Hearing loss: How do you identify yourself to others?

Posted by linkeellis @linkeellis, Thu, Feb 7 2:19pm

As a long time member of the hearing loss group, and part of the entire dDeaf community, I find that many people have very definite ideas as to how they identify themselves: deaf, Deaf, hearing impaired, hard of hearing, stone deaf, can’t hear really well or some other term. I find myself changing my self-identification based on whom I’m talking. If it’s a culturally capital “D” Deaf person, I say I’m hard of hearing; to hearing people, I say I’m hearing impaired or oral deaf (because they know what that means: I speak); and to my hearing loss peers, I say I’m deaf (because I am). It’s a constant dance when I’m around Deaf people. The ASL community has many issues with deaf people who communicate orally and believe everyone should sign. But that’s not how many people come into the hearing loss andor deaf world. I’m curious to know what others do. There is no right or wrong here.

I'm 63 and worked 20 years in construction environments where I could have controlled today's losses but I did not. I just read linkeellis and the definition of oral deaf and found I'm 50%ish of yours. Problem areas: Ringing in ears 100% of the day. In social gatherings where I'm "listening" to conversations in a circle facing me I generally just listen to what I can, rather than try to piece portions together, then – look for an opportunity to walk outside the event (rest), and don't ask what was said unless I really need the information. My first experience with ALS community is the linkeellis paragraph. I looked at the diagram developed by Charlotte Baker and Dennis Cokely in 1980 to explain how a person qualifies for becoming a member of the community of …… varying hearing levels.

Self definition is: Entering lonerhood, in 3 settings: 1) It's less frustrating to not talk when you cannot listen, "social settings". 2) With my "wife" #1, coupled with her confusion, of the appearance, that I don't care to listen and her mother died of Alzheimer's. 3) I have "memory loss" from epilepsy since 22 yrs old, ongoing, varying descriptions. I'm not involved with epilepsy beyond the neurologist and medication. No contact with people with epilepsy or persons with memory loss conditions. That 3rd setting is 2-part to define because "memory loss" is taking place daily even if information is heard, when given it may be lost inside, not at all lost – 5 minutes – forever. The appearance of not listening can be memory loss and or, hearing loss. I have trouble separating the 2 for percentages because they often eat at the same table. My more recent decision with less involvement with people has only given me some rest, but rest is temporary. It's time to deal with my hearing issues in order to better identify memory issues.

Would I prefer being 100% deaf or have memory loss? I guess that's not an entirely fair question, except as it applies to me, and like persons only? I've never asked that question until today. Memory loss and Alzheimer's share a lot. Alzheimer's is frightening, always with a hard end. I do not have an Alzheimer's diagnosis. 100% deaf "to me" means just "a freight train" to cope with. My mental health is that I still truly laugh at the situation. But, that's how I'm coming into the hearing loss or deaf world today.

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I don't really "identify" myself to people very often. My hearing is 100% normal with my Cochlear Implants now so unless I tell someone, no one knows I have hearing loss. When I wore HA's, I was always telling people I was hard of hearing, made excuses for my poor hearing, etc. because I was only understanding a portion of the conversation. I grew up hearing and I associate myself with the hearing world. I've never really been a part of the "deaf world". I don't understand the fraction of the Deaf community that is so anti-speech/hearing, but it is what it is I guess.

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I usually say I am hearing impaired. It seems to get the best results from others so that they speak louder or more distinctly.

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I usually say I am hearing impaired. It covers my need to indicate to others that they need to speak louder or more distinctly, without having to go into detail about what my exact hearing impairment is. The one thing I do find that as my conversations lengthen, others tend to forget to continue to speak at a louder level and so I either need to remind them to speak up, or request they repeat things…can be frustrating sometimes!

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I was born deaf and wear hearing aid on my right ear. I speak pretty good. I love being around with deaf people with ASL. I am retired from Kentucky School for the Deaf. Now I am subbing for Montessori School. Sometime I have difficult to communication with kids and staff. Some kids learned some sign language and they understand me being deaf. I can be frustrating sometimes.

We deaf people have experience oppression and barriers from hearing world. We ask for an interpreter for safety driver for the seniors. AARP won't provide an interpreter because it too expensive. We have to tell Ky Commission HH and Deaf center what happened. KCDHH called AARP and warned them. Because KCDHH knows ADA laws. So AARP will do for us. We are happy.

