Friday, April 08, 2016

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to grow up with people who have a hard time hearing?

I’m in my 50’s and have noticed that my hearing has deteriorated which causes frustration and miscommunication with my family.

But then

What about growing up with deaf parents?

I grew up in the Philippines with my mom’s sister who is deaf.   We spent late nights talking about life, fashion, relationships and family. I was able to communicate with her because I knew basic sign language. In fact, when my youngest had a difficult time expressing himself as a toddler, I taught him basic sign language. 

My aunt then moved to America, got married and had 3 lovely daughters.

Her youngest daughter is Meliza of Meliza is a recent graduate of San Francisco State University and a resident of the San Francisco Bay area.  She video blogs (vblog) about travel and dining. However, in her recent vlog (see below), she decided to give us a glimpse of what it’s like to live with deaf parents.

After watching the video, I was compelled to learn more about her.

So here goes the interview.

GLM:  What’s the most common misconception about deaf parents?

Meziee: The most common misconception about deaf people is that most deaf people have poor hearing and that they are able to hear a little. It's interesting to see how many people will talk loudly to my parents after I've told them they are deaf.  My parents are fully deaf. Many people also believe deaf people can't read or write.

GLM: Do you ever get frustrated not being able to express your feelings?

Meziee: There are times where I do get frustrated when communicating with my parents. Sometimes I can be at a loss of certain signs or unable to translate something into sign language from English.

GLM: How did you learn to communicate with your parents?

Meziee: I learned to communicate with my parents as I was growing up. They say babies are able to understand sign before being able to speak. For me, I grew up learning both English and ASL (American Sign Language).  I was lucky to have two older hearing sisters to teach me English, but learning two languages did cause me trouble in school and I had to go to ESL (English as a Second Language) classes.

GLM:  When people find out that you have deaf parents, do they wonder how come you can hear? How do you react?

Meziee: This is a common question people ask me and I'm still not sure how the deafness gene is passed on. On my dad's side, my grandparents had 6 born deaf children and all but one of their children
is hearing.

GLM: Do your parents listen to music? Do they dance? 

Meziee: My parents do not listen to music because they are unable to hear it, but they do dance. They like to dance when we're at parties or events.

GLM: How did you learn to drive? Do your parents drive?
Meziee: This is a question that I am asked very often and one of the biggest misconceptions
; because people don't think deaf people can drive. My parents do drive and they taught me how to drive. It was just a bit more difficult to learn because you're trying to keep your eyes on the road while looking over to see what your parents are saying. But other than that, most signers can talk while driving. It's not safe, but it's not impossible.

GLM:  Are you worried you’ll have deaf children?

Meziee: I am not worried that I'll have deaf children. If my child is hearing or deaf
, I'll love him/her no matter what.

Do you have any other questions on what it’s like growing up with deaf parents? Let’s hear it – go visit Meliza at

Meliza is fluent in English and American Sign Language. Being bilingual, has helped her land jobs with various non-profit organizations and allows her to work with the deaf community. Visit her website, follow her on Instagram @meziee and subscribe to her YouTube Channel .

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