see that the volume was turned up fully, accept to wear earplugs and that the walls shake when I listen to music and suddenly the death threats of neighbors in mailboxes …
Accepting that I jump all day long: In the morning at breakfast when someone tries to give me a kiss or a hug from behind, when I thought he was out and when I turn around I see him in the room, when someone touches me while I’m concentrating on a TV series.
Living with me means: accepting to repeat what I’m told when I’m tired, accepting that I isolate myself for a little while when we’ve been surrounded by people for a while in the evening, accepting not to speak when I’m drive, accepting to take off his mask to talk to me …
It is also accepting that: I am grumpy when I am hungry, in winter I sleep with socks on, I am not really but then really not patient when I expect something and I spray the responsible person with questions. out of my frustration, I turn around in the street to try to pet all the little cats and dogs that might cross my path and my daily craziness.
But that’s not because I’m deaf, but just because I’m hungry, cautious, boring, , have a problem with anything that purrs and licks my fingers and finally, I’m totally nuts!
Yes, I know … Living with me is complicated, but I cook well!
In general, people have heard of guide dogs for the blind, but did you know that there are guide dogs for the deaf?
Nyx is one of them, she helps me in everyday life, she is my ears. But how can she help me? Well here are some small examples:
She can warn me when someone knocks on the door and can’t find the doorbell >.< (I have a lighted doorbell that I normally use when people are not afraid to use it, like parcel deliverers !!!!)
She helps me a lot in the kitchen, because she alerts me when the oven stops or when my timer is over.
She warns me by telling me when a vehicle is behind me, and thus prevents me from ending up in a pancake!
To wake up, I have my phone on vibrate, but it may happen that I do not feel it if I have had a somewhat restless night, and well Nyx serves as an alarm clock. (Well, it is a bit too wet for my taste!)
She alerts me when someone calls me on the street.
Having daily help was a sine qua non condition for my dad to let me study in a foreign country like France last year, so we started looking for this type of help but unfortunately the farms are still very rare. And dogs are very expensive, because their learning is complex. Their training costs between 10,000 and 12,000 euros per dog. Each dog is first welcomed by a host family. For sixteen months. Then, they joined a center where, for six months, they were trained in recognizing sounds and the behavior to adopt for each of them …
To get Nyx, I sold my car and worked very hard. Fortunately for me, with my type of deafness, where the implant does not work, I had state aid, and a privileged place on the waiting list. Yes, the other problem is that since there are few dogs, it takes on average 3 years to get one.
To be able to acquire one of those hairballs, beyond selling a kidney and having a foolproof patience, there are a few conditions to respect:
Have a document proving your “handicap”;
To be of age ;
And of course be able to provide all the care your pet needs.
I hope that one day these animals will be much more accessible for deaf people.
In the meantime, if you are a parent of a deaf child and you cannot afford it, I still advise you to get a dog, a cat, a ferret, a rabbit… or any animal. Being deaf tends to lock us in a lot, contact with animals helps us a lot to open up to others.
This is just a little personal reflection, on a question that I am often asked at the association: “How does it happen in a romantic relationship between a deaf and a hearing person?”
I speak here only from my point of view and my own feelings. I do not pretend to have absolute knowledge, on the contrary, I ask myself a lot of questions on this subject. If you have your own opinion, I would be happy to discuss it with you in the comments.
Many of you must be thinking, “But what does being deaf have to do with having a girl or a boyfriend? “ And although being deaf or hard of hearing (it is surely a bit the same for other handicaps), we always wonder if it will have an impact on our love life.
In a relationship between deaf people, it is “easy”. We have the same concerns so we understand each other. It is less embarrassing to repeat a sentence that you will have misunderstood, whether orally or in sign language. With a hearing person, it’s very different. We are afraid of annoying the person who interests us by dint of having them repeat and doing so that they are disinterested in us. Sometimes just announcing that you are deaf (or hard of hearing) is enough to scare some people away.
Between a deaf person and a hearing person, there is always a gap, because we do not live in the same world. It is not a bad thing or anyone’s fault but it is so then it requires efforts of both parties to try to understand each other.
In the book “Finding Zoe” by Brandy Rarus, the deaf author describes her relationship with a hearing man. It was idyllic at first, but the more she got involved in the deaf culture, the more her boyfriend seemed to move away, which ended their relationship.
No matter how much a person can be involved in deaf culture, whether they have studied the subject or have deaf family … A hearing person will never be what it is to be deaf and what it brings. In the past I’ve already loved, many times and each time I’m apprehensive of how the other will take the fact that I’m deaf.
How I am when I’m dating!
I’ve always had a close core of friends but I’m a very reserved person so I’ve done a lot of online dating, be it Okcupid or even Tinder! (yes I was desperate!). But I never knew how to explain the fact that deafness was a part of me. I didn’t want people to reject me because of this. (It’s already happened).
