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Reflection on Kleege's "Introduction"

Charlie's picture

As I was reading the Introduction section of Kleege's book Sight Unseen, one thing that stood out to me was the way she described the memoirs she read and the assumptions that sighted people would make about her. One of the two categories she grouped many blind memoirs into was the "blind whiners, who asserted that blindness was the worst disaster that could befall a human being," rather than it being an every day part of life for her as she describes at the end of the introduction. (Kleege).

This part of the book resonated with me and my experience with hearing loss. I gained my hearing loss in 7th grade, and as I was researching it and reading people's experiences with it online, I would become more and more anxious with the stories I heard. Because the kind of hearing loss I have sets on unexpectedly in previously hearing individuals, people would describe how their lives were essentially ruined by this hearing loss, and how they went into a deep depression because they suddenly had trouble communicating with their friends in crowded or loud scenarios. They would talk about how their tinnitus (a ringing sound that plays in the ears of most hard of hearing people) was slowly driving them crazy and how they felt trapped in their body.

As someone new to this area, these stories terrified me, especially because I was much younger than most of the other examples, and I began to hate and fear my loss of hearing. As time went on, however, and I adjusted to this new aspect of my body it became just that: part of my life which I notice occassionally, but certainly does not rule my life. Although our experiences are very different, I resonated with Kleege's interpretation of her disability, and how even if it seems like a huge, life-altering aspect of one's lived experience, we all adjust and continue in a new normal.