Do you hear what I hear?
by Eddie Runyon
Another fantastic article as always, Mark. I too, have no desire for a cochlear implant. That is a personal decision by me, even having grown up hard of hearing and raised oralist. Some might even argue that I am still a "hearing wannabe" because I choose to continue using the voice God gave me as long as I can, while also signing when necessary (my signing is equated to watching someone trying to manipulate vienna sausages on toothpicks, LOL).
Do I miss hearing? Yes, to an extent I do. Sure, I would love to be able to hear my kids laugh, call my name and giggle when they wake me up in the morning. That's what I would like to hear. But, I realize that the VISUAL often makes up for the lack of hearing, and I imagine the situation of being able to HEAR them talk, call my name, laugh, etc., but not be able to SEE the smile on their faces, the unabashed joy on their face when they succeed at something, the sun shining on them as they carefreely swing around on the playground, splash through the water in pursuit of yet another swimming medal, run around the baseball field after a hit, the twinkle in their eye when they play a joke on me, or dribble down the court to swish a shot.
I think of all this and I understand perfectly that I have the best of all worlds now, given the situation. Why? because I hear with my heart and mind. I remember the babble of a brook, the chirp of a bird singing on a quiet, dew-soaked morning, the crack of the bat on a well-hit ball, the roar of a crowd after an athletic feat, the sound of beautiful music sung and played well, the wind whistling mournfully through leaf-barren trees on a cold winter's day, the soft sweet nothings whispered from a loved one, and the joyous, racuous laughter of someone hearing a joke or sharing a funny moment with you. I remember, and I apply those sounds from my heart and mind when I SEE them now. I don't have to physically hear them, I hear them in my heart.
The heart and soul of any individual is found in the moments that make them smile. If you have this, you have everything. I fully support those that have cochlear implants and wish them well, same as I do for those who choose to remain deaf and not get the implants. Again, it is not for me, personally. If my kids were to lose their hearing, I would offer them the opportunity and support whichever desire they express. Sometimes parents have to make a tough decision for a child and do the best that they can do, right or wrong. But before making any such decision, I would counsel them and ask, "Do you hear what I hear?"