I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas/Hanukkah/whatever-Holiday-you celebrate! I’ve decided to create a blog based on my life experiences as a deaf individual. Why? Since I’ve started college this past August, I’ve found it difficult to explain my deafness to my new friends. I would usually say “Oh yeah, by the way I’m deaf. I might not hear you right away, but just tap me if you need my attention” or something along those lines. However, my short explanations don’t allow them to fully understand or grasp the complexity of my deafness. Yes, being deaf is very simple. You’re deaf, which means you basically can’t hear anything. But, when you are a Cochlear Implant user, like myself, this complicates the process of explaining to people that you’re deaf, but you can hear. Pretty ironic right? Nonetheless, I wear two cochlear implants, which supposedly give me only seventy percent of average hearing. What fails to be mentioned or included in my explanations is my not-so-perfect ability to understand people, even with cochlear implants. (Thank god for lip-reading, which I will talk more in depth about later…). Side note if I’m losing you: I can speak and talk just like any normal person, but I may not hear everything being said if it’s noisy or people are mumbling. My cochlear implants, contrary to what some may think, are not like glasses. When I put them on, my ears don’t suddenly become “perfect” the way glasses perfect peoples’ eyes. According to the Mayo Clinic, a cochlear implant is: “an electronic device that partially restores hearing in people who have severe hearing loss due to damage of the inner ear and who don’t benefit from hearing aids”. Since I am profoundly deaf, I rely on my two cochlear implants to be active in the mainstream world…that is, the hearing world. Many of you will notice two devices behind my ears. Even though I refer to them as Cochlear Implants, they are technically called “processors”, which transmit the sounds from my cochlear implants. I promise you, I will explain all of these complicated terms to you in my next post.
For those of you who don’t know me, thank you for stopping by! My name is Alanna, and I am currently a freshman, studying Film and Television at Boston University. I was diagnosed with profound deafness at 10 months in early 1996. Soon after, I was fitted with hearing aids that proved to be of little help. I remember hearing barely anything with them. Luckily, in April 2000, I received my first cochlear implant in my right ear, and my second one in my left ear in December 2004. After getting my cochlear implants, it was like I could suddenly hear sound. For the first time in my life, I could hear my mom say “Alanna” in a nice, clear, crisp voice. My dad? Having little hearing with hearing aids prior to my getting cochlear implants didn’t even matter…you can hear his voice from a mile away. I had a pretty good sense of what his voice sounded like. Getting cochlear implants dramatically improved the quality of my life. I entered mainstream school in 1st grade and graduated from High School in June 2014. Prior to mainstream school, I attended an all-deaf preschool and kindergarten class, which was a tiring two-hour drive to and from where I live. I also have a younger fourteen-year-old sister, Valerie, who is extremely interested in books and music. My two cats, Thomas and Alex, and my beloved golden retriever, Jackson, make up the rest of the family. I enjoy travelling, writing, television shows, movies, hanging out with friends, and exploring what’s to be discovered.
One of the things that really made me want to start this blog was a comment that was not at all offensive, but very thought provoking. Someone said to me at one point that she didn’t know how to act around me when we first met because of my deafness. Thus, I hope to mend or close any gaps between the hearing and deaf world, and simply show that there’s nothing to be afraid of. This blog will serve to act as my online diary, highlighting my experiences (past, present, future) being deaf, thoughts about how I cope with my experiences, life in general, advice and lessons I give and receive, and miscellaneous thoughts. I sincerely hope you enjoy reading my future posts. Please, please don’t hesitate to ask any questions!