This was my first deaf Christmas. Is there a difference between a hearing and a deaf Christmas? Let me first give you some background about me:
1. I was born and raised Jewish but accepted Jesus as Savior (Messiah) when I turned 13.
2. I am 41 years old
3. I didn’t buy my own Christmas tree and celebrate until my mid-20’s
4. I went deaf April 2012
This Christmas I wanted to make sure I had control of my environment as much as possible since I am sensitive to loud sounds. I have to say recovering from mastoiditis is not easy. Now that Christmas is over I have to say it went pretty well. I was around people who understood my situation, so if I needed a break from my hearing aids I would pull them out and go rest. I said, “I am taking out my hearing aids”, which was their cue that I needed them to look me in the face so I could read their lips. I do find wearing hearing aids tiring sometimes and need to rest my ears. For those who don’t have hearing problems, imagine wearing a plug in your ear 24 hours a day and the only time you would take them out is when you shower. That’s my life. There are many days I wear these puppies all day and all night unless my ears hurt. Anyway, if I pull out my hearing aids and someone has something to say to me they better know to look me in the face if they want to talk to me. I think of all the two weeks of Christmas and New Years I had one bad day when I couldn’t wear my hearing aids but had to wear earplugs instead.
I have to say having a deaf Christmas is better than a hearing one. I can enjoy the silence. I still hear some sound (vibration) and I remember sounds, but “Silent Night . . .Holy Night” is a sweet song. I’ve started to notice how noisy we are. I believe we all need to find a balance between quiet time and conversation. But where do you go to find quiet time? Is it possible to find quiet time? Is there a single place on Earth where one can find silence? I don’t think so-- unless you are deaf like me and remove your hearing aids to limit sound and distractions. But for those who are NOT deaf, I guess the best solution is to find the quietest place possible with the least amount of distraction just to rest the soul. You have to. You actually sleep better at night if you if you take 5-15 minutes a day for quiet time.
Memories are so important to me since I have lost my hearing. I am very fortunate to have 40 years of memories, but there are some in the deaf community who have never heard a sound their whole life. I did wear my hearing aids Christmas morning so I could hear my family opening their gifts. This first deaf Christmas will be memorable because I was given the gift to either rest in the world of silence or listen to silver bells with my hearing aids.
Now, tell me about your Christmas. If you are deaf and have hearing aids or cochlear implant did you turn your device on or have a silent Christmas day? If you are hearing, did you at least try to strive for some quiet time?
Look forward to you reading your comments.
My name is Jeff Swartz and I live in Atlanta, GA. I am married to wonderful wife and have two teenaged daughter.