Chronicles of Deafness / Hearing Impairment

Introducing Chronicles of Deafness

I confess that I racked my brains thinking about what the first post of this new blog would be. I think I need to introduce myself. Most of you already know me from my blog
Sweetest Person
where I write about beauty, fashion and literature. But Chronicles of Deafness will bring many new people into my life who don’t know much about me yet. Well, my name is Paula Veras Pfeifer, I’m 28 years old and I’ve decided to share my impressions of the adventures and misadventures of deafness with the world.


That’s right. Deafness is an invisible disability. No one looks at me and guesses that I can hardly hear anything without the help of hearing aids. I don’t like stereotypes and I don’t want to fit into any. But there are several ‘types’ of deaf people: signers (who communicate through sign language), oralists (who communicate orally and don’t use sign language) or bilinguals (who use sign language and oral language).

It doesn’t matter to me whether I’m called deaf, hard of hearing or oral deaf. I’m not fluent in sign language because I haven’t felt like doing a long course yet (although I have done a short one), since I don’t know any deaf signers and I wouldn’t have anyone to practice with.

I simply don’t listen to much if I don’t have the help of technology. Thank God for technology! And, between you and me, I think the word ‘deaf’ is the best definition. Simple and precise. Although I don’t define myself in terms of that, let’s be clear. It’s just a detail – a very important detail that accompanies me wherever I go and that has made me the human being I am.

This virtual space is intended to be a meeting point for those who experience this, either because they are deaf or because they are friends or relatives of deaf people. I’d like to make a request: if you know anyone who might like and identify with this blog, please recommend it.

Deafness, incredible as it may seem, is still a great taboo. I have no intention of discussing ‘right and wrong’, I just want to share my experiences with the world. My disability is no secret, but I’ve never made a point of going around announcing it. Firstly, because it’s personal. Secondly, because not everyone is capable of dealing with this information without judging and changing their mind about me. Thirdly, because deafness is just one part of my life. Emphasis on just!

My earliest memory of deafness goes back to my visits to the ENT every time I had otitis. And there were many. I also remember complaining to my mother saying ‘there’s a whistle in my ear’. The unfunny part, although funny, is that the doctor who looked after my case said that I had a ‘canal’ that would open when I grew up – and with its ‘opening’ would come perfect hearing. Well, we have the option of accepting what we’re told or seeking a second opinion – something I didn’t do until I was 17, in my second year of high school.

“Bilateral sensorineural hearing loss of a moderately severe and progressive nature.” After my diagnosis in 1997, I felt like I was watching a movie of all the moments when my deafness was clear in my head. So clear that it wasn’t noticed. I’ll never forget that day. At the elevator door, in front of the doctor’s office, still in shock, I looked at my mother and said , “Don’t ever touch that subject again”. Human beings’ capacity for denial is fantastic. Finally someone explained what my problem was, and I didn’t accept it. Deaf? Imagine, impossible.

Many things began to make sense. Why did I always find a way to sit in the classes against the wall? It was obvious: this was the only way I could have a panoramic view of the classroom and SEE when someone called me. Because listening, which was good, was nothing. Why did I make people talk facing me? Even more obviously: I was already a master of lip-reading without knowing it.

At the same time as I wanted to forget about it and get on with my life, I was curious about what it would be like to listen. I could still hear a lot, but my hearing loss was already affecting me on several levels. Especially socially – I was becoming more and more introspective. It was then that the saga of hearing aids began in my life. Saga because my first experiences were terrible. But that’s a subject for future posts.

Anyway, here at Crônicas da Surdez I’m going to share my experiences and my life story with you. When I discovered my disability, I had no one to talk to and no deaf friends, nor did I know anyone with the same problem. I made my discoveries on my own, but I’m absolutely certain that all my learning would have been much easier if there had been someone at the time with whom I could talk about my anxieties. And my intention with this blog is to be that person! I can assure you that I have many funny stories – and many sad and complicated ones – to tell.

Get in touch with me and put those you think will like this blog in touch too. There are many people out there, of all ages, suffering from deafness and needing help. Let’s demythologize deafness once and for all! I’m counting on you!

PS: I’ll be delighted with your comments, and I can tell you that anything goes: ideas, questions, suggestions and everything else! If you also have some degree of hearing impairment and know someone who does, please contact me and suggest the Chronicles! Let’s interact!

About Author

Paula Pfeifer é uma surda que ouve com dois implantes cocleares. Ela é autora dos livros Crônicas da Surdez, Novas Crônicas da Surdez e Saia do Armário da Surdez e lidera a maior comunidade digital do Brasil de pessoas com perda auditiva que são usuárias de próteses auditivas.

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