03/31/2014 12:10 pm ET Updated Mar 31, 2014

I'm Deaf And I'm Totally Cool With It, Thanks

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I like being deaf. I love the feeling of quiet and comfort I have even while living amid the noise and crowds of New York City. I love sign language, the culture that surrounds it, and the tight-knit feeling of acceptance I’ve experienced in the Deaf community. Most days, deafness feels less like a medical problem and more like being part of a minority culture.

So most days, I like talking to people about it, answering curious kids’ questions about what’s in my ears (hearing aids), or how I wake up in the morning (vibrating wristwatch alarm). I usually don’t even mind that thanks to "Mr. Holland’s Opus," everyone I meet feels the need to show me their approximation of the sign for “bullshit.” But sometimes, people just don't get it. Here's what you can do to be a friend to people like me.

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