By Veronicah Njoroge
Have you ever had a moment when you wondered, what if I couldn’t hear? Not in the sense that you don’t want to hear but simply because you couldn’t? Imagine living in that world whereby all you see is the movements of people’s lips, trying to figure out what they could be saying.
Imagine not being able to attend your current school because you need “special” care; not being able to know what your friends’ voices sound like, not being able to listen to music and those beats that automatically get you in a mood. Imagine not knowing what your own voice sounds like, people looking at you with eyes full of pity simply because another person (who in most cases is there because they are being paid) has to be “your” ears. Imagine not being able to find a job because employers think you will not be of much importance as that person who can’t hear
The day to day tasks that we see people take for granted can mean the world to this group of people. A community that is not defined by race or gender. The deaf people.
In the past, the deaf have faced a lot of ignorance from the society especially in getting information regarding trending affairs. If they need to watch news on television channels, locally for instance, these people need interpreters. This is despite the fact that hearing loss is not associated with the rich or poor.
What about that deaf person who cannot afford an interpreter but still needs to watch news and cannot afford a newspaper on daily basis? How many TV stations have their own interpreters for the sake of that part of their audience that cannot hear?
Some of these people have no option but to practice reading other peoples lips. If you, an able person, have personally tried doing it, you can second it wouldn’t appear in the list of the easy tasks.
So, the next time you sit with your friends in that cafeteria and make fun of that deaf person think twice because what goes around will definitely come around. Ask yourself some reality-check questions like; what if you gave birth to a child that can’t hear? What if that person that you love the most lost their hearing ability
A large number of people among the deaf community have “found” their ears in their hands, especially in sign language or in reading lips.
Although a lot of challenges have been facing the deaf, major strides have been made as well. These include:
Sign languages- American Sign Language (ASL) for example, a language “spoken” by the deaf community in the United States of America, parts of Canada and some countries that speak English.
Cochlear implants- these are surgically implanted electronic devices that provide sense of sound to deaf people or a person who is severely hard of hearing. This has been another major advancement especially because it stimulates hearing just like hearing aids and acoustical urns.