If you’re relatively new to the world of hearing loss, or if (like me) you’re sort of a latecomer in embracing your identity as someone with hearing loss, there can be a lot to learn about the community itself. You may have seen Deaf or deaf, or D/deaf to refer to both. It’s a simple difference, but a big one.

Deaf, with a capitalized D, refers to a specific deaf culture. Someone who identifies themselves as Deaf likely goes to or went to a school for the deaf, and remains in that cultural and social circle with a lot of pride. The Deaf community correlates with users that rely primarily on sign language; that said, it’s not a requirement for the term at all, but rather their attitude toward their own hearing loss and their passion for the community itself.

With a lowercase “d,” deaf is more of a technical descriptor for significant hearing loss and not a signifier for the cultural belonging seen in the Deaf community. Someone who uses “deaf” may not have strong ties to other deaf community members and may not have attended a school for the deaf. You may find that some people prefer to use the phrase “hard of hearing” rather than deaf, as a way to distance themselves from the social/cultural associations.

As for me (I wear a hearing aid in my “good” ear and am nearing total deafness in the other), I’m not sure which of these I fit into. I was placed into a mainstream school, use hearing aids, haven’t used sign language since I was a small child, don’t spend time with other deaf people, and shied away from my hearing loss as part of my identity for a long time. But I have become more involved and passionate about the unique needs of deaf people with the creation of my website. For now, I stick with lowercase deaf, because I still have a lot to learn. I do tell people in passing that I’m hard of hearing to keep explanations simple, because most hearing people will assume I sign if I throw out “deaf.”

Ultimately, it’s a choice, and if you’re worried, you can always ask someone, especially if you suspect they have strong ties to the deaf community and may prefer the Deaf distinction. Online, you’ll often see people refer to the “D/deaf” community as a way of being inclusive to all those with hearing loss regardless of their social and cultural ties, but don’t stress too much about always capitalizing that D.

If you’d like to do a deeper dive into this discussion, this page from the National Association for the Deaf has a great breakdown of varying terminology.

Side note: it’s been a busy spring for me over here, but happily getting back into the swing of things and more posts will come down the pipeline soon. Thanks for sticking around!

I have a few little side things to make some pocket change while I’m at home with my son. I take family/maternity/baby portraits here and there to keep my photography portfolio going, and I’ve made approximately a whopping Hamilton through Amazon links on this site (hey, I’ll take it). But recently, I also started doing some freelance captioning for videos.

You may be thinking WAIT A MINUTE! True, I do have to wear a hearing aid in my good ear to get by, but I do well with it! Turns out, growing up watching the TV with captions makes me kind of a natural in typing out captions in terms of speaker labeling, atmospherics, and natural sentence and speech breaks. That said, there is the huge caveat that I do not caption a video with ANY poor audio quality. Fortunately, the platform I work on allows for me to throw back a video if I’ve had it under an hour, so if I come across a bad section, I don’t work on it. I got into a tricky spot once where I had a great video in terms of audio quality and then it cut to an awful clip of David Beckham mumbling into a static-y microphone. Phewwww. I’ve gotten pretty good at determining my capabilities, and there’s a strong community forum for troublesome audio clips, because ear fatigue happens to even those with excellent hearing and they just can’t make out that word.

Funnily enough, when I watch something on TV or the like, I’ll sometimes laugh at very specific descriptions like (intense piano music slowly intensifies) but really I’ve learned it is HARD to describe some sounds accurately! It’s like trying to be a reverse Foley artist at times.

I always turn on captions, and it’s great to find them on short videos that you see on social media, YouTube, and so on. It seems like with so many people scrolling through social media, ads are often captioned to transit their message when the sound is off, so I feel like caption work is becoming much more prevalent nowadays. I feel fortunate to be able to do so well despite my significant hearing loss, and I feel like I’m doing good work for other deaf/HoH people, because I know what it’s like to miss out on things without captions.

In other news, my site is coming up on its first birthday already! By far the most traffic is to my page on baby monitors for deaf/HoH people, which is great because that was the whole drive behind starting this site in the first place. Unfortunately, it looks like the monitor I use is being discontinued, so I’ll have to dig back into what’s available and update the page soon.

Well, my holiday hiatus ended up a little longer than expected! We had a happy New Year here, but then with an unexpected death in the family (and subsequent travel) backing right up onto a planned trip, all while pretty pregnant, I ended up being AWOL for a couple weeks, and then just basically catching up on life since then.

My website is about 2 months old now! I had a great burst of energy in creating it and those first few blog posts, and now that I’m back to it–if there’s some particular content you’d like to see this coming year, do let me know.

As for me, I finally scheduled the appointment to get the ear mold made for my new hearing aid, which will almost certainly be the top-tier BTE Oticon Dynamo. I wrote on this in a previous post, but this is a big deal for me! I’m not sure if others feel the same, but my last new aid was a HUGE adjustment that I wasn’t expecting, so naturally, I’m a little nervous about doing it again. The exciting news is, though, my health insurance just upped their coverage of a new aid from $1500 up to $4000, which saves me a lot of cash; it also gives me hope that hearing loss is finally being treated as something that should be covered by insurance.

I’m doing my best to become active on Twitter, so do follow me there as I catch up on all the news in the deaf/Deaf community after my time away. There is a Facebook page you can follow by clicking on my sidebar here on the site, but it’s not really “up and running” in the same way Twitter is yet.

As I make this first post, there’s no one reading yet, because, well, I haven’t launched the site yet. Maybe my husband’s peeking (hi!) but WELCOME to The Deaf Mama! If you are an early visitor, please forgive the massive construction still underway.

My goal for this website is to be a little corner of the Internet where people looking for information on life with hearing loss can come and learn more. Are you deaf, or wear a hearing aid? Do you know someone who has recently experienced sudden hearing loss? Are you a parent of a child diagnosed with hearing loss? Then I hope you can come here and find something helpful.

img_6208 I wear a hearing aid, and I started this site only when it came time to buy a baby monitor (oh yeah, I’m 5 months pregnant), because it felt like everything that came up in search results was very half-hearted. No REAL comments on what might work well, no thorough lists of equipment to consider, nothing super current, nothing that said “maybe there’s a 29-year-old lady out there just looking for a way to sleep with a newborn AND without her hearing aid at night.” So, the genesis of this site was really just born out of wanting that comprehensive list.

Then I thought, well, maybe I can also write about my own experiences growing up with hearing loss, and add a personal, informal insight on certain topics with others. I can’t speak for everyone, but my hope is that the blog side of this website will create some new ideas or reflection, and I strongly encourage comments from anyone on the subjects!

Until next time!