Thursday, September 23, 2010

Deaf Awareness Week

Sign language alphabet
From the chair in my office I can currently hear:
  • The air conditioner in my office building whirring.
  • Keys on my computer's keyboard clicking.
  • Colleagues down the hall quickly chatting.

When I step outside there'll be:
  • Birds chirping.
  • Bugs buzzing.
  • Radios playing in passing cars as their engines purr (or putz) and their tires crunch minuscule gravel on the road.

This morning, I missed a call from my boss because I didn't hear my phone ring while on the metro and it caused a two hour period of intense work. All because I couldn't hear my phone for a few minutes in a tunnel.

But what if I could never hear my phone? What if I could never hear my doorbell ring, or my alarm clock go off, or that pesky alert-thing from Outlook that tells me it's time for my next meeting?

As we go about our hearing lives this week, take a moment to reflect on what it might be like to be deaf in today's society. Sure, research has done marvelous things to help people (like me) be able to hear and there are a number of fabulous ways that deaf Americans have adapted to living in a hearing society; but we are just that - a hearing society.

What would your day have been like if you couldn't hear today?

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