New York City, the vibrant place I'd once fallen madly for, became a nightmare. The streets were humming, whirring. Tractors moaned, ambulances screamed, the click of lighters and the hiss of brooms brushing cafe floors were torture. I heard everything on one side and nothing on the other; it drove me mad never knowing where each sound came from.
Over the past few years, I've developed significant bilateral hearing loss. We're still not sure why or if it's going to get worse. But during this transition to understanding everyone around me to struggling to piece together context clues and pathetic attempts at lip reading, I have learned a few things.
Many brave and dedicated deaf women have made invaluable contributions to modern society, despite the odds against them. This powerful minority group has fought against a culture that seeks to silence them-- constantly challenging people's assumptions of who deaf women are, and what they are supposed to be.