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  • Writer's pictureRachel W

I Was Mute. My Grandpa was Deaf. Exploring the Difficulties in Communication.


I was mute. My grandpa was deaf. There are different ways to communicate. The lore went that my grandfather became deaf as a teenager while playing baseball, before batter's helmets were a thing. If lore is correct, the incident would have happened sometime in the 1920s. I was born some 60 years later, and became mute around the time I hit toddler-hood. Any kind of meaningful closeness that could have occured between us was hindered by his inability to hear clearly and my inability to speak audibly to the majority of adults. He was a constant presence in my childhood. My siblings and I were his only grandchildren. He spoke loudly, but gently. He was a calming presence. In the 80s and 90s, he would call the house and shout into the phone, "Get on the TTY!"* My mother would proceed to place the telephone receiver into the device and I'd watch her type messages to her father, the bluish green text scrolling across the small screen as it beeped with every keystroke. Her quick typing made it sound like some sort of a song. He communicated with us grandkids through a top spiral bound 3×5 notebook that he kept in his front shirt pocket. And a pencil, of course. He loved math (he was a physicist) and would use the notebooks to try and teach us about the exciting world of numbers. My sister and I were not too keen on the subject. ...to be continued *A TTY is a special device that lets people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech-impaired use the telephone to communicate, by allowing them to type messages back and forth to one another instead of talking and listening. A TTY is required at both ends of the conversation in order to communicate. . #deaf #communication #hardofhearing #mute #selectivemutism #podcasts #transcription #thepodcasttranscriptionist


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