A recent facebook post on a deaf community group went something like this: “Do you feel lucky to be deaf?” A rash of comments ensued including many heated comments from both sides of the argument. I stayed out of the conversation, but it did get me thinking. Do I feel lucky to be deaf?
My first initial reaction is, “Heck no! It sucks!”. I live in a hearing world and to suddenly take away the access to sound makes life very difficult. I am not a part of a deaf culture (there is no deaf community where I live). I don’t have deaf friends. I have deaf family, but they’re half-way across the continent and they all have CI’s and live in the hearing world as well. Being deaf in a hearing world can sometimes feel like being stranded on an island, completely cut off.
Technology certainly makes being deaf today far easier than it was 20 or 30 years ago. So much communication can occur through text now. Emails, texting, TV captions, and voice to text apps have been lifesavers. Of course, my cochlear implant being the greatest tool allowing me to be immersed in the hearing world despite my loss. But that’s certainly not enough to make me feel lucky to be deaf. Luckier to be deaf in this day and age; sure, but NOT lucky to have lost my hearing so that I HAVE to use these tools if I want to communicate.
Dealing with tinnitus certainly doesn’t allow me to enjoy the sounds of silence as I have never experienced what that really feels like. Perhaps I would feel lucky if I didn’t have lawnmowers constantly running in my head. I can see how momentary breaks from the noisy world could be nice. There are instances where I enjoy taking off my processors to break away from the noises of the world, only to have the noises in my head come in full force. Sure, I don’t get awakened in the middle of the night by my hubby’s snoring, but I also wouldn’t wake to the sound of a smoke alarm, intruder in my home, or my child crying either. So, no, not really lucky there either…
With all that said, I don’t really believe in “luck” anyway as it makes life feel so random and inconsequential. I honestly avoid using that word at all costs. I never say “good luck” but instead “best wishes”. I believe that there is a God that is very patiently weaving the threads of my life together. Being deaf is just one small thread in the tapestry of my life. There are a lot of threads being used and perhaps a number of them could be viewed as “unlucky”. I also have epilepsy, had breast cancer, grieved 2 miscarriages. I could go on.
However, when I stop looking at these individual threads and step back and look at the entire tapestry that is still been woven; it’s a beautiful picture. An amazing husband and two wonderful children; friends and family that mean the world to me; a (mostly) thriving business; a fabulous community; and a rock-solid faith. On and on it goes. I am so blessed beyond measure and every part of me, every event that has happened in my past has brought me to who I am today. So no, I am not lucky to have lost my hearing; but I am certainly blessed that the loss of my hearing has helped make me who I am today. I think that’s a pretty good thing.