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Living between deaf and hearing worlds

between deaf and hearing worlds
I have been hard of hearing all my life. For a long time, I felt like I lived in between deaf and hearing worlds. I could never be part of the full conversations of the hearing world. Yet I didn’t grow up with any deaf education or any deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) peers. The middle was isolating.

Discovering a Community In Between Deaf and Hearing Worlds

As I navigate through the world of hearing loss on social media, I am discovering that the spectrum of hearing loss is wide and varied. This tiny space of in-between deaf and hearing worlds that I thought was my own is actually quite large. It comprises of people who are newly diagnosed, coming to terms with their lifelong hearing loss, or those who are afraid of identifying as Deaf. It also includes people who yearn who learn sign language as well as those who already know some sign. Some people are angry, while others are happy.

The conversation about this space is new to me. In the past it felt like you either were or weren’t part of the deaf community. Now many people are speaking up on social media. It turns out that it’s not so black and white but gray. This quiet isolated space is in fact quite crowded. A conversation has started about this community.

“This quiet isolated space is in fact quite crowded.”

Read more: Why lowercase “d” deaf culture matters

Going from Isolated to Connected

My in-between space is no longer alone. It is now peaceful. My world is much more connected. What changed?

  • My personal growth, journey, and acceptance. I stepped away from my shyness and fear of annoying others.
  • Advocating. The more I advocated, I realized that people are genuinely interested, and most times want to help.
  • Love. My self-acceptance and willingness to take risks increased.
  • My kids. They are also hard of hearing and I do share my world with them a bit.
  • Connections and reaching out. Social media is a strange place, but it’s connected me with so many others who have different experiences yet share the same thoughts. There’s comfort in that.

Growing Your Community

I think it’s important for those with a hearing loss to reach out and explore their community. It’s important to connect and share your stories with others who may have the same feelings as you.

Read more: Finding community in the deaf/Deaf world

Here are some ways you can meet deaf and hard of hearing peers:

  • Check for events through social channels where you may find meet-ups (after the pandemic).
  • Check your local Facebook groups to see if there are other DHH people in your area.
  • Connect with your local HLAA (Hearing Loss Association of America) chapter or other association that may hold events for DHH individuals
  • Take a sign language class. There are many people with hearing loss who take sign language classes later in life.
  • Use social media to follow others with hearing loss.

Read more: Follow these inspiring deaf Instagrammers

As more people speak up, connect, and share their stories, we discover that we’re not as alone as we thought. Let’s continue to share our stories!

Author Details
I’m a Hard of Hearing mom, originally from Canada and living in Southern California. When I’m not running my brand and design studio, I share stories online about raising my two Hard of Hearing daughters and advocating for hearing loss awareness.