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Hard of hearing dating

Woman A: I had my first boyfriend at 14, but not a "real" one until I was 21. Woman C: I didn't have an official date until my freshman year of high school.

Woman A: Prior to getting my cochlear implants, it was hard for me to date the guy I was seeing at the time because I couldn't hear him well and he'd get frustrated.

In this week's Sex Talk Realness, spoke with three women who are deaf to find out what it's really like to date as someone who is differently abled. Now, I have started to refer to myself as deaf because I no longer think it's such a bad thing.

Woman B: I honestly don't have a preference between uppercase and lowercase d/Deaf.

I see making a distinction between the two often divides the culturally proud Deaf from those who have a similar experience and shared oppressions, but are maybe not friends with tons of Deaf people or what have you (because of accessibility and other factors).

Since my eardrums still work, I can sense vibrations from noisy things like stereos, megaphones, or shrill whistles if I'm within vicinity, but without my bilateral cochlear implants, my brain is oblivious to sounds.

By the time I was 18 months old, I was declared profoundly deaf, meaning I cannot hear anything.

"You should be so lucky I gave you the time," or, "You're deaf, so you shouldn't have unrealistic expectations." I also can't really do hookups at parties because I have to recharge the batteries in my cochlear implants and I never want to wake up completely deaf the next day in an unfamiliar setting. I can hear very well through my cochlear implants, but prior to my implants, most of my communication was through text or Facebook messages.

Woman B: My current partner and I tend to speak or sign beforehand about what we like/don't like.I've been told that people often forget that I'm deaf and my cochlear implants are pretty hidden underneath my curly hair. Sometimes they'd get frustrated and lose their cool with me if I needed them to repeat something more than once.I was nervous that they'd see them and think, "Oh man, I'm about to be with a disabled person. I had a few people scream at me, which was very upsetting, especially since often times I could hear them but I couldn't understand anything they are saying. Woman B: Again, there's no difference in my sex life with a hearing man or d/Deaf man. Woman C: I was born with hearing, but I gradually lost it over time. Woman B: I've been deaf since I was about 2 years old.I don't use Deaf with a capital D because those who use Deaf with a capital D are part of a specific community, with sign language as their primarily means of communication.I'm deaf with a lower case d because I can't hear without the use of cochlear implants, but I never learned sign language and don't have much of a desire to.There's never really a point when I asked myself, "Will my lack of hearing impact this experience?" Sex is about what you communicate with your partner.Woman C: I was so nervous I wouldn't be able to hear the guys I went out with and they'd think I was ditzy, but most of the guys I went on dates with didn't seem to mind repeating themselves. The only difference I could think of would be a deaf person would have less awareness about noise level, but it does depend on your partner. Woman A: The benefits were that they could help me to order food in restaurants and communicate with people.When I began having sex as a teenager, I was really nervous that they'd accidentally see my cochlear implants and be weirded out. They might say I took advantage of her because of her disability." I've never had a guy say those things to me, but that was my biggest worry. If they know they're noisy, they'll just restrain it as much as possible. The drawbacks were that they didn't understand what it is like to not be able to hear.

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