Embracing the Deaf Lifestyle

I am not deaf. I have no idea what it is like to have no hearing at all. Even with my son screeching into my ear at top volumes, which has reduced my hearing, I can certainly hear most things perfectly well. I wanted to get that out of the way so that there is no confusion. I also do not have deaf envy. I do not think life would be better if I could not hear. It would be different, for sure, but I have my hearing and I am happy with that. Now that those things are clear, I also have to say that there are things that the deaf community does that I find myself moving towards.

My blogger friend who writes over at Munky Mind happens to be deaf, and he writes a lot about deaf culture and the issues that they face. Recently he wrote a good piece encouraging video makers and uploaders to include subtitles when they publish something online. This is very important. It is important for the deaf community, because they have no other way of knowing what is being said in the videos, but it is also very useful for people like me, who watch videos like we are deaf. By that I mean, with no sound. I never watch videos with sound. I see videos scroll down my feed and I sometimes watch them autoplay themselves, but I never turn the sound on. When there are no subtitles, I just skip them. People. Subtitle your videos. It’s a real need for some people, and major convenience for the rest of us.

I also realized today that I have never turned the sound on on my phone. I have it set to vibrate at all times. I don’t know what the Candy Crush theme song sounds like because I have never heard it, despite being on level 1,085 (this is the actual number, not an exaggeration, by the way). I was playing Pokemon Go the other day and suddenly this music started playing in my house and I couldn’t figure out what it was or where it was coming from. It was the Pokemon music, which I had never heard before, playing through my bluetooth speaker that had accidentally been turned on and then auto-linked to my phone. I don’t use sound. Titles for everything, and volume zero for everything that doesn’t need titles.

Of course I would be remiss in not pointing out that sign language is an amazing way to communicate. I took some ASL in college, and being able to talk to someone across a crowded and noisy room is invaluable. We should all learn it. I am currently trying to re-learn it myself, although it is hard because I don’t know anyone local that I can practice with. All of my deaf friends live far away. But I am learning anyway, very slowly. Deaf culture has so much to offer us; I have no idea why we don’t take more advantage.

This all may sound a bit odd, coming from a musician, but I am embracing the deaf lifestyle. At least in part. I think we could all use a quiet moment to learn how to navigate through this world without the use of sound. Because, as my munky friend always says, even we hearing folk are going to get old someday and start to lose our hearing. Wouldn’t it be less scary if we were used to it by then?

Posted in Deaf, Pokemon.

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