I’ve been getting a little bit of backlash lately from people when I tell them that my cochlear implant processor is going to be bright red. Big surprise: the people making the comments have no hearing impairment and will never have to make this kind of decision or understand what it’s like. Of course. In any case, here are some of my favorite comments I’ve gotten over the last few weeks:
- But it won’t match your hair.
- What if you have a job interview? They might look down on you for that.
- What if you have a formal event like a wedding to go to?
Or my absolute favorite, simply:
And here are my answers to those comments:
- But it won’t match your hair.
Uhm, so what? Who cares? But no seriously. That almost sounds really vain to me. Do people really care that much? Maybe I don’t want it to match my hair. I actually really really really really don’t. I wore hearing aids for 22 years and I didn’t have the option of choosing different colors. They are now starting to make more of them in colors, but the ones in colors still are nowhere near as powerful as I’d need it to be. I’m excited to have the ability to choose now. There was no way I was going to waste my choice on a boring neutral color. I knew I wanted red from the moment I saw it. So what if it doesn’t match my hair. News flash: even if it did match my hair it wouldn’t turn it invisible. People will still see the headpiece and wire and ask about it anyway. Honestly, I WANT PEOPLE TO ASK ABOUT IT. I’d love to tell them my experience with it and what it does. I want to spread awareness about hearing loss and cochlear implants. And I feel like when people try so hard to hide their processor or the fact that their deaf it’s just wrong. That makes it sound like its something to hide or be ashamed of. It’s not. There’s nothing at all wrong with being hearing impaired or deaf. You should never be ashamed of it or feel you have to hide it. I want my processor to stand out and to wear my cochlear implant proudly. Why fit in when you were born to stand out?
Image Credits: Bright Drops
Also, I really enjoy dying my hair. I have no intentions to dye it bright red anytime soon, but I do alternate between blonde, brown, and auburn from time to time. If my goal was to match my hair, I still wouldn’t know which color to choose.
2. What if you have a job interview? They might look down on you for that.
First off, I already have a full time job as an inbound marketer/social media marketer at WebiMax. I really love my job. I have been here for about 15 months now and have no intentions on leaving anytime soon. My boss and co-workers and everyone is awesome and they have been extremely supportive of me in my cochlear implant journey. I’m pretty sure no one cares if my processor is red. Everyone has been pretty excited about the fact that it will help me to hear. It’s going to do amazing things and open new windows of opportunities for me, like possibly giving me the ability to hear on the phone and be able to take client calls or to actually hear everyone speak when we have a team meeting. I’m pretty sure these positives far outweigh what some people would consider a negative aspect of having a red processor…
But let’s say down the road I do have another job interview for a different company. My processor is bright red. So what?
No really… so what?
I shouldn’t feel the need to have to cover that up or hide it or be ashamed of it at all. It’s a COCHLEAR IMPLANT PROCESSOR. IT HELPS ME TO HEAR. It shouldn’t be viewed as being on the same level as say a tongue piercing or a sleeve of tattoos or whatever. Having a cochlear implant, even if my processor is bright red, shouldn’t make me appear any less professional. If anything, I’d argue it should make me look more professional for taking my hearing impairment in my own hands and wanting to do something about it so I can take on more rolls in the workplace that I can’t currently do like hearing on the phones.
If any potential future employer has a problem with my red processor/cochlear implant, that says far more about them than it does about me. It says that’s not a place I want to work for after all.
3. What if you have a formal event like a wedding to go to?
I’ll be super excited! I don’t get invited to weddings very often. And all of the ones I ever been to in the past (there was only 2, my good friend Ashley’s and my cousin Stephanie’s) I haven’t really been able to hear much of anything. SOMEONE PLEASE INVITE ME TO A WEDDING AFTER MY ACTIVATION JUST SO I CAN HEAR PEOPLE MAKE A TOAST, EXCHANGE VOWS, AND ALL OF THAT JAZZ FOR THE FIRST TIME. No, but really.
Uhm if I get invited to a wedding or a formal event I’ll wear a pretty dress and heels, do my hair and makeup and nails all nice, put my processor on, and have a great time where I’ll actually be able to hear people for once. End of story. Just like with the job interview thing, if whoever invites me to the wedding/event or whatever has a problem with my bright red processor well than I guess they aren’t a real friend or it’s not an event worth going to anyway.
And also, I’m 24 and unmarried. I’d like to get married maybe 5 or so years down the road. So what about my own future wedding? Well right now I have a boyfriend who is the best. He’s been with me every step of the way with this and he’s very excited about me gaining the ability to hear. He doesn’t care the slightest bit about me choosing a red processor. He hasn’t said a whole lot about that, but he doesn’t have to. If I asked him “What do you think about my red processor?” I know what his answer would be: “I like red.”
We’ve only been together for 2 months. It’s way too early to even be thinking about marriage let alone discussing it. But if we do end up getting married, he certainly won’t mind me wearing my red processor on our wedding date. He’d encourage it. Because he’s an amazing boyfriend and that’s what amazing boyfriends, or anyone worth marrying would do. If the person I’m marrying in the future has a problem with me wearing a bright red processor to our wedding, well that’s not someone I would want to marry at all.
Why not? No really… why not? Red has always been one of my favorite colors. They make a ton of red electronics now. I’ve had a bright red laptop and cellphone in the past that would match and no one thinks anything of that. Why is my processor any different? It kind of blows my mind that people who will never have the need to get a cochlear implant or wear a processor care more about this than I do. I’m the one that has to wear it and I like red and I want to stand out! It’s like my favorite deaf rapper always says…I want to be deaf and loud! I want to make a difference in the hard of hearing/deaf communities. I want to spread awareness. I don’t want hearing loss to be a taboo. If you’re so focused on blending it or being discreet with your implant/processor than you’re just further feeding into the assumption that hearing loss is something to be ashamed of. I’m not at all saying people shouldn’t get a processor to match their hair or blend in. Not at all. I think people should do whatever makes them happy and having a red processor is what’s going to make me happy. (To be honest, I really wanted one with zebra stripes but that wasn’t an option. I’ll be looking for a zebra striped cover to put on it down the road though…). I think that no matter which color you choose, you should wear that processor and cochlear implant with pride. Never be ashamed of the person God made you to be.
So now I have this to ask of you…any more questions? 😉