Who is this? This is a photo slideshow voiced over by Aisha Jameel talking about her experience of deafness.
© Aisha Jameel
Description: Aisha talks about her experiences growing up and how her cochlear implant works for her. She describes what it is like in group situations and how she copes socially.
Photo caption: Aisha Jameel
The photo shows Aisha on the front cover of a photo book. The photo book is labelled The D Word.
DISCLAIMER: This film was created by Aisha Jameel and has a written version below. At this moment (January 2020), there is no British Sign Language translation of the film available. The language used in the film is of its time.
This is a written version of the film.
The D Word
Hi, my name is Aisha Jameel and the main thing you need to know about me is I’m deaf. Deaf can be a strange word to use or scary even, like saying cancer. So we might as well say it as ‘D word’. Why use it as a code? Why do that when the D word can’t kill you? Only the C word kills you.
Well the first reason some people don’t like that word mainly because when you hear that you automatically think ‘not normal’, ‘awful’, ‘bad issue’. Do I think that? Of course not. Second reason is yes, you’re right, cancer can kill you but what you don’t know is the D word can too. Not your heart, body or mind but your ears and conversation.
My guardian angel is my cochlear implant. My cochlear implant was placed on my left ear and allows me to hear sounds I never discovered before such as people’s footsteps, wind, cars driving by, noise of a fan and the water running down the sink. It was scary and exciting at the same time. Exciting, because I was almost having a ‘normal’ ear just like the one you have. Scary because I have no idea what the sounds were. It is very hard for me to be involved in more than one person’s conversation. I can handle one to one. But for two people? Three people? A group? No thank you. Because I have no idea what the hell they are talking about. You may think who cares? It’s just a conversation. But everywhere you go you see people see chatting in the streets, at parties, at home, in the shops, at work, at school. Tell me how are we supposed to survive that? Our body might but certainly not our heart. It gives a crack to the helpless heart every time you’re in a conversation and you think to yourself what are they talking about? Crack. Ok they’re laughing, Aisha you laugh too. Crack. Aisha just say pardon then you might get it second time. ‘Pardon?’ ‘Never mind.’ Crack.
That’s why conversation simply can’t be ignored. It’s a part of everyday life whether we like it or not.
Frustration is a term I would use. It’s a feeling I often experience. It makes me feel helpless, isolated, a powerful line that splits me from our world. I can’t do phone calls, I can’t go to cinema without subtitles, I have to watch lyric videos before I can watch the official video and can’t listen to the radio.
The reason I’m writing this because being D word is okay. It’s not always negative but positive too. There are still so many sounds to discover, sounds that you have heard for a lifetime. I came to a realisation…. hearing new sounds is actually awesome because it makes you grateful- grateful that you can hear. You would think ‘Wow. What a lovely sound’ or ‘what a strange sound’ People who are not like us take their hearing for granted. They will never how their hearing is helping them. They will never know that their hearing can bring a smile to their face.
Sure, there was some point in our life that we badly wish to have your hearing. But you know what? I’m done with that wishing and hoping. Because of my deafness I take the hearing that I have and show my appreciation. I will take these sounds to my heart and be impressed by it. I cannot wait to hear new sounds in my life and to cherish it. Deafness can bring you down. I won’t argue with that. It can give you tears, anger, frustration. Just don’t forget what else deafness can do for you. It can make you amazed, grateful, impressed and shocked by all the sounds going on around you. I was born deaf but I am also proud to be deaf.
This is my story. These are my thoughts and my emotions.
Thank you for listening to me.