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What can deafness teach me?

January 5th, 2014 by | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

Written by Crystine Kim

There are many things that we will always learn in our everyday life. But for me, my deafness has taught me many things while I was growing up.  I can’t forget these lessons I learned because they make a big impact in my life.  I would like to share my lessons with you.

Forgive others for their ignorance  - I face this very often because not many people have awareness of what it is like to be deaf.  It’s not their fault because they don’t alway do it on purpose.  Ignorance is bound to happen and is not something to stress about.  Yes, a lot of people make assumptions that we are stupid because we can’t hear, but it’s very important to educate and help others so they can be more aware.  Educating them can bring down their own ignorance.

“I-can-do” Attitude - That’s an essential thing to have in life, as I always have tried to show people that my deafness don’t prevent me from doing something that I love to do such as socializing and going to college. What I can do should matter more than what I can’t do.  I just can’t hear but I can do anything.

Patience - I learn to be patient.   I sometimes have trouble speaking or being understood by others.  So, I try harder to speak more clearly and repeat what I say.  Other people learn patience too.  Why?  There are times when I have to ask people to repeat what they are saying to me.   If there were no patience, I wouldn’t be connecting with other people.

See others for who they are inside - Everyone has different qualities that we don’t see that are so worth knowing. The outside doesn’t matter at all.

Eye Contact - I know that hearing people don’t have to use them because they can hear without looking at people.  But, eye contact is a sign of respect, and it shows that we are listening to the person.  Having eye contact also shows that we are making an effort to really connect with the person deeper.

Enjoy my own company - There many times when I felt left out when socializing with people because I didn’t understand what they were discussing.  So, I relied on myself to keep myself a company.  That’s amazing because there are many other things to explore in the whole world by just observing your surroundings. There’s many things that you may not see if you don’t pause and observe.  Maybe you could take a few minutes to do it.

Compassion - It is an important virtue towards others who are experiencing similar struggles in life, and it allows us to connect to and relate with others.

Live with challenges - Because I learned how to overcome challenges by proving myself and communicating with others, I am prepared to handle other challenges.

Being unique is never wrong. 

Love others even if they have flaws. – NO ONE IS PERFECT.

Strength -  I learn to build strength, as I have to work hard to prove myself that I can do anything and prove other people wrong.  Life is something that we make out of it.

Silence is golden! - When removing the cochlear implant, I learn to value the silence such as when I sleep while a baby is crying so loudly or loud music is playing from the next door

IMG_20130903_124606Crystine Kim is a 21 year-old bilateral cochlear implant recipient. She was born profoundly deaf and received first cochlear implant at age 19 and then a second cochlear implant at age 20. She was born in the Philippines and raised in San Francisco Bay Area.  She is currently a 3rd year college student at California State University, Northridge and majoring in Psychology with hopes of becoming a disability service counselor . She uses her voice to communicate and is fluent in American Sign Language.

Are you interested in writing an article for us?  Send us your story idea to cochlear[at]rachelchaikof[dot]com.  


Donald Liveley

January 6, 2014 at 12:43 am

Thanks for your comments and post.


January 22, 2014 at 6:39 pm

What it taught me is how valuable hearing is. The rest is just a battle day to day. I never saw any virtue in being deaf, just more issues to overcome.