Alan Soh

I am my own columnist, sharing my own thoughts and recent experiences!



Without my hearing aid/cochlear implant devices, I can still hear sounds, such as heavy vehicles driving past me, alarm clocks ringing, aeroplanes flying over my head, kitchen utensils dropping onto the floor etc. As long as the sounds I hear are heavy and loud, not light and soft.

Thankfully I am not intellectually disabled. I am able-bodied, can execute many tasks, understand/do decent conversations with people without my hearing devices, as long as I am able to do lip-reading, hand gesturing, paper-writing and catch sounds if possible.

My preferred modes of communication are email, SMS or Whatsapp or face-to-face conversation. My limitation is about phone-calls only. I may not hear well over the phone.

Sometimes I think I am weird. Why?

This is because I always go around telling people that I am hearing-impaired, in which I observe that the some of the hard-of-hearing Singaporeans actually prefer to call themselves “deaf” because the term “hearing-impaired” is perceived as a NEGATIVE word which could possibly make them look “deaf, mute and dumb” among others.

Rather, they are proud and happy to say they are deaf.

A easy straight-forward 4-letter word.

They don’t call themselves hearing-impaired.

However in my personal viewpoint, I thought: if I call myself deaf, it seems like I am condemning myself. No no no. So as such, I conclude that a “better nicer word to use” is HEARING-IMPAIRED.

It boils down to self-perception. Honestly speaking, I just can’t imagine going around telling people “I-am-deaf.” Maybe I personally thought “DEAF” is a very negative word to describe myself. It sounds alot like self-bashing. This is exactly how I feel about it.

I prefer to use more positive words to describe myself. Talking about constructing a positive public self-image.

It has been so far so good that the people whom I have had met in life treated me with due respect. You respect people, in turn they will respect you too.

Thinking further.. Ok ok. maybe I should probably use this term instead – “hearing-challenged“? It sounds better, am I right?

Am I weird? I hope not.


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Cochlear Implant Surgery (Pt 4)

I gained greater insights as in why I actually stand a greater easier advantage with using the cochlear implant device on my right ear, as compared to young kid users. Talked to my private hearing care consultant yesterday when I went to his branch outlet at Bishan to replenish my supply of hearing aid batteries.

I am not born deaf totally. Visually, I am able to associate a certain sound to an action; for example: hands clapping. So thank heavens, I can see with my eyes. In addition, being older, I have had accumulated many “memories” of various sounds in my brain (particularly my left brain hemisphere) since birth, having the inborn ability to differentiate different sounds. Also thanks to years of normal schooling, I can speak, clearly expressing my thoughts/feelings in verbal language just like any able-hearing individual. 🙂

On the other hand, young kids especially the nearly deaf ones have no concepts of sound AT ALL. They are as pure as white paper. As such if these kids are retrofitted with hearing devices, alot of patience and efforts are required, in the aspect of coaching them to distinguish sounds, teaching them communication skills and do speech training as well.