I’m Deaf and I’m Happy

There aren’t many deaf people in the world today. In fact, according to World Federation of the Deaf, only about 5% of the world population is deaf. This is why many people don’t know how deaf people feel and think. Most people look at deaf people and feel pity, and pray that they are able to get their hearing back someday. While this is a kind gesture, it is an appeal to popular opinion to assume that all deaf people want their hearing back. Although some deaf people want their hearing back, this is not true in all cases.

Taking American Sign Language classes throughout high school, along with being surrounded by deaf family members, I have realized that not all deaf people want to be “cured.” My aunt once told me that not being able to hear was part of her lifestyle; she never like it disabled her. When I told her about getting a cochlear implant, which can sometimes allow deaf people to hear, she told me she didn’t want it. She used the phrase “why fix something that’s not broken.” That really resonated with me.

Like I originally thought, my friends also believed that my aunt would want an implant. That is when I realized that this was popular opinion. It was through no fault of my friends that they believed this, but it just simply was not true. In my ASL class, we had a speaker come in who suggested that in her community, hearing people are pitied. She felt like she was able to enjoy the little things in life more because she was not able to hear. Whether that is true or not, it was interesting to see that she would want to live her life no other way, especially not with an efficient use of her ears. The popular opinion is that the speaker would be ecstatic if she could gain her hearing back, but in reality she would deny the opportunity and continue to live what she thought was a normal, maybe above average, quality of life.

Many people may believe that all the deaf people in the world want to change their life to where they can hear. Interestingly enough, that is only true for some people, and is an appeal to popular opinion that many deaf people would disagree with.

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