“I think it’s quite true that very often people who try to break out of their perceived cage do get punished for it, whatever that cage is.” *
Is our hearing loss (or deafness) a cage where the absence of sounds are the bars holding us back? The lack of speech comprehension in people with hearing loss befuddles our human interactions.
We are stretched to “belong” – where do we belong? Do we dare to break out of our cages? Face punishment of some sort from one of many potential angles?
Yes, many of us do. We know we do not belong in a cage.
Some find a community of sign language users. Most millions do not use sign language however. Some with milder hearing loss find comfort and support in hearing loss groups, or with hearing aids and other “listening” technologies. Some undergo surgery for implants and the average improvement is about 55% hearing in the implanted ear (for some, better, for some worse), depending, as with all devices, on the situation, the voices, and the acoustics. For most, there is no cure or correction such as eyeglasses – we are far from that still.
And many others, with greater hearing loss, deafness, or knowing hearing loss is progressively worse over the years, where do we belong?
We don’t ask for this human difference. We rage, or we are proud, or we fall someplace along that spectrum, in our thoughts and feelings about being different this way – hard of hearing, deafened, or deaf.
We do deserve the resources to level the playing field. We deserve and must continue to ask for the quality captioning we need for all media online, on television, at the cinema, and in the theater.
We do deserve live event captioning also, for learning in school, for life-time learning in many places, and also online now (webinars and live events of all sorts online today). We need live captioning for face to face meetings in groups, conferences, and community events of all sorts.
The quote about a cage reminds us of another saying we find soothing at times = “no good deed goes unpunished.” The cage image is even more powerful. On top of being punished, a cage restricts, erases our freedom, and reduces our humanity to a basic animal level.
And then the double meaning – in a cage, or breaking out – it can be punishing – either one!
Breaking out is worth it. Finding ways with others to open new gates, explore new roads and groups, and also new technologies. We build resistance, we find allies, and we learn. There’s nothing wrong with aiming for new ideas about how to make yourself and the world better.
Wounds will heal, and inclusion happens, hopefully sooner than later, if we keep talking and also channel energies into actions. We don’t all agree on many things, including how to achieve the CCAC mission (inclusion of quality captioning universally), yet we need to connect in ways that make sense to both or all persons involved.
Carry on. Keep calm. Caption the World.
*Quote from Keira Knightly, actress, in The International Herald Tribune, October 23, 2015, page 9 under Culture.