Listening To Your Favourite Music…

I2018-08-23_07-45-00.jpg know I have been more stressed out in the last 22 months than I probably have any time in my life. It is stressful to see the possible annihilation of our democracy unfold before your eyes.  It is pitiful to see the Oval Office occupied by a compulsive liar, cyberbullier, and narcissist. I couldn’t have imagined that possibility just a few years ago. I just can’t seem to be able to do much about my stress except to boycott every new source.  I have for the past couple months limited my contact to the political world to ten minutes a day. That helps but it is not enough. Being a political junkie who thinks it is important to stay informed that is about all I can do.

When I came across the quote here from my Facebook friends over at the Idealist, it showed me maybe why I can get no relief.  Being deaf makes even blasting my favourite music is totally ineffective. I sure do wish I could listen to Bob Dylan, Peter Paul & Mary, Don McClean, and Simon & Garfunkel.  I’m sure that would drain some of this anxiety built up inside me.  The last time I listened to any of them it was from those big black disks that kids today have absolutely no idea of what that is.

I do have several written lyrics from my favorite music that I pull out once in a while when I am absolutely alone and sing to myself. At least that helps a little 🙂

Turning Back the Odometer…

Quote.png

canstockphoto38063363.jpgI like old cars and I am kinda proud of passing on some of my experiences in life here on RJsCorner. Yeah, there are things, actually quite a few, that I would like to have been different but even the undesired things are an important part of my life’s experiences, that looking back have made me who I am.

If I hadn’t been deaf I wouldn’t have the level of empathy that I do. If I had not grown up in a single very stoic parent household I wouldn’t have the understanding of such things as I do. As another quote from Will says “Adversity builds character”. It made me who I am and I am quite proud of that fact.

I see so many people today that try to turn back their odometers.  They get hair transplants or cosmetic surgery to hide their years.  I can truthfully say that I am proud of the way I look. It does indeed show I have traveled a long way and some of the roads weren’t paved.

Cackle Footer Banner

(WS) Breaking Down The Myths About Deafness

On my post a while ago entitled “Life’s Lesson” I said there were ten things that I have learned in my life that I aim to put forward for your consumption here on RJsCorner. One of those is the title of this WeeklySquawk.  It is important to me and I kinda think it should be important to each of us that when we come across myths about living we should do what we can to dispell the ones that are false.

2018-04-10_15-34-23.pngThe three primary myths I have encountered that demand my personal attention are related to are deafness, autism, and old age. Of course, I am intimately familiar with each as they have demanded much from me at some time in my life. This post will focus on the deaf myths. I could give you dozens of them but I will concentrate on six that absolutely drive me crazy.

Deaf & Dumb –  This myth goes back many decades, if not centuries.  It is basically that a person who is deaf can’t learn anything. Of course, this myth has been thoroughly busted but there are still many people who when they come across a deaf person just assume that the deaf person is dumb. Maybe that feeling is unconscious but the deaf person definitely perceives it.

Deaf People Can’t Speak – It is true that for some who are born deaf, they never learn to speak. But for the vast majority of us, especially those who went deaf later in life, we usually maintain the ability to speak to one degree or another. But since we have don’t really hear our voices we have problems with the volume of our speech and sometimes the quality suffers as we get older.

Deaf People Have Low IQs – I can’t tell you how many times I have been subjected to this myth.  Deaf people generally have the same IQ spread as hearing people. Some of us are geniuses and some of us struggle with daily life.

All Deaf People Were Born That Way – As a matter of fact, only a small minority of those of us who are deaf were born that way. More than 80% of us went deaf later in life. Many in their senior years.

All Deaf People Know Sign Language – Only a small number of us who are deaf know ASL (American Sign Language). That version of signing is very different than spoken English in its word order and complexity.  Most of us who were not born deaf, if we can sign at all, sign in English.  But even those make up a less than one out of ten deaf people.

Deaf People Can Read My Lips – Less than 20% of the English language appears on the lips, so even someone who is very proficient at reading lips only has access to one in five words spoken.  The rest of it is a guessing game that we generally get wrong.  If it is important information that is being passed NEVER assume that the lipreader really understands what you are saying.  This is especially true for those communicating critical health-related info.

These six myths are important to understanding but they are by no means the totality of myths about deaf people.  I will cover more in future posts. I will just leave it by saying that for the most party deaf people pretty much mirror the general population in their abilities and intelligence.

I hope this helps…

Weekly Footer Banner

Imagining Their Stories…

Because I am deaf I have a game I play quite often when I am around people, especially those I don’t know.  In my early years of deafness before closed-captioned TV was widely available is when this thing started. Since there was no sound to what I was seeing I made up my own storyline. It would have been interesting to discover how closely my story matched up with the writer’s version but of course, I never was able to discover that.

canstockphoto8230027Getting slightly off the subject for just a little while, I never used to think that I was a creative person. I think part of that belief was beaten into me in my youth by some pretty uncreative parents.  I know I tried to draw some in my youth and was never pleased enough with the result to show my parents or anyone else for that matter. It would take some years and experiences to realize that creativity is not just one thing but can appear in many different areas of life. Making up stories is one of those areas I have become quite good at.

