36 million Americans experience hearing loss.
It’s a world where they can touch and see everything but can’t hear a word.
In this edition of Positively North Dakota meet two coworkers making that loss part of their everyday conversation.
Ricky Odden was born deaf but he never let that stop him. He followed his passion and went into wood working and he’s been employed at cabinetry business for 14 years.
“It’s kind of scary because I’m working with all hearing people and I don’t always know what they’re talking about,” said Ricky Odden, Deaf Individual.
For several years, there was no one in the workplace who could communicate with Ricky in sign language. Instead they always wrote on paper to talk. But that all changed about 2 years ago when a man named Luke Sabin came to work for the same company.
“He was working in his own little world back there and it was hard to watch,” said Luke Sabin, Ricky’s Friend.
“He came to me and said, ‘Are you deaf?’,” said Odden.
Luke didn’t know many deaf people and did not know sign language but that was all about change.
“He said he wanted to learn some sign language and asked if I would teach him,” said Odden.
And Ricky did teach him and the now the two can talk all the time.
“He seemed cold and distant but when I started learning sign language all of sudden he was like expressive and happy to talk,” said Sabin.
“I’m so happy I have someone who can interpret with me a little bit,” said Odden.
Both of them learned that once you get to know a person you could turn out to have a lot in common with them.
“He’s an inspiration to me,” said Sabin.
Luke is able to help interpret for Ricky when he wants to talk with his boss or other co-workers.