• Mya Tan

The Little Things You Take For Granted

I’m not really sure how to start this topic without just going straight into it. Having a parent that has a hearing impairment has been both extremely hard and such a cool experience. I’m not sure if that sounds insensitive, but that is really not my intention. There's been a lot of cool things that have come out of it.

My mom wasn't born deaf. When she was around the age of two, she had a giant cyst near her ear, and the removal of it caused her to go deaf. Because she was so young, it didn't affect her much as it would to someone who had their hearing for a long time. Sometimes, my mom tells me a bunch of stories of what life was like for her. Of course there are many funny stories of when she would take out her hearing aids when someone was annoying her, but also the not so funny stories of getting bullied for absolutely no reason other than the fact that she was deaf. It obviously makes me really angry hearing that she had to go through something like that for something she can't control. She had to go to schools far from her house just to have a place she could go to that would help her learn. Sadly, her parents never learned sign language, and they tried to teach her to listen to them so that it would be easier to deal with the situation for them. Due to this, she's gotten really good at lip reading, and she has better speech than people who are completely deaf. Shes hard of hearing by the way. Some people’s hearing is so bad that not even hearing aids can help, but luckily she can and has a better speech.

There have been a lot of unfortunate events that my mom has to go through a lot of the time, and it's not easy for her or the rest of us. Sometimes, I would want to talk to her in-depth about something, but she won't understand it. I don't mean she doesn't understand what I’m saying, but more so what it means. It's hard for her to understand basic things sometimes and it makes me sad to realize it. Wearing masks in stores has been especially hard for her because she doesn't know when someone is speaking to her or what they’re saying, so if I’m there with her, I do my best to either interpret for her, or let them know she isn't being rude and that her hearing is impaired.

One of her least favorite things to attend are family events. She says when there are so many people she feels like a dog. People acknowledge her every once in a while, but she doesn't understand them. Christmas this past year was extremely hard because she didn't understand anyone, and she was trying so hard to make conversation; I tried hard to interpret for her, but she wouldn't look at me to see what anyone was saying, so it was really frustrating for the both of us. Another thing that really sucks is that because she can't hear, she feels she's automatically below people and that she doesn't know anything, so she relies on a lot of people to help her get to where she is. I understand that it could be hard, but I wish she would trust her judgement sometimes. It's also hard when you have a passion for music and the one who is supposed to be closest to you can't hear or understand why it's so important. She never really went to any of my performances when I was in marching band because of it. I always knew it would be like that, but sometimes it really hurt to think about it.

Steering from that subject though, there have been a lot of amazing things that’s happened because of her being deaf. For one, I feel it really is a special thing we have because my brothers, my dad, and I all learned American Sign Language to speak with her, and I'm almost positive it's brought us closer to her. I love signing because it's really fun and it makes her happy to know I care. Did you know that Huntington Beach holds a special event where deaf people all meet up at a couple lifeguard stands and hang out together? I went to one of them with my mom a couple of years ago and it was pretty cool. I love sign language so much that I’d actually really love to possibly be an interpreter on the side. It's such a fun language because your expressions and the energy behind your hands really matter. I tend to show a lot of facial expressions because I'm so used to communicating with my mom using lots of emotion regardless if I'm feeling those emotions or not. It's really cool when you get a nice flow and become fluent.

All in all, I love that my mom is deaf because it has brought us a lot closer together than some children and their parents, and that's all I could really ask for. I love that not very many people experience this because it in a way makes me feel special. Like it's an ability I have unlocked. I know how stupid that sounds but it's how I feel. I strongly suggest learning sign language because it would really make a deaf person’s day, especially if you learn the basics like your name, “thank you,” you’re welcome,” “water,” “food,” and “bathroom” -- just to name a few. I also suggest learning sign language from a deaf person because hearing people tend to mess up a lot of signs (that's at least what a lot of deaf people have told me).

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