Hey! I’m Jen and I’m thrilled you’ve found your way here to Sound for Light.
This little corner of the internet serves to give a Deaf perspective on relevant topics that affect us as a community. So often, articles and viewpoints on deafness are written about us rather than by us. I’m just one voice among many, but if you’ve ever wondered how a Deaf or hard of hearing person might perceive any number of issues or how we do stuff, this is a great place to dive in!
A bit about me
I’m a mom, a wife and after reading a couple articles you may say I’m a bit of a smarty-pants too.
I was born Deaf, but like many – didn’t fully use American Sign Language (ASL) until college. It was there, neck deep in Deaf peers and role models, that a strong sense of identity finally took hold. I’m really thankful.
Prior to that, it’s a common Deaf story.
I missed stuff. Lots of stuff. I didn’t “seem deaf”, just a little spacey. I heard noises, music, some speech deciphered but lots of blanks left unfilled – a big void in terms of clarity and self-esteem… So much of life was a mystery. ASL uncovered it. Access granted. Entire freaking world came alive. Fire lit. Catchup ensued.
I’ve been running with it ever since.
A twist in the road
With my feet firmly planted in the Deaf world, I made a career change in my late 30s in which my childhood default role of “guide to older folks losing their hearing / battling hearing aids” came full circle. Through this opportunity, I connected with so many deaf and hard of hearing non-signers; many of whom experienced hearing loss as adults. We had different circumstances and view on our deafness but also so much in common because of it. It cemented what what I’ve felt since I first saw another Deaf person as a kid: a familiarity, a sameness. Using ASL or not, being with other deaf people is empowering and important to our well being.
A foot in two worlds
With such personal investments the signing and non-signing D/deaf “worlds”, I can see things from both sides of the deafness coin. It’s a unique position, so I feel compelled to share it through Sound for Light, which is as much a passion project as it is an advocacy/information/resources bullhorn.
My hope is someone reading will take away exactly what they need in that moment. Be it a parent of a Deaf child, someone who is experiencing hearing loss as an adult, a professional working with deaf and hard of hearing kids, even the hearing person who googled the wrong search word and now by happenstance learned a bunch of new things about Deaf people.
ALL OF YOU – I’m glad you’re here.
JenLeora has worked in various deafness-related fields for more than 25 years. She currently lives in Virginia with her husband and their two children.