Making contact :
After a few days, the time for the first Skype comes. It always makes me nervous. Indeed, I often have to ask them to type what they have to say and I think it must be a disadvantage to have to do it, it can annoy.
The encounter :
Then we get used to it but at some point comes the time for the first meeting. As for everyone I suppose, there is the apprehension of “the-meeting-of-the-first-time”, but to that is added also the fear of “how-the-devil-is-that- communication-will-work ”! Fortunately for me, I read very well on the lips but according to the diction of each one, I need a time of adaptation, and to that is added that I am 100% deaf and not implantable, so I cannot help myself with the sound I would have heard to understand part of the conversation if he does not speak sign language.
The family presentation :
Finally if all his moments are going well, there is the presentation to the family. Personally I always apprehend, because that is when she realizes that you are deaf and that this is not harmless in everyday life, suddenly they do not know how to react and it can be very embarrassing. With my first boyfriend’s family, it went very badly. I felt like the attraction of the evening, in the wrong sense of the word. I felt like the highlight of a freak-show! I was harassed with questions about my deafness and none about our couple …
Besides that in these kind of meetings, people often talk at the same time, which is very complicated for us to follow the conversations all the more since often several discussions get entangled at the same time which we totally lose … we ended up following our boyfriend like a disarmed puppy, and we feel very stupid…
Be careful I don’t want to discourage deaf-hearing relationships, on the contrary my only two important stories were with a hearing person and they were wonderful. It exists and it works, but it requires investment on the part of the hearing partner, taking a minimum interest in deaf culture and sign language because it is a part of us. On our side we must also make an effort to welcome them into our little world of ours by being compassionate and patient when they are awkward or when they find it difficult to understand us. As in all couples, there are two of us. Efforts must therefore be made by both parties!
We went to my deaf club to join a group of teenagers whose parents work. Yes, we played nannies, but in exchange, there was pizza! Two of them, Tadeus and Morganne, are newly implanted so the discussion turned to their new ability to hear. And I must say that we had a lot of fun.
Morganne first told us about the sun, she was convinced that it must make noise, a bit like the hum of an engine, but in fact not. Then she told us about her astonishment, when for the first time she heard the sound of her fingers rubbing paper, a gesture that she thought inaudible before. Finally she told us about cats, which annoy her because sometimes they make noise, and sometimes they act without making it.
Little Isabelle, deaf from birth, asked if the ice melting in the sun made noise. Everyone turned to Pia, the only hearing in our group who was very sorry to disappoint her by telling her that no.
Then I noticed Tadeus staring at my chest. I started to feel embarrassed, then without looking away he spoke.
“Do you know what surprised me the most? It’s that the boobs do not make noise, it really looks like! “
At that moment, Pia’s nose who was drinking his coke was transformed into a fountain and the whole assembly laughed out loud. Once Pia’s nose drained, she could tell us that she found this conversation fascinating, because she questions what was only “obvious” to her.
This article does not do justice to our laughter but I hope you enjoyed it anyway!
For 3 months, with all these masks in the street, I have the impression of living in an episode of Naruto. Yes, you should be happy if you are a manga fan, but personally I find it oppressive! Ok it’s hard for everyone to live, I understand that it’s complicated for everyone, but imagine that when you leave your house, you no longer hear any sound, a deafening silence?
When I leave my house, I can no longer communicate with anyone. Everyone is masked, so I can no longer read the lips of my interlocutors. And I can no longer speak sign language. Indeed, many signs are based on facial expressions. It’s a bit like if you had to start talking overnight without using vowels. Fortunately for me, I am lucky to be with my family at home, but I have a thought for all deaf people who must or must have been confined alone at home.
To receive the information, I am happy to see that the newspapers have started to offer interpreters more often. However, they are often very small in the corner of the picture and it is not always very easy to understand them even when you have good eyesight. To this must be added that many deaf people suffer from Usher syndrome which, in addition to giving profound deafness, causes a progressive loss of visual acquittal going as far as blindness.
I can only imagine that, I have my family to keep me up to date but to know that a crisis of such magnitude is going on and not being able to get information properly, all this added to the feeling of ‘isolation…
Some of us are going through a very difficult time so if you have a neighbor, a friend or even only a deaf acquaintance, while respecting a safe distance of course, try to communicate with him without your mask to see how he feels right now and if he manages to get well informed. In any case, he will be infinitely grateful.
Either way, whether you are deaf, hard of hearing or hearing, take care of yourself and your loved ones! As for me I say see you soon! 😉
Today I went to the hospital, do not panic, it’s nothing serious. I’m going to see someone like Mete, the director of my “Deaf Club”, as we call it, a place where our deaf community can meet to talk, help and organize activities … ask me to meet. His name is Lars, 15 years old. He has just lost hearing after a scooter accident. Being a little confused and worried about his future, this family wanted him to meet someone who had more or less the same story to reassure him.
