Hey all!


New Member
Jul 28, 2023
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Hi there! My name is Crystal and I’m from the small city of Carlsbad, New Mexico. I have Menieres Disease and I am not sure how much I belong here.

While I’ve probably always been deaf in my right ear, I was diagnosed with Menieres and started losing my hearing in my left a month before I turned 13. It took 16 years to lose enough of my hearing that I qualified for a cochlear implant in that left ear. The right remains unimplanted as there’s no guarantee it’ll work as I’ve been deaf in it my entire life. The CI is part of the read I wonder if maybe I don’t belong here but I feel like I’ve got to try.

Carlsbad is in very rural area of southeastern New Mexico. There is basically nothing here for deaf people. There are no classes and any interpreters would have to travel, probably from El Paso (closest) or Albuquerque. I have never seen other people sign in public and have only met like one other deaf person who was completely language deprived because, again, no classes.

My parents and I were fortunate have a Deaf woman teach us some when I was 16 or so but I was too self conscious to really get much into it. She moved away before we could get into grammar. There was one other class when I was 22 or so with a hearing teacher (boo!) and one more by a Deaf man who traveled around NM teaching ASL. Again, we only got into words and never the grammar.

Those were the only ways I could learn ASL in the 38 years I’ve lived here. The woman who taught us taught my family privately as well so really there was only the two classes. When we tried again to learn for my deaf autistic nephew, a young man traveled from Hobbs to teach us privately. In every instance, the teacher moved on before I could get very proficient in it.

So I there I was at 29, losing what little hearing I had left, with no firm grasp on ASL and no resources to learn. The topic of CIs came up and I took the chance. It hasn’t worked out as good as I wanted it to as I only had the one ear. My understanding of speech is about 70% in the booth with only 38% in a noisy environment. My audiologist acts like I probably wouldn’t get 100% since it’s just the one ear but thinks I can do better than the 38%.

I am desperate for social interaction with someone who understands. I am desperate for a way to communicate that I can understand fully. I am tired of being the only person I know with deafness. I need to embrace it instead of hiding from it. I don’t fit in with the hearing world and have absolutely no clue how I’d do in a deaf world because my interactions have been sparse. So maybe I don’t belong here but maybe I can be directed to where I do belong.
Yes, you very much are welcome here. Thanks for sharing your story. :wave::welcome:

If you are still wanting to learn to sign, checkout lifeprint.com. The full curriculum is equivalent of about about a 2 year college ASL program for free online. This sore was created by a Deaf professor in Sacramento CA who records his lessons.

Also, if you don’t mind not having a live interpreter, there are remote interpreting options. For phone calls, you can use a video relay service (VRS), Sorenson is one example. They will provide you with a phone number so all you calls will connect to an interpreter who will sign the audio and can voice for you. You also, if preferred, can voice for yourself (called voice carryover VCO) and use the interpreter to sign just the audio of the other person.

VRS is a free service provided by the government under FCC so you don’t have to pay for that. It is for phone calls or other remote communication (where you and the other person are not in the same room). You can use it to join a Zoom conference. Most services have an app for computers and mobile devices so you can access it anywhere.

Another service is video remote interpreting (VRI). This for when you and the other person are in the same room, like a doctor appointment. This does cost money but the provider or venue is supposed to pay for the service and not the deaf/Deaf patient or client. Some small businesses can claim hardship if under 15 employees but a large facility like a hospital is required to provide the service especially of they provide other language services.

You can also search online for ASL socials to practice on meetup.com and Deaf Inc and other similar searches to make online connections when in person may not be available.

Good luck!