I’m sorry for last night: a misunderstanding worsened by me and time zones so I’d accept responsibility for it if there is any responsibility. Upon not picking his call, I told him I preferred to text at the time rather than a call. He kept calling. I did not pick the calls. He insisted he was not interested in texting and seemed to feel I was deliberately avoiding him by not calling at the time, which I didn’t intend, please. And by now, though I’d still call, he’d have slept.

I’m sorry for any hurt I’ve incurred to him, her, and the family.

I’m the one who’s deaf and away here, and I bear the brunt of any communication rifts really. In his defense, he is not particularly insensitive because he doesn’t call incessantly and has tried walking me through this valley he’d never innately know. It’s the weekend, so I do not feel disturbed in any way. Plus being so far away, my family deserves to hear my voice.

It’s just that sometimes it feels implicitly phonocentrist – making sounds and speech inherently superior to, or more primary than, written language or sign language. To me, it’s similar to hearies interrogating my deaf accent and why I don’t sing in tune, estranging me on the premise of a bandwagon fallacy that ‘everybody’ sings and instinctively calls their loved ones.

That is nothing but erasure, no matter how subtle.

I’m privileged to interact with circles of mostly hearies and be able to speak. I wish to keep in touch with people but the crux of this is the anxiety of a phone call I’m uncertain hearies can empirically attest to: the listening fatigue, the scrambling for headphones and live captions, turning the volume way too loud, and visuospatial cues which often make one resort to video calls, which are sometimes just not feasible at the moment. Hence, texts, emojis and voice notes are preferable since I can replay them.

Calls can be exhausting. And this is not to evoke pity or faithlessness; it’s just a note. Also, the rhetorics of “You’re not really deaf” or “Don’t say you’re deaf, you are “special” “ bears tones of imposition and internalized audism. If I were completely Deaf, what’d be the case? Educate yourself on the nuances of hearing loss, on deaf/ Deaf communities, just so we know what’s up. I know you can claim to love me but if you don’t really know who you’re loving or what they face, then don’t impose anything on them, blame, or gaslight them.

I am not looking for hearing saviors. Salvation means more than that. I agree that faith calls things not as they were, but it doesn’t necessitate being anti-hearing aids or anti-deaf identity studies, does it? I used to be, as I waited for a hearing miracle, but now I’m back to hearing aids – a privilege not all people with hearing loss, severe or moderate, get to have. Faith isn’t even about hearing aids or my ears, it means much more. So do not reduce the nuances of hearing loss to “special,” name what is at hand. Who should do the naming: hearing loss, hard of hearing or deaf?

It should be me.

Hearing aids are not like eyeglasses, the nuances are different: they give a sense of hearing, not hearing, and they are not superlatively perfect. Sound perception is not the same as speech detection. A hearie who tells a deaf person he is not interested in sign languages or texting or captions is being oblivious to how language transcends sound. The same way a hearie might feel stressed by having to type or sign is perhaps akin to a deaf person’s listening fatigue – not trying to equivocate here, just juxtaposing an instance. That said, I don’t intend to aggravate the whole deaf palaver or vindicate deliberately going incommunicado. I’m only giving a little context to any ludicrous act of mine, if that helps in anyway. Not trying to toe the defensive, just indicating how it is not just deafness that renders the deaf incommunicado in predominantly auditory contexts; it’s often implicit phonocentrism.

I am uncertain of this statement, not in the sense of its veracity deaf-culture-wise but how well understood this is. That said, I apologize for any miscommunication and misunderstanding. I’d be down to call everyone today – him, her, and the rest of the family.


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