First come the easy questions that lull you into a false sense of security. Skippy or Jif? Crest or Colgate? PC or Mac? Coffee or tea?
The answers come quickly and easily: Skippy, Colgate, PC, and Both.
But then come the big guns. Lose an arm or a leg? Drown or burn? Deaf or blind?
These are much more difficult. You’re not as confident about your answers as you were about your brand loyalty. You tend to suggest a third option: Really, I’d rather just slip quietly away in my sleep with all my limbs intact, thank you.
For the last question, however, I have no hesitation. It has always been as easy as knowing that I prefer Nestlé Quik to Ovaltine. As a child, I used to walk around the house with my eyes closed to experience what it would be like to be blind. I usually didn’t last very long, which helped me understand that I would choose deafness over blindness any day of the week. This feeling was confirmed the minute I started learning about American Sign Language. Continue reading →
One of the latest sensations to be headed around Cyberland is a video of 29-year-old Sloan Churman, a woman who had been born deaf and lived with severe-to-profound hearing loss her whole life. Last week, the You Tube video of her hearing her voice for the first time went viral. She had undergone surgery to receive Envoy Medical’s Esteem Implant, which is similar to but not the same thing as a cochlear implant.
To be perfectly honest, I am torn about the popularity of this video. Of course, it’s lovely to see another human being experience the joy that Churman was clearly caught up in. It’s impossible not to feel happy for her.
The issues surrounding language and the deaf, however, are hugely complicated and I couldn’t help but be reminded of them as I watched Churman’s tears of joy. I wondered how many would be saddened or angered by this video for various reasons, and how many more would consider themselves to be actually informed after simply watching this briefest of views into one experience of one deaf woman. Continue reading →