“What does silence mean to you? I am deaf, so my silence is different than yours. It is a world of madness, isolation, vulnerability and misunderstanding. The only voice in my head is mine. It has taken me a long time to come to peace with that.
I have had a cochlear implant in my left ear for about 20 years and have had an identity crisis the last three or four years because I am losing hearing in my right ear. I still had some residual natural hearing in my right ear, which I aided with a hearing aid. But the hearing was still going away.
In December I went to see the Louisiana Orchestra with a girl I was dating. The highlight was the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ by Handel and I could barely hear it. It is very loud and bombastic and when I couldn’t hear it, I knew my hearing was gone. I started spiraling downward in isolation and didn’t feel connected because I couldn’t hear people. I got some help to try and understand myself. I came out and began the implant process in my right ear. I had the surgery three weeks ago and on Friday I am having the implant activated. I probably won’t like it the first time around because it takes time to adjust the equalizer and it won’t be perfect the first time. We will have to keep tweaking it. I am better off now than I was in December.
I was diagnosed when I was 14-months-old and had my first hearing aid three months later. I was raised as auditory verbal. I don’t know sign language but I need to learn it to be more whole. I am deaf and there will always be a disconnection from the rest of the world. I need to be at peace with that and know there is another way to be a part of it. Sign language is a part of that.
No one else in my family is deaf. I have two older sisters and they have always been devoted to me. My mother spent a lot of time with me and my sisters didn’t resent it. Somehow my mom made it work for all of us.
I am a lawyer and finished my project at work. I come down here and read. I call my headphones my thread of life because through this I can connect with music and music makes me happy. I have an affinity towards Beethoven. He wrote the 9th Symphony in his head. He was deaf and couldn’t hear it either. His piano sonatas are beautiful
I want to go back home to New Orleans. I feel like I belong there. It helps to tell my story so someone else can understand.”