Society can be a funny thing. We watch thousands of TV shows without mention of the stars having good hearing. And then all of a sudden, Abigail Heringer appears on The Bachelor and every news channel posts an article about the ‘deaf girl’ on the show.
We can imagine them saying behind the scenes. Poor old Abigail, she’s such a pretty thing. ‘Well at least they gave her a chance’. We wrote this post to kick those ideas to the curb, alongside certain journalists who write her off as being ‘impaired.’
Abigail Heringer is a Super Hero in Our World
Most of us believe parts of our bodies could be better. Kids can be real horrid at school when they start to think where their ‘problems’ are. Do you remember the day your secrets were out in the glare of the classroom lights?
It’s a real tragedy how we carry these burdens through life, as if only we have them, and the rest of the world has it easy. As many as 10% of America’s aging population could be struggling to hear because they are ashamed of their condition and don’t want to wear hearing aids.
Abigail Heringer is a super hero in our world, because she declared her cochlear implants when she applied to be on one of the most popular television shows in the country. If you’re not familiar with The Bachelor, it’s about a bachelor (or bachelorette) looking for the perfect mate.
Life Has Its Difficulties for Everybody
American writer M Scott Peck wrote a book called The Road Less Traveled. He gave the message that life is difficult for everybody. We could add this includes being moderately deaf and needing hearing aids.
The catch, M Scott Peck says, is we insist on believing we are the only ones with problems a vengeful creator loaded on us, personally. However, if we can transcend this notion, we can live successful lives.
That’s because we know life is difficult for everybody.
More About The Deaf Girl on Bachelor
Abigail Heringer and her sister were both born congenitally deaf. So it was not something she caused, it was in her genetics. Her Mom was real smart. She knew she had to normalize her daughter’s deafness ASAP. Abigail may have been the youngest patient ever to fit cochlear implants when she was two.
Cochlear implants are miniaturized microphones unobtrusively tucked behind the wearer’s ears. They have tiny wires through their skin that connect with the auditory nerve that sends signals for their brains to interpret. In other words, the implants bypass the eardrums and parts of the inner ears that don’t function as they should.
Abigail’s Mum shared her thoughts with Stars Offline before her daughter joined the Bachelor show. ‘She’s always made us proud,’ she boasted. ‘So I’m not worried about anything. I told her to have fun, but jokingly to remember her grandparents will be watching.’
Later Abigail described to People.com how she had no idea how people were going to perceive her. ‘I was really scared when I decided to come on just because I think people view the hearing community and the deaf community as black and white,’ she explained.
‘I'm kind of that grey space because I don't use sign language. I'm able to communicate vocally. But I’m stone deaf without my cochlear implants. The response has been incredible. I've had so many people reach out and say, thank you for sharing your story, I have a very similar one.’
However, Abigail Is Not Our Only Hero on Television
Abigail has done a great job of tackling deafness in reality TV, especially when audiences expect their stars to be perfect according to their own narrow view of ‘perfect’. However, she’s not the only star to have normalized deafness, no not by far, here are just three more:
- Nyle DiMarco’s home tongue is sign language. In fact, his two brothers and his parents are all deaf, even his grandparents were. But that did not stop him from winning America’s Next Top Model in 2015.
- Marlee Matlin has 20% hearing in one ear, but is totally deaf in the other. Her acting career spanned over 40 years, in the course of which she earned an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.
- Linda Bove was born deaf, but her parents believed in her and she studied library science and became interested in theater. She played the role of librarian in Sesame Street for over 30 years, and introduced millions of children to sign language.
We Could Share So Much More But We Ran Out of Time
We started talking about Abigail Heringer, the deaf girl on Bachelor. And then we rolled it into a general discussion about living successfully with deafness and normalizing it.
We try to help in our small way with affordable hearing aids. But we’ll park the commercials. Because the core message of transcending life’s challenges is so much more important.