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joangela (@joangela)

Rude or just can’t hear?

Hearing Loss | Last Active: Oct 1, 2019 | Replies (22)

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I think you're talking to me. My wife tells me I'm unfriendly and/or unsociable. Because I can't understand speech very well I don't initiate conversations especially in a crowd or noisy place. I can tell by the look on peoples faces that I have given a goofy reply when I guessed at what was said and got it wrong. I have been in conversations and doing OK when multiple people start talking at once which makes hearing impossible for me to understand. When I leave the group I'm judged to be unsociable. I tend to be quiet because I find that the more I talk the more people assume I can understand them which is not the case.

Also it takes me some extra time to process what was said so I'm often slow to respond. That slight gap is time enough for someone else to start talking and then I'm out of the conversation – again.

My hearing is pretty good at low frequencies (below 1000hz) and my loss is profound at higher frequencies. My audiogram looks more like a right angle than a curve. That means I can hear noise well and can't understand speech. Very often when I'm driving alone or in some other noisy environmentI turn my hearing aids off because the noise is so irritating. Trying to understand speech is very hard and causes stress so I may turn my hearing aids off then too and enjoy the quiet. Then if someone starts talking to me I'm 3 sentences behind by the time I get them turned back on.

I often use gestures and facial expressions to let people know I can't understand them without interrupting them while they are talking. Because I have begun learning ASL which is a very animated and uses facial expressions a lot I find that sort of natural. It is fairly easy to understand even for folks who don't know any ASL. I often to tell people I can't hear them repeatedly unless it is someone who knows me. People always assume other people can hear AND understand.

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Replies to "I think you're talking to me. My wife tells me I'm unfriendly and/or unsociable. Because I..."

Arrowshooter is correct: there are lots of times when there's not much you can do except be quiet. Due to Meniere's, I can often hear that people are talking but the distortion is so great that I can't understand enough to really follow the conversation.

I had a nice break last evening because my daughter and son-in-law were here…small group, good voices, easy to guess what I don't hear. While I was in and out of the kitchen to serve dinner, they were talking with my husband about living through the '64 earthquake in Alaska, which meant that I wasn't really missing anything I didn't already know. My daughter apparently understands that I make a real effort to understand so isn't miffed if I ask her to repeat something. An entire evening of casual conversation in which I was able to participate, for the most part. Cadillac!

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