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Hello. I am profoundly deaf in my right ear, have a high frequency loss in my left. My family history is my maternal grandparents were both born hearing and lost their hearing as children (ages 3 an 7) due to illness/high fevers. My mother and her three siblings all had normal hearing throughout life. They all communicated with my grandparents by sign (Amslam). I was born with normal hearing but also lost what I have to high fevers as an infant. All four of my siblings have normal hearing. I always heard well enough that no need for sign language growing up. It is a sensory neural loss so an aid in my right ear would be of little value to me.
With me, I compensate really well and most people I interact with do not recognize I have hearing loss. I do struggle with group conversations where there is much ambient noise such as a restaurant. I lip read extremely well (perfected it tending bar in college). In business, it typically not an issue as even group meetings are normally devoid of much ambient noise so voices are clear. Conference calls are a different matter but that can be a painful experience regardless of your hearing ability.
In social group settings in loud places, I tend to focus on individual conversations and ignore the rest. My friends and family all know this but it does cause occasional frustration when I miss out on things but c’est la vie.
In business, I simply tell people sitting on my right that I am deaf in my right ear should I not respond if they are talking to me. Never an issue.
My wife and daughter are both SLPs and my daughter working in total communication as well as auditory/verbal therapy with a focus on cochlear implant recipients. Leads to occasional interesting conversations.
Bottom line, I guess I don’t truly “Identify” in respect to my hearing loss but manage situatinos depending on the setting.

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@airotto370

Hello. I am profoundly deaf in my right ear, have a high frequency loss in my left. My family history is my maternal grandparents were both born hearing and lost their hearing as children (ages 3 an 7) due to illness/high fevers. My mother and her three siblings all had normal hearing throughout life. They all communicated with my grandparents by sign (Amslam). I was born with normal hearing but also lost what I have to high fevers as an infant. All four of my siblings have normal hearing. I always heard well enough that no need for sign language growing up. It is a sensory neural loss so an aid in my right ear would be of little value to me.
With me, I compensate really well and most people I interact with do not recognize I have hearing loss. I do struggle with group conversations where there is much ambient noise such as a restaurant. I lip read extremely well (perfected it tending bar in college). In business, it typically not an issue as even group meetings are normally devoid of much ambient noise so voices are clear. Conference calls are a different matter but that can be a painful experience regardless of your hearing ability.
In social group settings in loud places, I tend to focus on individual conversations and ignore the rest. My friends and family all know this but it does cause occasional frustration when I miss out on things but c’est la vie.
In business, I simply tell people sitting on my right that I am deaf in my right ear should I not respond if they are talking to me. Never an issue.
My wife and daughter are both SLPs and my daughter working in total communication as well as auditory/verbal therapy with a focus on cochlear implant recipients. Leads to occasional interesting conversations.
Bottom line, I guess I don’t truly “Identify” in respect to my hearing loss but manage situatinos depending on the setting.

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@airotto370 – many people compensate and forget to let people know when they need an assist i.e. conference calls and loud places. Do you just deal with it or do you say: "I have a hearing loss\deaf\hard of hearing could you please repeat that or whatever to make sure you are communicating properly? Is it okay to be left out?

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@1634517678

I'm 63 and worked 20 years in construction environments where I could have controlled today's losses but I did not. I just read linkeellis and the definition of oral deaf and found I'm 50%ish of yours. Problem areas: Ringing in ears 100% of the day. In social gatherings where I'm "listening" to conversations in a circle facing me I generally just listen to what I can, rather than try to piece portions together, then – look for an opportunity to walk outside the event (rest), and don't ask what was said unless I really need the information. My first experience with ALS community is the linkeellis paragraph. I looked at the diagram developed by Charlotte Baker and Dennis Cokely in 1980 to explain how a person qualifies for becoming a member of the community of …… varying hearing levels.

Self definition is: Entering lonerhood, in 3 settings: 1) It's less frustrating to not talk when you cannot listen, "social settings". 2) With my "wife" #1, coupled with her confusion, of the appearance, that I don't care to listen and her mother died of Alzheimer's. 3) I have "memory loss" from epilepsy since 22 yrs old, ongoing, varying descriptions. I'm not involved with epilepsy beyond the neurologist and medication. No contact with people with epilepsy or persons with memory loss conditions. That 3rd setting is 2-part to define because "memory loss" is taking place daily even if information is heard, when given it may be lost inside, not at all lost – 5 minutes – forever. The appearance of not listening can be memory loss and or, hearing loss. I have trouble separating the 2 for percentages because they often eat at the same table. My more recent decision with less involvement with people has only given me some rest, but rest is temporary. It's time to deal with my hearing issues in order to better identify memory issues.

Would I prefer being 100% deaf or have memory loss? I guess that's not an entirely fair question, except as it applies to me, and like persons only? I've never asked that question until today. Memory loss and Alzheimer's share a lot. Alzheimer's is frightening, always with a hard end. I do not have an Alzheimer's diagnosis. 100% deaf "to me" means just "a freight train" to cope with. My mental health is that I still truly laugh at the situation. But, that's how I'm coming into the hearing loss or deaf world today.

