Educating others about hearing loss and deafness

Posted by johnny3 @johnny3, Oct 9, 2019

I normally don’t discuss my hearing loss along other people behavior towards it to unfamiliar people such as this forum since this is new to me. Its just a thought on my mind. Recently I moved into this building where I live and I was getting acquainted with my next door neighbor. In our very first fully involved conversation we had, he inquired about my hearing loss and said ” How much loss do you have,” and I replied “About 70% in both ears.” He then followed with “Well, that’s pretty much Deaf isn’t it?” Onward I told him No since I don’t need sign language to communicate. I ignored it even though it bothered me a little, but I continue to be affable. We talked a little more and he then ended the conversation. From time to time I see him and there’s a distance. I’m ok with it. As I read more of the posts on this site and other sites, and I begin to wonder if you educate yourself immensely about the physiology and anatomy of the ears, you can turn a remark into a educational thought provoking conversation. This may in turn peak interests for hearing people to learn more about hearing loss as well as deafness. Just a thought.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Hearing Loss group.

@johnny3

Thanks for the reply. The unsettling thing about this conversation I had with the neighbor is that the setting was quiet and we were sitting next to each other. I heard every word he said including verbs,pronouns and adjectives. The duration was about 20 minutes.Then out of nowhere he ask about the severity of my loss, and some point he ended the conversation and walked away. I could be wrong, something tells me this person is not interested in the process of hearing, but I'm sure there are those that are. I'll keep on smiling, no doubt.

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I am learning how to speak up for myself. I have learned to tell people to keep their usual speaking volume. One time a nurse came into a quiet empty waiting room and loudly said she was going to take my blood pressure. Another time a technician at Mayo gave me an IQ test in a volume that was clearly stressing her voice. I wish I had explained to her that mine is sensorineural loss, which is not improved with volume increase but is improved with quiet background, slowing speech down, and allowing me to see her face clearly. It is getting easier for me to ask people to slow down. I still have trouble when people get agitated after I ask for a repetition of what they said. Some people react as if I wasn’t listening. I’m learning, and will be glad to read any tips you might have.

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@mpeters

I am learning how to speak up for myself. I have learned to tell people to keep their usual speaking volume. One time a nurse came into a quiet empty waiting room and loudly said she was going to take my blood pressure. Another time a technician at Mayo gave me an IQ test in a volume that was clearly stressing her voice. I wish I had explained to her that mine is sensorineural loss, which is not improved with volume increase but is improved with quiet background, slowing speech down, and allowing me to see her face clearly. It is getting easier for me to ask people to slow down. I still have trouble when people get agitated after I ask for a repetition of what they said. Some people react as if I wasn’t listening. I’m learning, and will be glad to read any tips you might have.

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@mpeters
Good for you and the more you do it, the easier it will become. May I suggest that you repeat back to the person what is was you DID hear instead of asking them for a complete repeat. For example…you’re in a doctors office and she says “ please turn to the left” You didn’t hear the word “ left” So you say …”which way do I turn “ or something like that. Some people do get agitated and annoyed….too bad.
And don’t ever let anyone tell you “Never mind” Insist on a repeat. That’s just so rude and dismissive. Assertiveness with a smile.

FL Mary

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I have bad hearing in both ears,with epilepsy it affects the hearing so I can empathize with you especially with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

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I try to remember to ask them to put into different words (rephrase) what they said, rather than repeat it exactly.

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@banshee
The best advice I ever received about repeating was to repeat what it was I DID hear. For example .. someone says “We’re all going to Digornios for pizza. “ I would say
“We’re all going where for pizza?”
Or I will tell what word I didn’t hear…as in “I didn't get the last word” or “who?” Names are a big problem.

For many years I have used a sign (on red paper) when I visit a Doctors office that states “Patent hard of hearing…may not hear name called.” and indicate my name on the sign. I’ve asked the front desk of Doctors offices to place it on the outside of the chart or to bring it with them when they call my name, Recently , in a large eye clinic which I have been to recently for monthly eye injections, I had to amend the sign to indicate they must bring it with them when they cone out to the waiting room as they were leaving the chart in the exam room. When I spot the red paper, it’s a visual clue for me. It depends on the size of the office. Or I will just let them know at the front desk. Fortunately I don’t need to go to a lot of Doctors. Whatever works. I can never sit and read a magazine when Im waiting…always on the alert. If it’s a new place with different exam rooms, I’ll ask which room will the Doctor’s assistant will be coming from. I’ll tell them I am by myself and have no one to hear for me, I can play the sympathy card when necessary.

In any situation when it truly matters that you know everything being said, like a mechanics shop etc., it pays to be upfront. I tell them about my app also and it usually intrigues them and they want to see it or know the name. Most people are caring and helpful. It doesn’t hurt to have a nice smile on your face.

I got off track but it’s so important and it’s an anti isolation independent approach for all of us in the twilight zone of the hearing/not hearing world.

FL Mary

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