(Rob not entirely as shown.)
I am hard of hearing and so is my good friend, Mog. And so are a lot of people. In fact, one in eight to ten people are hard of hearing or deaf (depending on the survey). We are everywhere... mwhahaha! But, in our increasingly noisey and aging world, the ratio of people who are hard of hearing or deaf will only increase. So, look out! ;-)
With so many people in our communities who are hard of hearing or deaf, our communities are very unaware of what hard of hearing or deafness is, what are the issues faced by people experiencing these conditions, what solutions are available, what solutions could be available, etc. Hearing loss is invisible and quite often the issues that people with hearing loss* face are also invisible.
This invisibility allows discrimination, social stigmas and negative stereotypes to flourish, to go unchallenged and to go unaddressed, often placing people who are hard of hearing or deaf feeling as though they are second-class citizens.
I'm very much a believer in 'walking in someone else's shoes' in trying to understand various experiences of the world. I like it so much, I went and got myself a degree in it. The hook, for me, is that understanding a person, a group's or a culture's point of view from their point of view, is an effective way to understanding, not just knowing. I believe that understanding links 'how it is' to 'how it could be.' I believe a 'Black Like Me' experience is an effective practise in understanding.
A while ago, Mog and I were discussing our frustrations about some ignorant a-holes and their seeming inability to comprehend why people can take offense to insults, jokes and put-downs about their disabilities. I shouldn't really call them a-holes; it's not like me to want to offend anyone's anus.
Anyways, Mog and I went on to talk more seriously about the frustration of not being understood, of not having our experience understood. And not just understood by a-holes but by just 'regular folk'; our hearing friends, acquaintances, family and society, in general.
Enter Rob and his purple squishies. Somewhere along the line Mog asked Rob to try being hard of hearing or deaf for a day. He was insane enough to agree! ;-)
Here's Rob's report and here's Mog's report. Kudos to you both!
If anyone reading this wants to try being hard of hearing or deaf for a day, let me or Mog know!
* I am aware that I can seem an audist here to anyone reading this who identifies themselves as Deaf, ie, culturally Deaf and I apologize for this. I walk on the edge of a sword here, being hard of hearing and experiencing that very much as a personal loss and having an awareness of Deaf culture, please understand my position.