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@1634517678 – many people don't understand that significant hearing loss leads to early or earlier onset to memory loss or dementia. Your ears and your mind are not being stimulated so your brain is not connecting the dots – and as they say, use it or lose it. We hear with our brains, not our ears.

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@lunameow14

I was born deaf and wear hearing aid on my right ear. I speak pretty good. I love being around with deaf people with ASL. I am retired from Kentucky School for the Deaf. Now I am subbing for Montessori School. Sometime I have difficult to communication with kids and staff. Some kids learned some sign language and they understand me being deaf. I can be frustrating sometimes.

We deaf people have experience oppression and barriers from hearing world. We ask for an interpreter for safety driver for the seniors. AARP won't provide an interpreter because it too expensive. We have to tell Ky Commission HH and Deaf center what happened. KCDHH called AARP and warned them. Because KCDHH knows ADA laws. So AARP will do for us. We are happy.

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@lunameow14 You are lucky because the KCDHH is an excellent organization. Speaking of driving, have you ever been stopped or in an accident and need to communicate with law enforcement or other drivers? What methods do you use to handle the situation? Do you have an "I am Deaf" or "I have Hearing Loss" sign on your visor to let them know?

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@linkeellis

@lunameow14 You are lucky because the KCDHH is an excellent organization. Speaking of driving, have you ever been stopped or in an accident and need to communicate with law enforcement or other drivers? What methods do you use to handle the situation? Do you have an "I am Deaf" or "I have Hearing Loss" sign on your visor to let them know?

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No, my husband and I want to take training safety driver for elders so we can get discount for our car insurance.

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@linkeellis

@lunameow14 You are lucky because the KCDHH is an excellent organization. Speaking of driving, have you ever been stopped or in an accident and need to communicate with law enforcement or other drivers? What methods do you use to handle the situation? Do you have an "I am Deaf" or "I have Hearing Loss" sign on your visor to let them know?

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One time, back when I had HA"s and they were not giving me a lot of benefit, I was pulled over for going 40 in a 30. I had no idea what the speed limit was, it was a 4 lane road. The police officer said something that I did not understand at first and then followed up with "from the look on your face, I can tell you didn't know". He asked me if I knew what the speed limit was on the road. The look on my face was because I didn't understand what he was saying :). I got off with a warning.

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I am blessed to live in a community where there is a large deaf/hearing loss population.

When we moved here around 30 years ago, I (to best of my memory) had never had any interactions with a person who was deaf. And neither had our 2 sons, aged 5 and 7 at the time. One day they were riding their bikes on our deadend street, and they were upset because there was a girl (around their age) who was also riding her bike. They asked my why that girl didn't respond when they spoke to her as she rode past them. That gave me the opportunity to explain that she couldn't hear them, and I told them to wave to her and to speak to her when was facing them. Several days later, my 5 yr old said, "Mommy, deaf people are just like us. The only difference is that they can't hear."

Myself, I have taken several beginning ASL classes, however, the beginning level is not enough for me to be able to communicate with my deaf friends. I am fortunate that most are excellent lip readers.

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@tulip

One time, back when I had HA"s and they were not giving me a lot of benefit, I was pulled over for going 40 in a 30. I had no idea what the speed limit was, it was a 4 lane road. The police officer said something that I did not understand at first and then followed up with "from the look on your face, I can tell you didn't know". He asked me if I knew what the speed limit was on the road. The look on my face was because I didn't understand what he was saying :). I got off with a warning.

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@tulip you are lucky. I was arrested because they didn't believe my husband or myself that I couldn't walk a straight line in the middle of the night with a big flashlight in my eyes. They were pretty apologetic after taking me in and talking to me in a quiet well-lighted room. The fact that it was Christmas Eve made it worse. A warning is good!

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@linkeellis

@tulip you are lucky. I was arrested because they didn't believe my husband or myself that I couldn't walk a straight line in the middle of the night with a big flashlight in my eyes. They were pretty apologetic after taking me in and talking to me in a quiet well-lighted room. The fact that it was Christmas Eve made it worse. A warning is good!

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Golly! Policeman put flashlight toward your eyes that was difficult With your hearing loss walk on straight line. That was wrong. Glad they apology you.

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I find myself saying "I can't hear you" because normally that's what happens…people speak before ever being introduced. It makes the other person flustered.. repeating or shouting. So then I explain I'm deaf ….and get this sick smile look of pity sorry glance away. Sigh. I want to grab this speaker and say "hey I really would like to engage with you in conversation" but it's his or my next on line in the supermarket or where ever…and that's the end of that attempt to break thru social isolation.

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