I had a friend many years ago who lost his hearing when he fell down his back porch steps. He hit his head in the fall and his hearing was gone in an instant. He was only 5 years old.
I've been losing my hearing over the course of many, many years slowly, not even at a noticeable rate. We often play the "What if" game or "Would you rather be this, or be that". We tend to compare which is worse, and which we would rather have.
Life situations many times are not a matter of choice, they are thrust on us in unexpected ways. Then, there are times we are allowed glimpses of what is coming. Either way, we can either stop and just brace ourselves for the worst, or we can accept and prepare and find out what we can do with the situation. In other words, we can stop living altogether, or we can find out how to live with the unexpected situation the best way we possibly can.
I was asked this week by Sarah, whom I follow on Twitter, how I felt about the discovery that my hearing loss is no longer termed so much as "hearing impaired" but "deaf". In many ways it's a relief that I no longer have to play the "Can you hear this?" game as people ask if I can hear the little bell on the counter at the register in the store or the cell phone ringing, etc. They tend to ask Fabulous Husband, "Can Joyce hear this..that..and the other". We understand the curiosity, we're curious, too, but there are so many other things we could be discussing. By simply stating I'm deaf, the understanding that I can't hear those sounds is already there, and people will communicate more clearly and bypass the hearing test and questions and get on with discussing other interesting things.
So how do I feel about using the term "deaf" over "hearing impaired"? Life is the same, we continue to adjust and modify things where sound and communication are involved. We continue to learn, adapt and live. I am deaf. It's not a death sentence, just a deaf sentence.