Home > Deaf Ministry, Where I Am Right Now > A Plea for Oral Deafness

A Plea for Oral Deafness

I am Oral Deaf.

This is the plea of my heart. I pray it pierces yours.

I am Oral Deaf.

What does that mean? It means that I am “Oral.” I can talk, and quite well at that. I can talk clearly and understandably. You would not know I am Deaf simply from my ability to speak well. As an “Oral” person, I can function almost exclusively as a hearing person. I can carry on a conversation without needing aids such as writing back and forth or interpreters. I can, because of this gift, embrace hearing culture and ways. I feel “at home” with hearing people. As an “Oral” person, I can blend in with the hearing world almost seamlessly.

I am Oral Deaf.

What does that mean? It means that I am “Deaf.” I cannot hear. Many things that are accessible to my hearing counterparts are unavailable to me. I cannot hear the radio. I cannot hear the voices on television. I cannot hear the laughter of an audience at a comedy club. I cannot hear the melodies of music. I cannot hear the waves on the beach, the songs of the birds, the rolling of the thunder.

I am Oral Deaf.

I can function almost exclusively as a “Deaf” individual. I use Sign Language to communicate with other Deaf people. I embrace the culture that gave me this language. I embrace the people that make this language their first language. I can carry on a conversation with other Deaf people without needing aids such as writing back and forth or interpreters. I can, because of this gift, embrace Deaf culture and ways. I feel “at home” with those who have struggled just as I struggle. I feel brotherhood with those who bear the burdens I bear. I experience unity with those who make a way of life around their Deafness. As a “Deaf” person, I can blend in with the Deaf world almost seamlessly.

I am Oral Deaf.

You say, “You could wear a hearing aid!” Hearing aids do not fill this gap completely. I can hear spoken voices, but I do not necessarily understand everything they are saying. I can hear songs, but I cannot distinguish the lyrics unless I have memorized them first. Mechanical sounds are impossible. I can hear the actors on the television, but I cannot understand them. I can hear the lyrics from the radio, but I cannot understand them. I can hear the voice through a telephone, but I cannot understand a word. Sometimes, I need you to write things down for me. Sometimes, I need you to repeat what you said so I can be sure I understand. Sometimes, I need an interpreter to make your words clear to me. Listening is a task of Herculean proportions. I am forced to spend the majority of my time listening. But, by necessity, it has become second nature to me.

I am Oral Deaf.

I am unique in my own setting. I have a foot in two worlds, hearing and Deaf. I am part of both worlds, but I do not belong to either world 100%. Do not ask me to live by “hearing” rules. Do not ask me to live by “Deaf” rules. Your rules are crowded and suffocating. I don’t want to hear just because you can. I don’t want to be “Deaf” just because I can’t hear. I do not belong to the hearing. I do not belong to the Deaf. I belong to God alone. I want to be the person God made me. I want to be the person that God wants. I want to be myself. That is all.

I am Oral Deaf.

I love who I am. I would not change myself. Why should I sin against God by changing myself? He thought about me long before I was born. He planned my life before I had done anything. He decided that I would be “Deaf.” He decided that I would be “Oral.” I should not reject what God has made me. Instead, I should praise Him and give Him glory for being Deaf. I should praise Him and give Him glory for being Oral.

I am Oral Deaf.

I am between two worlds. Call out to me, and I will speak with my voice to you. Touch my shoulder, and I will sign with my hands to you. Alone, in my world between worlds, I will lift up my hands and my voice and shout to the Lord.

I am Oral Deaf.

This is the plea of my heart. I pray it pierces yours.

I am Oral Deaf.

  1. May 26, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    Thanks for this. Peace to you.

  2. Tee
    May 27, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    I feel the same way myself! Shame that people can not accept that you belong to two worlds. Really the people who belongs to two worlds are more blessed than people who belong to one world. Why? Cuz those who can function in two worlds can help each other understand better. Plus those who can belong to two worlds have a better appreciation of all the struggles that we encounter.

  3. Steve D
    May 29, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    Arent the “labels” supposed to come off when we all get to heaven anyway? Instead of hearing or deaf, instead of baptist or methodist, instead of black or white…we are all gonna end up being God’s children in His kingdom, amen?

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