Friday, April 29, 2016

#AskKelsey About My Deafness

I noticed that people kept asking me the same questions over and over regarding my deafness. It made me realize that MAYBE I need to set up a FAQ regarding my deafness or deafness in general. This way I can simply refer them to this post for them to read.

If you have more questions, just tweet me using #AskKelsey hashtag or simply comment away under this blog post.

I sure hope that this will help you understand more about me. Thank you!

When did you become Deaf?

I was born deaf. My mother had German Measles while pregnant with me. It was able to destroy the hair inside of my cochlea that made me deaf. I was lucky enough that I was born with only deafness. I could have been born blind and with severe brain damage.

Were you always Deaf?

Yes, right from birth.

What do you think about Cochlea Implants?

This is a very touchy issue within the Deaf community. I am not against Cochlea Implants. BUT, I am against putting it in children. I don't believe in unnecessary surgeries on children. As for adults, it doesn't bother me a bit if they want one.

As for myself, I never wanted one because I felt like I was happy with who I am. To me, Cochlea Implants are just boosted hearing aids. When you remove it for swimming, showering, sleeping, you do become deaf again. And the technology is not perfect. There have been cases when it actually did more damage than good physically wise.

Even when having Cochlea Implants, you do not hear perfectly. When I wear hearing aids, the sound is boosted yes, but it still sounds muffled. It does not fix the way I hear. The cochlea inside of my ear is damaged. There's no way to fix that.

So because of all of that, I simply did not see the point of having one. It's all about individual choices. And mine is obviously no. I'm quite happy with who I am.

How did your family deal with you being Deaf?

They handled it just fine. I have a second, third cousin in the family who was much older, but deaf. So my family did not feel lost when it came to dealing with me and my deafness. Not only that, my grandfather was blind from a land mine during World War II. My family was already very well familiar with the fact that you are still able, even when blind or deaf. My family quickly picked up sign language and treated me like I was just another kid which I was always grateful for.

Recently I went to an train station that I never been to in Queens I believe. And my mother told me that my blind grandfather used to work at that train station, selling drinks and snacks. I asked her how would he do that job if he couldn't count money? She said, "well back in those days, people were honest. They wouldn't rip him off." But it amazed me that my blind grandfather found a way to work and survive after what happened in the war. It's very inspiring to me.

Are there any other common symptoms that comes along with being Deaf?

Not really. But a few people might be more deaf in one ear and less in the other which causes vertigo. It depends on the person. But the majority of people do not have any. You simply do not hear that great.

How do you communicate with the hearing world?

I tend to use my body language. I write notes, even on my phone. I can say "bathroom" pretty well. Just saying.

Can you speak, just not hear it?

I cannot hear myself speak, no. My voice is too low. I cannot hear people's voices unless they're screaming next to me. And no, I still don't understand the words if you're screaming at me.

As for me speaking, I don't speak well. I'm lazy to practice and all that. I can say some words okay, not the rest haha. I've been told that I speak better when I got hearing aids on. But I hate them. I like the silence.

Are you disappointed that you can't hear good noises? Music, laughter, etc?

No, because if you think about it, I'm quite happy that I can't hear bad noises. Baby crying, people honking, people screaming, dogs barking in the distance. Let me tell you.. I sleep very well. No noise can interrupt me. And I love my sleep.

Is Wizard101 less appealing to you than most because of your Deafness?

No, it's MORE appealing because Wizard101 and all games that exists are very visual. We also have closed captions that already comes with the game. It's fun! I cannot imagine any reason a game like Wizard101 would be less appealing to me because of my deafness.

Are you still able to hear some things?

Yes. I can hear people screaming. I can still hear airplanes, loud trucks, cars. Large dogs barking. Tiny dogs no. They're too low. I still can hear music, but my iPod is always at max. For the deaf community, it's all about the beats.

Can you drive?

Yes I can drive. My deafness does not get in the way at all. In fact, statistics say that deaf people are actually better drivers than hearing people.

Do you wish that you were not deaf?

Heck no. I'm perfectly happy the way I am. You don't miss what you don't know.