Getting back to the subject of the day, I kind of liked the idea of imagining stories which I was not really privy to so I started doing it in real life. I can look at someone in a restaurant and make up stories about why they looked or acted the way they did. Its easy in today’s world to imagine them as selfish, self-centered or other negative traits but I kinda do the opposite, at least recently.  Instead of seeing speeders as self-centered people I give them the benefit of the doubt and imagine them as doctors on the way to the hospital to save someone’s life.  I am a dreamer so to me it is just more enjoyable to imagine good things than to fear yet someone else as terrorists, serial killers, or just plain selfish people.

Getting back to the starting thought of this post, It is not easy for me to start up a conversation with someone, especially someone you don’t know.  It used to require them to write down what they say.  Most people are just not willing to do that. Now, I have a couple of apps that turn speech into text. They don’t work great quite yet but are much better than paper notes.  But even with these new tools, it is almost inevitable that when another hearing person joins the group I am pretty much ignored from that point on.  So, I end up watching other people or make up stories of what I might be missing.  It beats just sitting there like a bump on a log. 🙂

Dispelling Myths vs Reimaging

2018-03-06_13-24-11.pngYesterday’s post was all about spin and how we too often try to reimage something because makes us uncomfortable.  It was primarily about the fact that we need to dispell the myth instead of just re-naming the condition.  Today I want to talk about why this topic is so important to me.

As I have often said, being deaf is a major part of my life but it is not what I am about.  I almost never say I am a deaf man but instead say I am a man who is deaf. There is a critical difference between the two. If I allow my deafness to define my life then what I am doing is to make it the central focus. Instead, I will define myself as:

  • A follower of Jesus
  • A creative person
  • A history buff
  • A person who enjoys adventurous things
  • An avid writer/blogger
  • An avid photographer
  • A teacher of coping with challenging circumstances

Somewhere far down the line would be deafness. In the area of deafness, I strive to teach others who might be just starting their journey that they are not alone and that their deafness does not have to define them or limit them to any extent.  Yes, it places challenges in their life but nothing that can’t be overcome.

I don’t think things have changed that much when it comes to medical authorities giving a person who is suddenly deaf, resources to cope. The hearing professionals in my day simply said: “We can’t help you anymore so, goodbye”.  I was left on my own to figure out where to go from there.

2018-03-06_13-27-06.pngAnother reason I am generally against reimaging is Google. If I want to learn something about this topic would I google “deaf” or “sudden loss of hearing”? I don’t think there is any disagreement as to that answer.  When I went deaf in 1988 the Internet was in its infancy. There were no major news sites and Google was decades away.  America-On-Line (AOL) was just starting out. I struggled for weeks trying to find anything I could use to help me cope with becoming deaf.

Now with the Internet, if I know the right terms and they haven’t been reimaged I can find a myriad of sources of information about any topic.  I hope that there are some who google “deaf” that happen to be pointed to RJsCorner and learn a little from my experiences with deafness.   Most importantly, I hope they learn that they are not alone out there. I struggled with that cruel idea for quite some time!

Closing up this two-part post, we need to do whatever we can to dispell myths that have grown up around too many topics. We can’t let just give into myths and let them stand as somehow being insurmountable. Dispelling myths is an underlying reason for RJsCorner even if I don’t directly say that enough.

 

 

Reimaging, Spin, Spin, Spin

Too many times we simply don’t like the name for something and to fix that we give it a new often indistinguishable name. Don’t like the word retirement, give it a new name. Give it a more positive spin. Call it the third trimester of life. Maybe that will offset the negative connotations associated with this time in life. Spin, spin, spin…

On a lighter side, job titles seem to be at the head of the reimaging wave. So many people have impressive sounding titles for the same old jobs. I have come to the conclusion that employers know that reimaging job descriptions is less expensive than paying more money for the work. Let’s look at a few:

Transparency Enhancement Facilitator – used to be called window washers.

Director of First Impressions – used to be called receptionists.

Beverage Dissemination Specialist – used to be called the bartender

Field Nourishment Consultant – used to be called waiters

Asset Financial Analyst – used to be called accountants

Spin, spin, spin…

2018-03-06_11-16-45.pngFinally, getting serious and to the main point of this post, one of the possible reasons for reimaging is that the current name has too many myths going against it. One of those I am intimately familiar with is “deaf”. Too many people still think “deaf and dumb” when it comes to anyone who has lost or never had the ability to hear.  Yes, there is a small percentage of this population who never manage to become accomplished at reading, writing, or speaking. A significant majority of that particular group were born deaf to deaf parents and were never encouraged to move beyond their deafness, in fact, many celebrate it!

There are about 46 million people in the US who have serious or profound difficulty understanding the spoken word.  About 35 million (80%) of those are or could be helped to one degree or another with hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other technological devices. But what about the other 12 million or so?

About 6.5 million (54%) are senior citizens who have lost their hearing due to aging factors.

About 5 million (42%) are people, like me, who lost their hearing as adults or at least after they became accomplished in the spoken word.

The last 0.5 million are people who were born deaf or became deaf at an early age. Of that group, about 0.1 million never learned to read, write, or speak beyond the fourth-grade level. In the past being born deaf was often due to oxygen tents and other medical procedures. Those mistakes have almost disappeared today and so has the born-deaf population.

Summarizing, the vast majority of the deaf population are anything but dumb. Many are college graduates and almost all have lead productive lives.

Instead of inventing new names for that 98% of the current deaf population we should all, especially those of us who are deaf,  be educating those who are “dumb” on this subject.

If I weren’t out of room on this post I could make the same argument for those with autism. Instead of reimaging the word, the general public needs to be better educated on the subject.

Tomorrow I will talk more about why the topic of labels is so sensitive to me.