And yes I am yelling….
This isn’t something I like talking about, but I feel the need to speak for all of us who have any kind of hearing problem. I am almost totally deaf in one ear and about 80% in the other. I wear a hearing aid but most likely will be needing to have one in both ears in the very near future.
The reason for my talking about it today is I want to raise awareness and hopefully by doing so, maybe make people have a little compassion for the hearing impaired. I struggle on a daily basis to understand people in any number of situations. I can’t always hear servers in restaurants or clerks in the stores. People have a tendency to talk fast and or mumble which makes hearing them even harder. If I am going to be in a situation where I know it is going to be hard to hear the person and it is important for me to do so(like at my recent eye exam), I will stop them before they even start talking and tell them I wear a hearing aid and would they speak slowly and clearly.
I have to constantly ask people to repeat what they said, sometimes 3 times(that is my limit). Very often, what happens is I still am not getting it and just nod or answer to what I’ve thought they said. Then they stand there staring at me with a blank look in their eyes because I’m clearly not answering the question correctly. Sometimes I just walk away.
Not being able to hear is hard. It isn’t something someone can tell about you when they see you. Even when you are with family and friends that do know, they tend to forget and talk in a normal tone of voice so I can’t always join in the conversation. Even when I do, people think it’s funny when I mistake what they’ve said, when “Do you want some brie”, becomes “Do you have to pee”. I agree that is funny and I laugh along with them. But sometimes its not funny. Sometimes it just hurts. It is hurtful to make fun of someone with a hearing impairment, just like making fun of any other impairment.
I don’t like having this affliction. I don’t like sitting on the sidelines and not joining in the fun at family gatherings and dinners with friends. And I am happy for everyone with perfect hearing. I envy you. Enjoy it, you don’t know what a wonderful thing it is until you don’t have it. All I’m asking is the next time you are talking to someone and they ask you to repeat something for the third time, just do it and don’t complain about it or make fun of them. We hate it as much as you do!
So please people, speak up and speak clearly!