Heya guys! How’s the weekend going? Hopefully you’re doing really well and enjoying your free time. Or, if you’re working this weekend, hope it’s all going well!
Me… Well, as people can probably guess, reading my twitter and all, I’m still kind of obsessed over Astoria: Fate’s Kiss and Medusa and all that, but I’ve also been writing more short stories and scenarios. Most of what I’ve been doing is similar to “Cherise” – that is, there’s no traditional set-up, it’s all been about relationships and friendships and stuff like that. Most of it isn’t worth expanding on, to be honest, but I think most writers have these things… For every one idea that get expanded out into a story, there’s probably a few dozen rejected ideas. But what I’m doing with them is I’m writing them down and keeping them in the story folder. Just because they’re rejected now doesn’t means that the idea behind them should be rejected. There’s every chance that I could take some of those ideas and put it into one that I think is worth expanding on.
And it is that kind of freedom that I’ve been missing from my life for a long while. I’m enjoying it. As well as the Astoria Medusa stories and all! 😀
I haven’t been watching the Paralympics – it’s for the same reason that I tend not to watch the Olympics – I just don’t really have that much interest in those sort of thing. That doesn’t means that I don’t have any admiration for the paralympians – of course I do – just that I just don’t watch it.
But that made me think that I hadn’t actually spoken about my deafness in any great detail. I means, I’ve spoken about it in places here and there, but nothing that actually put it all together, so I thought I should mention something about that.
So… Hmm… Where’s to start?
Okay, I was born deaf, and it’s just one of those freak things that happens. There’s been no history of deafness in my family, and my mum didn’t have any serious illnesses over her pregnancy period. It’s just one of those things. The rest of my family are all hearing.
Due to that, at the time, it was thought it would be better for me to learn to speak English, if I could – certainly, when they tested me, (I honestly don’t know how, but I can say that when I had tests in my childhood and adult years, it’s basically wearing a set of headphones (without aids) and listening for various types of noises, and if you hear one, you push a button and from that, they work out what your hearing range is). Since my hearing range is between 90-100 decibels, they thought it would be possible for me to do that.
…Oh yeah, I should explain a bit about decibels. A normal hearing person typically hears in the 60-70 decibels range. When you’re talking with someone else, that’s the range that your voice’s in. For me, I wouldn’t be able to hear that normally. 90-100 decibels would be comparable to the noise produced by say, I dunno (I did look online for specific examples, but… Yeah.), but from my experience think about things like loud motorbike engines, or those drills used in roadworks and stuff like that. Those were on the edge of my hearing, but I could actually hear those.
Anyway… So, they fitted me with hearing aids and taught me how to speak English. I don’t really remember too much about it. I do remember having to have my hand touching the lip of the speaker when I was learning that young, to pick up on the vibrations.
The official classification of my deafness, by the way, is I have a profound hearing loss. But it’s basically the same thing. As far as I’m concerned, anyway. The only time I would ever say “I have a profound hearing loss” is when I would be applying for jobs. *crosses arms* Basically, the reason for that is, if I just said, “I’m deaf” in the e-mail or something, the reaction that people would get, with me, is that I can’t talk except with sign-language. Saying “I have a profound hearing loss”, sadly, is “better” to those people. And I’d still struggle with getting past that obstacle.
Yeah. Anyway… When I was a little girl, I couldn’t learn how to speak English normally, it had to be done in a different way. Even when I was 12, I was still having to have special lessons in how to speak English – although, by then, it was really only for words beginning with “S”. And that, because there are certain noises that a deaf person just cannot really pick up on. If you think about it, stretch the word out, you’ll realise that the S of, well, let’s use “say”. It’s basically a hiss “sss” and that “ay”. I cannot hear that hiss. So, before that, I was more or less subconsciously replacing the S with another letter. I think for “say” it was sounding more like “day” when I said it back then.
And I’m one of those that was one of the better ones that picked up on how to learn English.
So… I can speak English perfectly well. If there’s a word I don’t really know, I will try and say it, but I probably will need to be corrected in how to say it. While I’m thinking about Astoria, let me just use “Hades” as an example. The way I said it (and still do sometimes), is that I say it similar to “haze”, so it’s all one syllable. But one day, I was talking with my oldest brother about Final Fantasy VII, and I was telling him about how to beat Ruby Weapon, and I said “You’ve got to W-Summon Hades and then Knights of the Round”, and he said “What?” I repeated it, and he said “Haze?” I showed him what I was talking about, and he said “You pronounce it like Had-es not haze”. *shrugs* I don’t know if it is true or not, I think I’ve heard people use both forms of pronounciation, so… I don’t know.
