Today, a very interesting article appeared on The Limping Chicken blog, situated at http://limpingchicken.com/2017/08/28/joanne-swinbourne-why-i-have-trust-issues-with-audiologists-bsl. It brought up a lot of bad memories which I have tried so hard to forget. But it is blogs like this which remind me that I am not alone. I am forever grateful to Charlie Swinbourne for showing me that there are a lot of Deaf people out there who have encountered the same horrific experiences I have, especially in areas of surdophobia and audism.
I meet people some days who treat me as I am a leper, and the fear I see in their eyes (stay away, I don’t want to catch THE DEAF) is clear as day. Other days, I find people will greet me with pity or suddenly treat me like a young child who has no idea about life, the moment that they realise I am Deaf. Even more pathetic are those who have a distinct “I am better than you” attitude, trying to convince you that you are worthless unless you can hear. For all of those people, I feel true pity. Obviously these people have lived lives which fully shield them from anybody who is remotely different from them. They have no hesitation in trying to make you feel broken, sad or regretful in life for not being able to hear.
The one which will stick in my head the most, however, is the audiologist which broke the news to me that I was profoundly Deaf. Not only did she have one person to break that day (me), but two. My husband shed many tears when she delivered “the news.” The lifestyle changes stampeded our way, with the audiologist telling us that I will never again be permitted to drive, that I will be deported unless I undergo surgery to have a cochlear implant, that this, that that……… the “bullshit train” just rolled on and on. I won’t apologise for that term, as there is no other way to describe her giant web of lies, as she tried so hard to transform me into a desperate woman who will allow her to slice my head open, install a cochlear implant (regardless of the very high risks and high chances that it would not work), and making me feel as worthless as she possibly could. When she finally realised that I would not back down – that I would learn sign language and submerse myself into the world of those in the Finnish Deaf community and American Deaf community, she called me psychotic, insane, and refused me as a patient for the rest of my life. She wished me luck in my deportation. The taxi driver wrote on my whiteboard to surrender my drivers licence to police…… and THAT was when I realised how much of a farce it all was.
The Finnish police were shocked at the advice that I could no longer drive. They were furious at the treatment I had received at the hands of an audiologist, of all people. And it was then that I discovered that they TOO have no trust in people who go out of their way to make Deaf people feel broken. I was told to hang on to my drivers licence, as I would most likely need it the next time I drove the car or rode my motorcycle. And while I do get upset at hearing parents who allow their babies and children to be butchered by Cochlear Implant surgeries, I realise it is not entirely their fault. Had I not encountered Dr Bill Vicars when I did, I most likely would have submitted and had the surgery too.
I’d learned AUSLAN (akin to BSL) at the Deaf Society in Queensland, Australia, in my youth and studied it further at TAFE when I was in my teens. I now learn (and will forever be continuing to learn) ASL at Dr Bill’s web site, ASL University Online (aka LifePrint) for free, and you can also. Don’t pay fees which are there for nothing more than profits to unqualified teachers. Learn directly and easily from a DEAF professor from Sacramento State University, USA. You can contact Dr Bill Vicars at firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂
Audiologists (I have had my fair share of their arrogance and assumptions) are there to assess your level of Deafness…. AND to FIX that. They do not accept the fact that Deaf is normal. They refuse to accept that Deaf is okay. They will drill into your head multiple times each visit that it is a “retarded” state of being, that you are NOT normal, that people will not be able to, nor will be willing to communicate with you. They will even threaten you with DEPORTATION if you refuse to have surgery for a CI so that you will hear. But I stood my ground, refused the surgery, learned sign language from Dr Bill Vicars, and she “diagnosed” me as “retarded” and irrational. Since that day, I have never, for a single moment, trusted any Audiology Department staff, nor I have I trusted any ENR surgeons.
I am Deaf. I am happy. I function well in society and even publish my own (and other people’s) books for a living. I have a purpose. I do good for others. Audiologists…. they aspire to have a purpose… but never will. They thrive on instilling sadness, fear and lost hope into the hearing parents of Deaf children, advising them that the ONLY option is to do surgery on their head and make them hear. Audiologists are the epitome of audism and intolerance in a Deaf world.
I am happy with my life and I am content. I no longer feel the pressure, inadequacy and “brokenness” which I was forced to try and feel when I was diagnosed as profoundly Deaf… and that is the way it should be. Peace out.