The trick is to not fall into the labels quagmire, or get sucked into challenging your own ID by those who can not do anything else. Us Hybrid deaf don't need the angst the rest seem obsessed with.
I’m too hard of hearing to be considered part of the hearing world, but I’m not deaf enough to be considered part of the Deaf world.
I was born with a moderate bilateral high-frequency hearing loss. According to my family, I had enough hearing to adapt to the hearing world and attend mainstream school. I struggled through school, not only to hear my teachers ― some of whom begged for my parents to get me hearing aids ― but also to hear my classmates. I felt isolated and disconnected from people most of the time, even though my mother is deaf and the Deaf world was part of my life.
I experienced the jokes, bullying and rejections of growing up hard of hearing in a world where everyone can hear. Yet I did learn how to adapt to the hearing world. I learned to read lips, decipher body language, and find patterns in daily activities to predict conversations. (People are predictable.) I even use reading to learn new words so it will be easier for me to grasp words within conversations.
I’m grateful that I understand at least 85 percent of most conversations around me. I can glide around mainstream culture and act as if I have normal hearing even if I’m not wearing my hearing aids. If I’m not wearing my hearing aids, I pretend I can hear everything when I really don’t, just to be part of the hearing world. The truth is I miss words and nod to inaudible conversations while smiling. Sometimes, I depend on other people to tell me what’s going on. On most days, that works. I use my phone flash for notifications and captions to watch TV. I ask people to repeat themselves, and I can’t follow a group conversation in a noisy restaurant.
I can’t walk and listen at the same time. I need to see a person’s face to get the full conversation. I have to strain to hear certain voices ― like children’s ― even if I have hearing aids. The aftermath is that I get exhausted more easily. Then I avoid these necessary social interactions, even if I want to be a part of them. These challenges leave me feeling isolated, lonely and fatigued. The truth is I miss words and nod to inaudible conversations while smiling. Sometimes, I depend on other people to tell me what’s going on. I don’t feel like I fit into the hearing world. But I don’t fit into the Deaf world either.