I hate hospitals and especially this one, I would have preferred that it goes to its release but, parents of Lars were very worried. Not being able to refuse anything to Mete, who supported me so much at the beginning of my deafness, I asked Grand Ma (where I spend the weekend) if she could accompany me there after the school. When I arrived at the door of the hospital room, Lars’s dad and mom jumped on us and naturally asked me a lot of questions. Being already very stressed to find myself in the same hospital where I had been a few years ago, I did not want to, in addition absorb their stress. So I offered them to keep their question for after my interview with their son. I asked Grand Ma to stay with them and then took a deep breath before entering the room.
A blond boy, with an arm in plaster and a leg in a kind of resin, was playing with his Switch. Without looking up, I could read on his lips that he was asking me out. From the features of his face I realized that he had shouted this sentence as if it were an imperial order, he was furious. I pretended I did not understand and approached the bed. He was going to shout another sentence of the style: “Are you deaf, I asked you to go out! But as he raised his head, he felt reticent, I felt surprise and perhaps a little mistrust on his part. I sat next to him, a notepad in my hand that I used to speak with him. I explained to him that just like him I was deaf and that I had lost my hearing in similar circumstances. He bombarded me with questions about everything, how I learned sign language, whether it was easy to read on the lips, if it helped to cheat in class … I answered him no for the last one, and for the rest, that it required work, but that it charmed the girls. He started to laugh. So I advised him books to learn faster and I gave him the address of our “Deaf Club” where he would find excellent teachers. It’s been over an hour since we spoke when a nurse came to tell us that the visiting hours were over.
Leaving the room, I was drowned under the thanks of the mother, for spending so much time with Lars. The dad told us to invite us to the restaurant. Instead I invited them to come to the Deaf Club (that evening a small party was organized with potatoes cooked in the embers with various sauces and lots of different salads.) Like that, I was able to introduce them to other members, hearing or not, to show them that in every step they will have to go through with their son, they will not be alone, and that the deaf community will always be there to support them. I felt them much more reassured than we met earlier in the evening.
When I got home, Grand Ma hugged me tightly. Feeling her chest vibrate, I realized that she had said something but not seeing his lips I did not understand what. Once I was able to pull myself out of her embrace, she told me that she was very proud of what I had done today. Coming from her, it moved me to tears.
Beyond all this, if you are a close relative of newly deaf people or you are newly deaf, or even if you are deaf for a long time do not hesitate to contact the deaf community of your city. For anything, we are all there to support each other, whether to learn sign language, read on the lips, find activities, find work … We will always be happy to help you.
I wake up thanks to the vibrator on my phone. I gently release the arm that surrounds my waist and head to the bathroom. Shower, dressing, makeup. And I go down to prepare the breakfast with Kælen one of our cat.
Yeah I know it’s not very feminist to always cook but if you had tasted that of my boyfriend, you too you beg him not to approach the stove! (Or you would eat cereals morning, noon and night).
I set the table when I feel something settle on my hips. It made me jump and spilled fruit juice everywhere. At least this time it was not hot coffee. Fortunately for him, he knows very well to be forgiven … Alas this time I have no time! 😦 A little kiss, and I go to my classes by bike, often joined by Pia, my best friend who studies in the same school.
At 5 pm I join Erik (my boyfriend) at the dance school, for 2 hours of suffering!
7 pm arrive we go home. I open the fridge where I moan for not having had time to go shopping (as usual!). And yes the shops closes between 6 and 7 pm. We order so to eat, tonight it’s pizza and in general we slouched on the sofa in front of Netflix before going to bed, but not tonight. We had something to finish … 😏
This morning, same ritual as the previous day with the aches and more. At noon, having two hour break, I decide to eat with my aunt who works nearby, with hes best friend who keeps complimenting me on my physique. It’s good for morals, but being a lesbian I’m not sure it’s done innocently.
tonight, I have art classes. With a teacher difficult to understand because he always talks back to his students. Fortunately, I’m sitting next to a girl who has become one of my best friends, who takes all her time to explain me the instructions (😘 Freja). A perspective course that would have been very complicated without her precious help.
Go to the bathroom to remove my war paintings. Indeed I do not know what I did to him but the painting always attacks me and I finish with spots everywhere and sometimes in unsuspected places. 🤬
Once the battle is won 💪, return home became clean thanks to my dear and tender. I must say that I have tamed him well! 😈 He got tired of me vacuuming in the middle of the night. Being deaf means that I do not realize how much noise I can make around me, even if I try to be careful.
I only have two hours of lessons so my sweetheart comes looking for me to go to Strøget, usually accompanied by Pia and Freja. Strøget is a pedestrian shopping street ideal for window shopping, one of my favorite activities and also normal shopping a much less attractive but very necessary activity if you do not want to eat pizza all week, you will agree .
