Hear's to You - An Amusing Look at Hearing People

(Note: this spoof on hearing people is brought to you courtesy of Handwave Publication's Anything But Silent.)

As a former psychology student I like to observe and analyze society as it whizzes to and fro, quirks and all. Human nature fascinates me. Face it, we’re all nuts. I never get tired of it.

Sometimes I like to sit down in a crowded place and watch how hearing people go about their business. I get my kicks watching them fuss over sound-oriented things that ultimately, don’t really matter. At least not to a deaf guy like me.

Airports are the best place to people-watch. My favorite part is hanging out at the gate with travelers awaiting their next plane. It is here where I’ve discovered that hearing people have a device that rivals the cochlear implant: the amazing cellular implant.

A compact device that can be turned on and off at will, this thing is glued to virtually every hearing person’s ear. It seems like everyone has one and they can’t go anywhere without it. Chittering and chattering into these little cell phones, eyes glazed over as if in a trance, it looks like the Cellular Corporation of the Borg has taken over the country.

The cellular implan -- uh, phone isn’t the only sound-based device that has infiltrated hearing culture. On one visit to the airport I saw a group of teenage girls huddled around a strange black box. They were swaying, snapping their fingers, singing and squealing. Who in blue blazes had brainwashed these poor souls?

Upon taking a closer look, I noticed the girls had slipped a shiny disk into the mysterious black box that pulsated with undecipherable sounds. Sneaking a peek at the disk’s container, I saw a picture of three young blond boys. The container said Hanson.

Whatever these Hanson boys were saying, it must have been incredibly important. The girls were passionately following every single word. Considering that the average attention span for the typical teenager is about 2.4 seconds, this was indeed a formidable accomplishment.

My curiosity eventually got the best of me and I just had to look up these Hanson kids on the Internet when I got home. Eagerly anticipating powerful words of wisdom and inspiration, this is what I discovered:

Mmm bop, ba duba dop Ba du bop, ba duba dop Ba du bop, ba duba dop Ba du.

Huh? Say what? Folks, I’m not making this up. Those are the exact lyrics that had the girls squealing in ecstasy. I scratched my head in bewilderment.

It’s incredible, the effect sound has on hearing culture. Phones, music, radio, it’s everywhere. It’s mind-boggling and appears to have addictive qualities. I can’t help but wonder: With all this noise bombarding them, do these people ever get a chance to hear themselves think?

All right, enough already. I’ve probably alienated all most of my hearing friends by now. Time to get right to the point. And that is: For its own sanity, the deaf community needs to understand how important sound is to the average hearing person.

Why, you ask? So we can modify our approach, put ourselves in the hearing guy’s shoes, and come up with creative ways to educate hearing people that hey, we can do just fine without the frequent input of sound. And if we fail to enlighten the hearing folks, at least we can understand why they feel the way they do.

The fact is, sound is what connects everyone in the hearing world. It is the most popular medium for hearing people to exchange information. It is the basis of communication, education, and entertainment. For most hearing people, the idea of life without sound is simply incomprehensible. The mere thought of losing their hearing freaks them out.

So if you say you’re proud to be deaf, more power to you -- but be prepared to get lots of weird looks. Be prepared to tactfully explain how you can thrive in the visual world of sign language, gestures, facial expressions, TTYs, books, newspapers, and computers.

For good measure, explain that you can utilize your other senses more than adequately enough to compensate for your lack of hearing. But brace yourself for the frustration that comes when people don’t seem to get it.

Don’t let it get to you. Cherish the hearing people who do get it, and be patient with those who don’t. Maintain a healthy sense of humor, understand how different your world of deafness is, and celebrate that difference. Above all, be glad that you’re not among the millions who can’t shake that annoying mmmbop ba duba dop out of their heads.

Ba du bop, ba duba dop…