A big part of who I am involves my own hearing loss. I was born hard of hearing, though I was five years old before it was discovered. At that age I was given hearing aids and sent along my merry way. I never fully identified with the term “hearing impaired” or “handicapped”. I felt normal. Different, yes. But ultimately normal.
In college I took an American Sign Language (ASL) course. This class changed my life. I found myself at home with sign language and the Deaf Community. A part of myself that I never knew was empty had become filled.
There is a lot I can write about hearing loss, so I will filter in through in different posts. As a writer I aim to have at least one character with a hearing loss in each of my books. The reasons are quite simple. Firstly it’s a part of who I am, so why not write about what I know? Secondly it’s to spread awareness. Many people think they understand hearing loss. In reality they don’t. For most people it’s a concept. A familiar one so little thought is done beyond the surface. Yet it baffles me what people think as truth. Case in point: I wear two hearing aids. They don’t correct my hearing; they amplify the sound. They are not glasses. They don’t give me 20-20 hearing. They make sounds louder. All sounds: the person speaking, the background noise, the humming of the refrigerator. And not always clearer.
My first novel is set in a high school. I have a strong supporting character who is a teacher of the deaf, and happens to be a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults). In her class are six Deaf students, three of whom have some screen time. The other three unfortunately met a round of cuts and are shivering in a cage somewhere on my computer. Once I’m published I will need to clean up those sections and share it on here.
In the future I plan to have a book where a main character has a hearing loss. I haven’t found the right story yet. In fact I’m struggling to find an appropriate role for hearing loss in a fantasy novel. Should the character be human, dwarf, elf, or pixie? Big role or small one? Leave me a comment with your ideas!