A beloved Bachelor Nation alum discusses her deaf accent while getting ready in a recent TikTok video.
On June 8, 28-year-old Abigail Heringer (@abigailheringer), who previously appeared on Season 25 of “The Bachelor” and Season 7 of “The Bachelor in Paradise,” got candid about her deaf accent and what it’s like to have a cochlear implant.
“A lot of deaf people have what’s called a deaf accent,” Heringer explains during an episode of her weekly Hear Me Out TikTok series. “So some notice it when I have my C.I., cochlear implant, processor on but it’s definitely more noticeable when my processor is off.”
According to the American Cochlear Implant Alliance, a cochlear implant is “an electronic medical device designed to restore the ability to perceive sounds and understand speech by individuals with moderate to profound hearing loss.”
Heringer, who was born profoundly deaf, then takes out her C.I. as she curls her hair.
“So the reason that my voice sounds different, or my deaf accent comes out more when my processor’s off is due to something called the auditory feedback loop,” she explains. “It happens when you speak. You’re able to listen to yourself and then make any corrections if something sounds wrong. So when I don’t have my processor on, like right now, I’m not able to listen and make those corrections.”
“I feel like my deaf accent sounds, like, words being slurred at the end. My voice gets a little bit deeper and I talk a little bit louder than I normally do,” she adds.
Heringer turns to her boyfriend Noah Erb (@noah_erb), off camera, to ask if he can tell when she’s not wearing the implant, to which he responds, “Yeah. Sometimes more than others, but, yeah, both are hot.”
“My ear’s still off,” she replies, at first unable to hear him.
“People learn to speak at an early age — and people who became deaf after they learned to talk (postlingual) learn to talk differently to those who have been deaf from birth (prelingual),” University of East London lecturer Helen L. Barr wrote for The Conversation. “It is people who are born without any hearing who tend to benefit the most from lip-reading — and are often better at doing it, although lip-reading takes longer to learn.”
While her family and friends can tell “pretty much right away” when Heringer isn’t wearing the hearing device, some people “don’t even notice at all.”
‘I truly love your voice both ways! It’s very comforting, if that makes sense.’
TikTok users have taken to Heringer’s comments to thank her for raising awareness about cochlear implants.
“When he says both are hot you deserve nothing less,” @bari_jessica replied.
“‘My ears still off’ lol love y’all and very glad you’re bringing attention to this!!” @andreaaberumenn wrote.
“I truly love your voice both ways! It’s very comforting if that makes sense,” @rae1928 commented.
“Patients with cochlear implants have the ability to exercise auditory control over their own speech production and over the speech of others, which is important for the development of speech control,” Damir Horga and Marko Liker wrote in their 2006 study “Voice and pronunciation of cochlear implant speakers.” “Acoustic analysis and perceptual assessment by phoneticians showed that in great majority of variables, subjects with cochlear implants performed better than the profoundly deaf subjects with traditional hearing-aids.”
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