November 2017
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watching a show with Deaf characters and thinking about my relationship to hearing


icon: "distance (two hands (from two people) just barely apart, facing each other palm to palm)"

Been watching a show with Deaf main characters and I feel such relief when a hearing person remembers that a character is Deaf and does something besides vocalize to get their attention. It's really obvious and necessary in that case but the idea of people doing that when talking at me is such a relief it makes me cry. I can't stand ignoring people- it feels incredibly disrespectful and I wouldn't even do it to someone I hated- but people don't know that or don't trust that so I feel constantly at risk of accidentally making someone feel ignored. This is incredibly annoying when someone calls my name from a room away and shouts something that I can't understand, because I feel impelled to go to them lest I ignore them. In general it takes so much energy to always have my antennae up to catch if someone has started talking to me. That's one of the reasons I need housemates to assume we are not going to just randomly strike up conversation. If I think they might just start talking to me it means I can't even relax at home.

To have someone make sure you can see their face when they talk to you, that also would be such a relief (though in the show, I mainly keep noticing hearing people not pointing their faces so that Deaf people can see them). I think I subconsciously read lips to help process things and if I can't see someone talk it is much harder to understand (part of why I hate talking on the phone - it takes so much effort). I wish people weren't such ableist shitheads in general and also because in a world without ableism I could ask for these accommodations and actually get them just because people would be used to thinking that everyone has different needs. But our world only makes accommodations when forced to and your average person doesn't want to think about non-average needs or desires.

I don't understand why my auditory processing seems to have gotten worse, but it has. I feel like I'm watching through dense fog when I watch a show without subtitles. Good thing I read fast, otherwise that relaxation technique would be gone.

I keep thinking about how culture and language is so entwined and wondering what it feels like to communicate exclusively in sign. I notice a totally different cadence, and so much more facial expressiveness. I really want to learn to sign, to learn how it feels to think in gestures.

Sometimes when I am really emotional I find it extremely difficult to speak, but I don't find it hard to communicate. I can write or gesture but making sound come out of my mouth feels impossible. One time this happened to me and there was someone around who knew sign language. I felt so incredibly relieved because even though I didn't know how to sign, they could understand my gestures and sort of interpret for me. I think there's a kind of watching that hearing people just generally never do. I want to learn to watch that way.

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Comments
fayriekisses ══╣╠══

Sign language is so beautiful. I know the alphabet, but I want to learn more. I've been scoping out classes in my area and I plan on taking one within the next year.


I watch television and movies with the subtitles on too. If I don't, I lose half of what is going on. They talk too quickly! I miss all sorts of subtle cues. I realized I was having a problem understanding television shows when my friends and I would talk about it afterwards and I couldn't recall a lot of the things that were said.


I need time to process things. I hate how we aren't allowed to do so in our world.

belenen ══╣pensive╠══
oh, I would SO love to take classes. I need a practice buddy.

I need time to process things. I hate how we aren't allowed to do so in our world.

ME TOO. *deep sigh* I feel ya.
ladywind ══╣Bear╠══
THISSSSS. I have Things like this too, and I feel veryvery similarly about phones, folk who cover their faces when they talk to me, spontaneous-conversation involvement, and subtitles. (A thing which works for me and ymmv: Watching English-subbed TV shows in languages I don't understand. It's permission to let auditory processing take a powder for a little while. And too, it shakes up my immersion in US-Default-centric media tropes. AND and, as a result of so many hours of Korean telenovelas, "AISSSH!" has replaced most of my startle-swearing. ~wry grin~)

IIRC, the facial expressions are in part built into ASL. The sign "big/large" for example covers a lot of ground by itself with the amount of space you make between your hands, but if you want to signify that a thing is REALLY big you'd use the sign AND silently say/mouth "cha!".
A link I dig, because of its use of vids & sequential still images: http://www.lifeprint.com/index.htm
belenen ══╣ADD-PI╠══
oh, yes, and ducking their head while talking to me! I just can't! I can understand the impulse but it just makes it so hard for me.

I looooooooove watching shows in some other language. Rita is my favorite, omg.

Oh, that site has the potential to be more of a time-suck for me than wikipedia or tv-tropes. Love it! thanks!
shadowbaby4 ══╣╠══

I know exactly where you're coming from! I'm hard of hearing myself, and I have a really hard time understanding speech when I can't see people's faces as they talk. Taking an ASL course was a fantastic experience for me. It was emotional, too, to realize that if I could just get people to face me more or flick the lights when they want my attention, my life would be so much easier. Are you watching Switched At Birth? That show was a revelation to me, too. It helped me shed so much shame I didn't know I'd been carrying about my hearing loss.

belenen ══╣heart in my throat╠══
Yes! I was watching Switched at Birth (went through it wayyy too fast but I just couldn't help marathoning). It is amazing in so many ways, I love it, LOVE it.
not_hothead_yet ══╣╠══
I have auditory processing disorder as well and I do read lips too. I don't ask or explain I just TELL people to please face me when they are talking. Most folks don't bat an eye they just do it.

I learned ASL when I was in the interpreter program at the local college. Its a beautiful language but it is a language - it has its own syntax and structure. It has elements that aren't even in English. Its worth learning. However, Deaf culture is very insular and can be intimidating. If you learn ASL, they can be very accepting but they are also very cautious and quick to shut you out. With good reason. Go learn ASL, its worth the work it takes. Just take some classes at your local college but be sure they are teaching actual ASL not Pidgin or SEE.
not_hothead_yet ══╣╠══
also, APD does get worse with age. It's a brain-based problem so naturally as you get older your brain's ability to process quickly slows down. However, you also get better in some ways - whatever tools you use to get around it (lip reading, guessing through context, phonetic match-up) will become more automatic. The problem is when I don't understand, I REALLY don't understand.

Its also possible that you have some other brain-based disorder that is getting worse. I found out I have absence seizures. This creates another layer of difficulty for my APD that I must learn to get around.
not_hothead_yet ══╣╠══
if at all possible, get a personal tutor for ASL who is Deaf. There's no better way to learn it. My tutor become a close friend.
belenen ══╣confused╠══
oh dear, I hadn't thought of that. Maybe I should get checked out. How did you get diagnosed with APD, if you don't mind answering?
belenen ══╣confused╠══
I need to get better about asking.

I love the idea of learning and eventually becoming an interpreter, but I worry that with my difficulty processing I wouldn't be a good one. How do you manage?
raidingparty ══╣╠══
Will have to have a discussion with my partner about "random interjections" and getting each other's attention. I didn't really think about the sharing space aspect, but reading this realized it for me.
belenen ══╣artless╠══
*nodnod* glad to share! it was an important realization for me.
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.