"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Friday, July 15, 2011

We Both Needed An Interpreter, but for Different Reasons

My son had a friend over today. His mom and I are taking turns picking up the kids and watching them while the other one of us goes to the gym. This afternoon, the young fellow kept having to repeat a question to me. I moved across the room to read what he was saying and I still couldn't get it. After a few attempts, he called to my son and asked him to come tell me what he was saying. My son interprets for me that they want to know if they can go get the soccer ball out of the garage.

When his mom came to pick him up today, I mentioned to her that he figured out since I couldn't hear him, he had my son come interpret for him. She tells me he has a speech impediment. Really? I never knew that. Apparently, it used to be much worse. The teachers at school had difficulty understanding him when he answered questions, but the kids always seemed to understand him fine. It's rather funny to think about it, he is asking for my son to interpret because he is having difficulty from a speech impediment which I have no clue he has. I'm just wanting an interpreter because I can't hear him. We both needed my son to interpret for us, but for different reasons. 

My Fabulous Husband has always been wonderful about describing to me the way people often sound when they talk, if they have an accent, what it is, if they're soft spoken, anything like that. He knows that I like to know these things about people because I can't hear the difference anymore. I had someone once tell me I had a slow drawl and they thought I was from the south. No, I may have been born in the South, but I was raised in the Pacific Northwest. Fabulous Husband said I just have a slow pitch. I've been told my pitch and tone are very similar to some of the Native American tribes..which is interesting because I am in part Native American Indian, but I've not been raised around them. I don't know if it is a tonal quality we're born with, or if I just have a cadence in my speech from not hearing myself as others can hear me.

Because I used to hear well, I'm curious about these things. What kind of information am I missing from someone I'm getting to know simply because I can't hear them? Hearing people would be surprised how much information is passed verbally by the way a person speaks, the tones they use while speaking and the vernacular of where they are from and the rhythmic cadence or speech pattern they use . These are unique qualities that are personal and tell you a lot about them. They are qualities that distinguish people from others. I miss being able to hear that for myself. Deaf and hearing impaired people miss the two most important pieces of information from how a person uses their voice - the emotion and attitude behind their words. It is incredible how much much is communicated through the voice.

It makes me stop and realize how someone who has never heard would not know some of these distinctions. It would be difficult to describe those sounds because there is no base line to compare that to. I wonder, just how do you describe those kinds of sounds to a Deaf person who has never heard? How do you describe color to a blind person who has never seen color? How do you make comparisons?

These kinds of things really make me stop and think. These questions may seem ignorant to many, but for others, they may have the same curiosity and want to know as well. If you can answer this for me and explain to me how this is done, leave a comment below. Or if you have other thoughts along the same lines, post them. 

I am so fortunate to have people in my life that pick up on what I miss and clue me in. If you don't hear it, you don't know what you're missing. 

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