This afternoon, we were joined by friends of Erik and then we went to my grandfather (maternal side). He wanted to test a new recipe for a future pastry contest. It was so good. Then we spent our time playing role playing games (right now it’s Call of Cthulhu) And yes my boyfriend is a geek and we all fell in. It has become a tradition. Grandpa has become addict. he often make us cupcakes on the theme of the actual game.🤤
It’s about the same as Monday, but with fewer complaints, indeed, the fridge is full! In the evening, preparing my stuff for the weekend, then I geek on the pc where I ridicule noobs on DoTA 2. 😝
This morning I normally have a music course but I’m exempt so I take the opportunity to see Pia at her drama class. I do not understand anything, but I know she’s shy, and this time she’s got a big role in her piece, so I support her!
In the evening, 2 hours of dancing, a shower and I am driving to the station to catch the train. I hate the stations! Indeed I do not hear the announcements made at the microphone in the station itself, but also in the trains. It has the gift of making me stress like not possible when there is an unexpected. (train arriving late, abnormal stop …). A big hug to my dear on the dock to try to delay as much as possible this separation.
Finally sitting on the train, I take the opportunity to do my homework and / or write, my diary.
3 hours later I arrive in Århus, at my dad’s, with about 180 kg of linen rooms. Hey yes the first thing I do when I arrive is to wash my clothes, we save as we can!
Going up from the basement where the washing machine is, a smell of food carries me into the kitchen, where my dad prepares pasta Bologna to fall to the ground. I take advantage of his head in the spice cupboard to try to poke a meatball in the pan before receiving a wooden spoon hit on the hand. Damn, miss!
Finally, we spend the evening telling our week. Tonight he’s telling me about his girlfriend Kirsten and that he would like me to meet her. I knew he had met someone, he had already gone out with other women but this time it becomes serious. I admit that it makes me a little heartache, even if I’m happy for him.(Last time I saw him with some one it was my mom) He planned to introduce me the next day during our weekly lunch with grandpa and granny (paternal side).
When I wake up, I put on my sportswear and go for my usual bike ride. I went to buy flowers and when I came back I went to the cemetery. to put it on my mom’s grave, as I usually do for praying and speaking to her about my life. On my return, after a good shower, I help dad to cook, I love those moments where we do not even need to talk to understand each other. I help him to get dressed, the poor guy is all stressed. The doorbell flashes (the doorbell is connected to bulbs in the house so I know when someone is at the door), I thought he was going to make a panic attack. I began to giggle, never had I seen dad so uncomfortable. To calm him down, I told him that for my part, I found it normal that he wanted to remake his life and that for him to get into such a state, this woman had to be really special to him. After these wise words I am going to open. False alert, it was “only” grandpa and grandma. Granny who always basins me of indiscreet questions about my couple and grandpa who always saves me the setting by diverting the conversation on everything and anything. The bell is blinking once again, this time it’s up to me to get nervous.
A pretty blonde woman in her forties is holding me, I understand better why he wanted to make her a good impression … And then she starts talking and there is the drama!
“HELLO YOU MUST BE NILSA …”
She begins to speak by detaching all the syllables, as we will speak to a baby. Noob error. I kindly explain that yes I’m deaf but she could talk to me normally, it was easier for me to understand. Once this clumsiness is repaired, I invite her to enter.
At the table, we talked about banalities, and grandma bombarded her with questions. I was almost embarrassed for her.
Hard to know a person in one evening, but she made me feel good. Intelligent, a little shy but with a certain sense of humor. I think I like her!
This morning I went to meet a family whose little boy is losing hearing. One of my neighbor put us in contact so that I can explain to them how this is the life of a deaf person every day. We talked about implant, sign language, readings on the lips, my daily life. In the first place they seemed tense, but I think I managed to reassure them.
Noon, back home, daddy is not here but I’m a little hungry. Instant inspection of the drawer fronts. Epic loot: a box of pasta and a can of peeled tomatoes!
Meanwhile dad, I grab the notepad and draw (scribble) a bird that is placed in the garden.
Once Dad returned, we finally go to the table. Well my tramp was not bad!
It’s 2 pm I’m impatient in front of the PC! Video conference with my older sister who lives abroad.
I prepare my suitcase and return to the station to catch the train of 17 hours. I take the 3 hour trip to write you these lines. My goal, when I started writing Monday, my idea was to describe the daily life of a deaf person, but I did not think that such a personal event would happen, but hey I still played the game.
I’m sorry, but put by that my life is not very exciting, on the other hand it allows you to see, it’s not because I’m deaf that I do not have a social life or normal life. I play sports, paint and even dance. Losing hearing is not the end of the world. Of course learning to fend for yourself is work (learn to read on the lips, sign language, …) but we can do it. To reach a normal life is not an impossible goal.