Monday, March 4, 2013

Listen Up

Tonight is a very special night.  It’s a night when girls who can’t hear – and maybe some girls switched at birth – will gather around the television to watch the show that has made both groups of gals part of the mainstream (if ABC Family counts as the mainstream).  They’ll be watching a very special episode of “Switched at Birth” that’s inspired by the Deaf President Now protests that occurred at Gallaudet University.  The episode will be presented entirely in American Sign Language (ASL) – the first mainstream show to ever do that. 

I expect it to be a very quiet episode.  Except when they play the music in the background over the really intense parts.  That always makes me wonder if deaf people hear music in their heads when they’re signing.  Especially when someone robs their taco truck. 
It’s kinda like how I hear the music in my head nowadays.

So, I have a confession to make.  I haven’t been listening to you.  It’s a bit of a switch – it used to be that I couldn’t hear you.  Now, I’m just not listening to you. 
Not when I’m in my cubicle typing away.  Not when I bee-bop down the hall.  Not when I grab a jar of applesauce in the supermarket.

If you happen to talk to me and I don’t respond, it’s not because I didn’t hear you or even that I was ignoring you.  I’m just not listening to you.  I’m listening to the music to my head.  And sometimes voices. 
Have I gone crazy?  It’s up for discussion but I think not. 

It’s a recent development, you see. 
A couple of months ago, I got a new-fangled hearing aid complete with a streaming microphone.  So, I can plug it into to my iPod and stream the Top Gun soundtrack right into my hearing aid.  And as long as I’m within 20-30 feet of my receiver, I can hear the music.  Which makes going to the printer so much more fun. 

But the music is one thing – I mean anybody with an iPod and ear buds can do that. 
The major thing – that is both technologically amazing and loads of fun – is that I can clip the microphone to a willing friend’s shirt (they’ve all been willing which goes to show that no one minds having a girl with a hearing aid around) and when they talk, their voice is literally right inside my head.  Which comes in handy when I need answers for spelling tests.  I’m just kidding.  I have ethics! 

While I don’t use it day-to-day – except to listen to music – it does open up a whole new world of possibilities.  Okay, mostly just in the area of seating arrangements or when walking down the hallway with people.  As one friend pointed out when I showed her my new device – it doesn’t matter what side she’s on!  Left, front, back, she’ll be right there in my right ear.  Pretty cool, right?
On a serious note, I’m pretty lucky that I can hear with the assistance of a hearing aid – and even without my new fangled accessories, I made out pretty well.  Even if some of my friends did have to stay on my right side.    

But being one of those girls who can’t hear, I’m excited about tonight’s show although I won’t be able to understand a word of it since I don’t know sign language.
I guess I’ll just have to listen closely. 

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