WF man deals with COVID-19 while being deaf

While face masks make it difficult to read lips he hasn't let that stop him from living his life
Updated: Jul. 29, 2020 at 10:28 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - A Wichita Falls man shared his experience in dealing with COVID-19 and face masks while being deaf.

Billy Thacker, a Wichita Falls resident who suffers from hearing loss, was born deaf but as a child he was able to communicate just fine. It wasn’t until he got older that he noticed something was missing.

“I was crying and I was hurt deep inside because there was a crowd of people and I can’t understand them all and I’m frustrated looking in a world of silence and lips moving and I can’t understand all the hearing people,” said Thacker.

That’s when Thacker decided to learn American Sign Language and he hasn’t looked back since.

He graduated from Midwestern State University and worked at Sheppard Air Force Base for 22 years before retiring.

Billy says while COVID-19 and masks have made it more difficult to communicate with others, it’s not impossible.

In fact he feels it’s made people more patient and compassionate towards those around them.

Lately he’s found himself acting as an interrupter for his friends who are also deaf whenever they go out in public and need help communicating.

Thacker says communication will always be a challenge in his life.

However what he wants people to know is that it doesn’t define him and at the end of the day he is just like everyone else.

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