In her post-Bachelor interviews, Abigail Heringer is giving new insight into living as a deaf person in a hearing world. During the Women Tell All special, she opened up about living in the ‘grey space’ between the two. Though Abigail is profoundly deaf, she has a cochlear implant that helps her hear.
However, she once faced backlash from a member of the Deaf community for having a cochlear implant. What happened?
Why Abigail Doesn’t Call Herself Deaf With a ‘Capital D’
One thing many viewers didn’t know before Abigail Heringer appeared on The Bachelor is the difference between deaf and Deaf. During her time on the show and since her departure, she has done her best to make the difference clear. While she is deaf – she isn’t part of the Deaf community.
What’s the difference?
Lower-case ‘deaf’ refers to the medical condition of not being able to hear. Deaf with a capital ‘D’ refers to someone who has been deaf since birth, knows sign language and is fully immersed in the community.
And so, Abigail doesn’t refer to herself as ‘Deaf’ with a capital ‘D.’
Abigail Heringer doesn’t know sign language and also relies on her voice for communication. Many members of the Deaf community frown on both of those things.
While she was born deaf, she received a cochlear implant at 2-years-old. Cochlear implants are a very controversial topic in the Deaf community. Why?
Former Teacher Told Her Cochlear Implants ‘Tearing Deaf Community Apart’
A device that can help deaf people hear is a good thing, right? Not to everyone in the Deaf community. For one, not everyone is eligible for the implant. Nor does it always work. In fact, if it does work, it can take years of practice and training for the brain to recognize the sounds.
As Heavy notes, the implant doesn’t recreate normal hearing.
Abigail Heringer recently did a virtual interview with the Deaf news site The Daily Moth. She was asked several questions that were never addressed on the show. Why was she so adamant that she didn’t represent the Deaf community?
It came down to respect. From her previous experience, she knows that cochlear implants are a hot-button issue in the Deaf community. Furthermore, she recognizes that her experience doesn’t represent the community as a whole.
One of Abigail’s former teachers disagreed with cochlear implants. For many people in the Deaf community, the implants imply that being deaf is a flaw that needs to be fixed.
Abigail told The Daily Moth that she took a sign language class in high school. The teacher was a Deaf person. He was a great teacher, but according to Abigail, he was also “very vocal” against cochlear implants. In his opinion, the implants were ‘tearing the Deaf community apart.’
And Abigail knows her former teacher isn’t alone in thinking that. She explained, “So that’s why I just wanted to make sure that when I’m talking about my own experiences, it’s my experience but it’s not gonna be the same for everybody in the Deaf community as well.”
Did Her Cochlear Implant Help Abigail Heringer Communicate on The Bachelor?
So, just how much could Abigail hear during The Bachelor? Less than the show led viewers to believe. The magic of editing! Abigail admitted to The Daily Moth that she had difficulty understanding what was being said in group settings.
However, the other women were willing to repeat what was being said. Abigail developed close friendships with some of the other women. In fact, she took to her Instagram to chastise her followers for sending Chelsea Vaughn hateful messages.
Many fans are rooting for Abigail to be the next Bachelorette. An announcement should come soon.
Meanwhile, Matt James finds love in the remaining two episodes of Season 25. Tune in Mondays on ABC to find out who he chooses.
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