If She’s Deaf, So What?
My phone rang; I glanced down at it and sighed. Rowan’s pediatrician had been calling me with reminders to set up a second hearing screening. I’d been putting it off ever since she “failed” the first one, when she was born.
I’m not a procrastinator by nature. But for this, I am in no rush.
It isn’t that I’m anxious about the hearing test, or what the results might be. I am just tired of the way doctors and other healthcare professionals treat the whole matter. Like I should be worried, concerned. Like the prospect of deafness is a terrible thing.
Before I go on, here’s little about me: I’m a 20-something wife, momma, teacher. I am the daughter of one hearing parent, one Deaf parent—so, I grew up using both American Sign Language and spoken English to communicate. Even now, I live in two “worlds”—Deaf and hearing.
Did you know that Deafness is a culture? Just like any race or religion has its own norms, taboos, behaviors, literary traditions, art—Deaf culture does, too!
Deaf people value eye contact. They value socialization and conversation (so much so, in fact, that parties or even meetings are known to last hours longer than intended). Deaf people have unique name signs based on physical attributes or personalities. Their language has its own set of grammatical rules, very different from spoken English.
Deaf people are quite proud of their identity. Yes, proud! They don’t see themselves as disabled, nor do they discuss issues associated with their hearing loss.
There are Deaf teachers, scientists, Olympians—you name it. Deaf people aren’t to be considered disabled, but able.
I’m awfully proud of my Deaf heritage.
So. Can you blame me for not being as concerned about hearing loss as the doctor seems to think I should be?
I don’t mean to sound snarky or impatient. I simply wish people would be quicker to accept differences than they are to judge them.
Nyle DiMarco said, “I know that embracing all our identities is the way to thrive and to overcome the limitations and prejudices that surround us.”
Isn’t that true for any culture?
Maybe, I’ll find out that Rowan has some degree of hearing loss. But so what? I won’t try to change her. I’ll embrace who she is, and teach her to do the same. I’ll give her the means to become successful, just like any momma would do for her child.
 Nyle DiMarco is a Deaf celebrity, model, and activist.