Can you hear words? 

No. I hear sound, not words. Words are more muffled for me. But I can hear the O's the most easily like soon, moon. moves.

I feel horrible that you are deaf! I feel sorry for you.

Please understand, I do not want people to feel sorry for me. It's like me feeling sorry for you because you're a certain gender or a certain color or a certain shape. If you're fine with who you are, I'm sure fine with myself. You don't see me crying, being upset. Why would I be sad about who I am? I'm quite happy in my own skin. In fact, when you say things like that, it really hurts my feelings. It makes me feel like I'm less than who I am. Nobody should feel less than who they are.

I would just die if I ever lost my hearing.

Why would you say that to me? That's kinda offensive. You're saying that it's the most horrible thing. So me being deaf is just as horrible? That hurts my feelings. I don't really need to hear that. That's just like me telling you that I would just die if I was your color, your gender, your whatever. Nobody needs to hear that. Be considerate of your words. Some things just do not need to be said.

Do you think in sounds or words or ..?

I think in words. I so love the written words.

In dreams, do you sign when you speak?

Sometimes. But there are dreams where I sing vocally. I always sing happy songs. Usually about love lol.

What does nothing sound like?

I did say earlier that I do not hear nothing. But simply plug your ears and walk around for a hour, that's what silence is. It's incredibly peaceful for me. I focus on the visuals more which is incredible. I truly do think the hearing people miss out on a lot visually wise. I love watching people's face expressions, body language, and the things around me. The leaves falling, a child laughing, a fast blur as a bird flies by, and the gentle breeze on your face. You notice more details. I can see or notice things further than my family can. When you "lose" one sense, your other senses are a lot more noticeable. This is true for me. People normally have to tune out everything else to find peace and quiet. I already have it.

So why won't you use hearing aids?

When I was 2 years old, I swallowed a hearing aid battery and it almost killed me. It got lodged in my intestines and started leaking acid. I have had to have two surgeries to correct the problem. One to remove the battery, and another when they realized that my intestines were too far gone to be saved. My mother thinks that they removed 10 feet of my intestines which is a lot for a two years old. I have no health problems from the now shortened intestines.

But from there, my mother forbidden me to wear hearing aids and I became used to it. Now I feel that it's not necessary.

To clarify this story a bit, back in the 80s, hearing aids did not have a child lock. So children's hearing aids would be very easy for children to open the battery section and pull out the battery to swallow. After what happened with me, our family went to court against the hearing aid companies. My mother says that our case actually saved lives. Children's lives. It forced the hearing aid companies to put child locks on hearing aids. Children now cannot open the battery and swallow it. And yes children died from this.

So you can hear music? How?

Yes, I can hear music. I can hear music the best in clubs or on my phone, using the earbuds. If I'm sitting in a restaurant or a public place, no I cannot hear it. If I'm lucky, there'll be vibrations. It depends how well the building absorbs sound.

What do you hear when listening to music?

It depends on the music. Some songs I can hear the beat, not the voice. Some songs I can hear the voice, not the music. Sometimes, I can hear both, but it's a bit confusing because they mix and it makes both a bit muffled. Hope that made sense lol.

For example, I LOVE Demi Levato's Stone Cold because I can hear her voice in that one. Not the beat. I can hear her go Stone Cold, BABY, Feel Happy For You. But then other songs like Michael Jackson's Billie Jean, I hear the beat, not his voice. 

Does all music sound the same then? Like the same beat?

No, some music have a faster beat, some have a slower one. Some are very sharp, some are soft. Their rhythm can be different as well. Some are very constant, some have breaks then the beats come back with a vengeance. I love Madonna's Ray of Light because of the beats. I love the rhythm and especially when it stops, then there's sound, then all of the sudden the beats came back on. I love that. In Michael Jackson's Billie Jean, the beats are extremely sharp that I almost wince. Any higher, I'd have to turn down the music.

But how can you watch TV? You're deaf?

Closed captions, honey. It's available everywhere, on every single TV. It's actually required by law if you didn't know.

Remember if you have any questions, simply tweet me or post it in a comment below. Thanks everyone!

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