So that’s the speaking side of things for me…
Hearing… Well, that’s a bit different. The way it works for me is a combination of hearing aids and lip-reading. And from when I had tests about it, it appears to be almost 75, 80% of my understanding comes from lip-reading. I know some people might be a little surprised at that, but for me and I would imagine other deaf people as well, that’s the main way we pick up on what people are saying. The “hearing” through our hearing aids are more used to give us some extra clues, due to the fact that when someone’s talking, there are words that basically looks the same when you just shape it with your mouth. Plus, not everyone really speak very clearly with their mouths – and some are worse than others – and stuff like facial features such as beards and the like… They can make it almost impossible.
The hearing aids, by the way, are pretty much just amplifiers. They just pick it up and make it louder so you can actually hear the noise. That, by the way, is one reason why a hearing person should not put on a deaf person’s hearing aid. If my hearings aids allow me to hear at the 90-100 range, what do you think it would sound like for a hearing person? It’s likely to hurt. And that’s an understatement.
But that’s all they do. And it’s all noise. I don’t know if it’s just me or not, but from my experience, a deaf person cannot focus their hearing like a hearing person. Think about a noisy environment, and you and someone else are talking in there. You’re doing it subconsciously, but hearing persons can kind of focus their hearing so they’ve have more chance of knowing what the other person is saying.
For me… If I had to try and listen to someone in a noisy environment, I wouldn’t be able to filter out the other noise and focus on the noise the other person is making.
So that’s a definite disadvantage for deaf people.
But going back to the whole combination of hearing aids and lip-reading. Unless you are very good at that kind of thing, I find that, with most people, I’m having to make guessworks a fair amount of time. I try and pick up what you’re saying, and then mentally, at the same time, I’m trying to fill in the blanks. And sometimes, you’re not really sure what the person said at all. Working out what someone say when the words you’ve got are like… I dunno, trying to think of an example… “Look … there”, if I had to guess, the missing word would probably be something like “over”. But if all I knew was “Look … …”, well… Yeah. Look what?
But that’s why, for me, the best way to talk to me is really, face me head-on, make sure I can see your lips, try and talk clearly – I don’t means talking louder or whatever, I means make sure you shape your mouth clearly, instead of mumbling. And if we can talk in a nice, quiet environment so every bit of noise that I get coming through my aids is from you, even better.
In an ideal situation like that, I’d say I’d probably get about 80% of the words straight off, and we can chat easily. Mumble, try and talk to me in a dark environment, or not looking at me, put us in a noisy environment, add extra people (because I’d have to keep looking from one to another, and in a natural conversation, you’re basically working out who’s talking, and focusing on them after they’ve started replying), stuff like that, and that percentage will go rocketing down. Even friends who known me for a long time make those sort of mistakes.
By the way, having just referred to group conversations, I need to point out the fact that that’s the main reason why I’m so quiet in those situations… I’m basically spending my time trying to work out who’s talking, what they’re saying, that I just don’t really have any chance to say anything myself. I really much rather be with a single person at a time, or when I’m out with groups, I’m talking to one person at a time, you know take her to one side and we’d just have our own conversation, rather than struggle to cope with everyone trying to talk to each other.
After a while, I do kind of tend to get used to how a person sounds, so there have been times when – for example, my family in my childhood – they’d talk to me from behind and you’ve got that memory of what those sounds are like, and you know pretty much what it is. But that’s really rare. Even in those situations, you’re always better off making it as easy as possible for me.
…Not all of my past and current friends and past girlfriends and the like were that good at that, I’d have to say…
My body did overcompensate for the fact that I’m deaf. I’m definitely more sensitive to touch and stuff like that. I feel vibrations a lot more than most. And… *grins* Yeah, I had a girlfriend once who took fullest advantage of that. *sheepish look* She was soo unfair to me… *lol* Enjoyed it, though! Hopefully, whoever my future girlfriend turns out to be, she’ll be even better than that one was. *dreams* *lol* Okay, okay, let’s move on! *hides face*
*ahem* I don’t know sign-language. My parents were all for me learning sign-language, but it was decided that it would be better to focus on my learning to speak English and everything else. Right now… Well, I would like to learn sign-language, and I think I will, but probably at the same time as my future girlfriend, just so that we can talk using BSL (British Sign Language) even if we’re in noisy places. I don’t want to be in a situation where we can’t talk with each other when we need to or anything.
I don’t know many other deaf people right now. I used to go to a deaf youth club when I was a teenager, so if I was gonna learn sign-language, it would’ve been best around then. Now… *shakes head* If I learnt it now, I’d only forget after a while, because there’s no-one else to talk with on a regular basis.
Hmm… I think that’s most everything. If you’ve got any questions, feel free to ask, I’m happy to answer them. *looks up* Okay, maybe not about that, that’s for my future girlfriend to find out and know! *hee* But anything else… *grins*
Hope you have a lovely day, and I’ll write again soon!