March 21, 2010

Book Recommendation for HOH People: Missed Connections

I am reading a very good book called Missed Connections: Hard of Hearing in a Hearing World by Barbara Stenross. It contains several personal accounts told by members of a support group for people with deafness. I highly recommend this book, especially to those who consider themselves hard of hearing. 


Here is an excerpt from the book that talks about the difficulties of not fitting in both the hearing and deaf worlds (pages 23-24):

In high school, Karen rarely participated in clubs or went to large gatherings. "Mostly, I think I was alone," she told me when I talked to her in her parents' living room. "I mean, I was very alone. I didn't talk much in class. I didn't raise my hand in class. Most of my friendships were one-on-one. . . .I never went to any of the parties or social functions. . . ."

[On switching to a residential school for the deaf]
"I had a hard time learning signs," Karen began. "Well, not so much a hard time, it was just---it was for them to accept me. It took me almost to the end of that year to be accepted by Deaf students. . . .I took my hearing aids off one day in class and the teacher said, 'Karen, you put those hearing aids back on!' (Laugh.) I said, 'Well, I was seeing how it was to be like the other kids for a change."

I find myself nodding in agreement. It is nice to know that I am not alone. For a long time, I thought I was the only one who seemed to have trouble fitting in anywhere, especially during high school. I never thought it had anything to do with my deafness. I thought I was just a weirdo who did not know how to socialize normally. But, I feel the same way when I am with a group of signing deaf people. For the most part, I am able to follow along and participate in the discussions, but I never feel like I truly belong. I suppose the only time I truly feel like I belong (outside my good friends and family) is when I am with other people like me; in between.

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7 comments:

  1. I recall a few years ago here in the UK looking for books on acquired deaf people, i.e. written by them. There was only one specific 'deaf' shop that sold related books etc, so I wrote and asked them about books. They wrote back they had next to nothing about acquired deaf people, certainly none academics could refer to or learn from, all they had was sign language books and books about culture which were non applicable for acquired deaf. They were quite apologetic about is and then asked me to write one, if it was considered 'readable'! they offered to help publish it, I am still mulling it over, because I think books are dead really, with the internet and its immediacy. Deaf.read I contacted regarding do they retain blogs on some dbase ? as this would provide ample know how and feedback a hundred books would never do, as blogs here are written by us and from out own experience, a sham,e if blogs are just erased after a certain time, all that experience has then gone. Apparently GOOGLE forgets nothing so we are told even if we insist on it being erased we won't know if they have done it or will comply.

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  2. I don't think books are dead as of yet. Yes, most reading materials are becoming electronic, but they are still books. I think you should write a book. I am sure that lots of people with acquired deafness would read it. I know I would be interested in reading it.
    Even with the internet, I still love books. They are portable, cheap, and you can "cuddle" up with books in bed. You can't do the same with laptops or portable electronic devices.

    (e

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  3. I know what you mean. I learned to sign in college, but I've never felt comfortable in Deaf crowds. It's almost as if time slows down in that extra quarter of a second it takes me to process signs. My friends periodically check to make sure I know what's going on, and usually I do.

    The irony is that I have to work harder with oral conversations and I miss more, but I'm more accustomed to it. Thankfully most of my friends are oral deaf and we sim-com, so we get the best of both worlds.

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  4. I don't fit in. I feel as if I can relate to hard-of-hearing people and codas on a whole, yet I have never met anyone with an upbringing quite like mine. That's why I enjoy this blog so much. It is one of the few places where I've found someone a bit similar to myself.

    I want to read Missed Connections now. It sounds like a fantastic book :) I especially want to see what the support group is called.

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  5. Anonymous- Like I said, it is nice to know that I am not alone in this. :)

    J.J.- Thank you. I am glad you enjoy reading my blog. You are always welcome here.
    Before blogging, I have met only a handful of people with experiences like mine. Blogging has brought more and more people with similar experiences into my world. Which is one of the reasons why I enjoy it.

    (e

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  6. You've inspired me to create a blog (which will be turned into a vlog once I get the equipment). However it is only accessible through my profile (which can be reached by clicking on my emblem or my name in my comments). I'm keeping it off the search engines for now. It's where I'm able to talk about life subjectively :)

    If ever you'd like to stop by you are more than welcome (though there isn't much there for now).

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  7. J.J.- Great! I will definitely stop by.

    Thanks,

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Keep it civil.