Sound for Light chronicles my perspective of an Alternative Hearing Experience. Being deaf or hard of hearing means so many things to different people, and if you are new to this side of life of course there are a lot of unknowns. There’s a lot written about deafness from a medical condition standpoint and from folks that wish they weren’t deaf. You won’t find too much of that here. This site is about people. One of the most empowering things for me is knowing others who are deaf or hard of hearing. There’s just something so validating about talking with someone who gets it. And that, I do. My purpose here is to highlight the really relevant topics to us all as well as share some goofy, beautiful stuff that happens as a result of living this life. Welcome!
As for me, I was born hard of hearing. I grew up using my voice, wore hearing aids and was mainstreamed in school. I enjoyed music but never knew the words. I winged voice phone calls, hid my hearing aids under my hair, and bluffed my way through more conversations than I care to admit. I always knew some American Sign Language, but I didn’t really have anyone to use it with so it lay dormant for many years. College pretty much jump started my life within the Deaf community and ASL was reintroduced to me as the awesome language and communication tool it is. Not only was it cool to be Deaf, both ASL and captioning showed me the clarity I always craved. It’s like someone turned the light on for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still use my voice and wear a hearing aid. But, a transformation had begun. In place of shame, was pride. Instead of a void, there was light. I was free.
Jennifer Stuessy has worked in various deafness related fields for more than 20 years. She is a graduate of California State University, Northridge and holds a certification from the American Academy of Hearing Loss Support Specialists. She lives in Virginia with her husband and their two children.