Hearing loss: How do you identify yourself to others?

Posted by linkeellis @linkeellis, Feb 7, 2019

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.

@asklar02492, @1634517678, @tulip, @cherriann, @tulip, @lunameow14, @airotto370, @linkeellis, @reallyrosie, @serenade, @briguy, @imallears,

I struggle with labels (how you identify yourself). I am a hearing individual, and when I used to teach we were taught to say 'a person with ????? disability, or ????impairment. That worked well in a school setting, because it told the teachers that this individual would need accommodations in order to learn. My opinion and observation is that the general population does not have an awareness of hearing loss or hard of hearing or deafness because it is something they have never had any experience with.
I want to say thank you for sharing your experiences in daily living and in social settings. I feel sad that sometimes you feel isolated in social settings; I feel sad that I sometimes feel isolateed from communicating with my friends who have hearing loss. I am sorry that in today's world that you have to be the ones to make accommodations for us, the hearing population.

I plan to keep reading and learning from you. I look forward to pouring a cup of tea or coffee and being part of your conversations in this Hearing Group and throughout the discussions on Connect.

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@rosemarya

@asklar02492, @1634517678, @tulip, @cherriann, @tulip, @lunameow14, @airotto370, @linkeellis, @reallyrosie, @serenade, @briguy, @imallears,

I struggle with labels (how you identify yourself). I am a hearing individual, and when I used to teach we were taught to say 'a person with ????? disability, or ????impairment. That worked well in a school setting, because it told the teachers that this individual would need accommodations in order to learn. My opinion and observation is that the general population does not have an awareness of hearing loss or hard of hearing or deafness because it is something they have never had any experience with.
I want to say thank you for sharing your experiences in daily living and in social settings. I feel sad that sometimes you feel isolated in social settings; I feel sad that I sometimes feel isolateed from communicating with my friends who have hearing loss. I am sorry that in today's world that you have to be the ones to make accommodations for us, the hearing population.

I plan to keep reading and learning from you. I look forward to pouring a cup of tea or coffee and being part of your conversations in this Hearing Group and throughout the discussions on Connect.

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We don't SOMETIMES feel isolate d. We always are isolated in hearing settings. We never want to be a burden. So…IF u are someone a deafie has called "easy to lip-read" and u know something about the people u are with, try to be a bit of an advocate in the situation. Try to unobtrusively include the deafie. I know I would appreciate it. I also know some newly deafened people would be horribly mortified if anyone made a big deal like announcing " we have a hard of hearing person among us" blah blah…

So thank you, sincerely, for expressing your feelings but if u would try to help in some small way, you would be helping us and yourself, too.

Did I say this wrong? I usually do so if I offended someone, that's par for the course🙄

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@rosemarya

@asklar02492, @1634517678, @tulip, @cherriann, @tulip, @lunameow14, @airotto370, @linkeellis, @reallyrosie, @serenade, @briguy, @imallears,

I struggle with labels (how you identify yourself). I am a hearing individual, and when I used to teach we were taught to say 'a person with ????? disability, or ????impairment. That worked well in a school setting, because it told the teachers that this individual would need accommodations in order to learn. My opinion and observation is that the general population does not have an awareness of hearing loss or hard of hearing or deafness because it is something they have never had any experience with.
I want to say thank you for sharing your experiences in daily living and in social settings. I feel sad that sometimes you feel isolated in social settings; I feel sad that I sometimes feel isolateed from communicating with my friends who have hearing loss. I am sorry that in today's world that you have to be the ones to make accommodations for us, the hearing population.

I plan to keep reading and learning from you. I look forward to pouring a cup of tea or coffee and being part of your conversations in this Hearing Group and throughout the discussions on Connect.

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Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. Those on both sides of the hearing aisle I think would be served better with more attention and education through print, all forms of media, etc. about the difficulties that those with hearing impairment have. Remembering back to the days when I had no hearing problems, I personally didn't have much of a clue of what not having good hearing means in work and social situations (daily life!). Thanks again for meaningful comments – much appreciated.

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@reallyrosie

We don't SOMETIMES feel isolate d. We always are isolated in hearing settings. We never want to be a burden. So…IF u are someone a deafie has called "easy to lip-read" and u know something about the people u are with, try to be a bit of an advocate in the situation. Try to unobtrusively include the deafie. I know I would appreciate it. I also know some newly deafened people would be horribly mortified if anyone made a big deal like announcing " we have a hard of hearing person among us" blah blah…

So thank you, sincerely, for expressing your feelings but if u would try to help in some small way, you would be helping us and yourself, too.

Did I say this wrong? I usually do so if I offended someone, that's par for the course🙄

Jump to this post

Yep, no what you are saying. My brother who has an even greater hearing loss than me, has a great advocate in his wife. In social situations she will repeat parts of what others are saying more loudly when she can detect he isn't hearing it. She has perfected this so it blends in almost seamlessly and doesn't call attention or interrupt the conversation going on around them. Unfortunately, not everyone has someone with them to do this when these occasions arise.

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I was not prepared for the isolation from the world I inhabited for 40+ years prior to the onset of my progressive hearing loss. Feeling left out and surprised by the reactions of people I’d known before. Some understood, but some never really did bother to take the time to keep me in their world. As a teen of the 60’s, music was the background to my life. I managed to enjoy concerts with hearing aids but even lost that as my hearing became progressively worse. I wish I could have had this forum before, it is so great to have other people to relate my journey to

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@cherriann

Yep, no what you are saying. My brother who has an even greater hearing loss than me, has a great advocate in his wife. In social situations she will repeat parts of what others are saying more loudly when she can detect he isn't hearing it. She has perfected this so it blends in almost seamlessly and doesn't call attention or interrupt the conversation going on around them. Unfortunately, not everyone has someone with them to do this when these occasions arise.

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Exactly! those are the people we need. How to cultivate them is a good question. Cloning illegal….can u ask her how she developed her skills? Could she train others?

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@reallyrosie

Exactly! those are the people we need. How to cultivate them is a good question. Cloning illegal….can u ask her how she developed her skills? Could she train others?

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I don't think there was any special way she developed her skills. They've been married for over 50 years and my sister in-law can judge just by watching and listening when my brother is hearing. Watching my brother's face I think was part of it….she can tell quite accurately by glance whether he is hearing conversation. And of course, just by his response or lack of response! He has always been an engaging person, so if he is quiet, it is indictive that he isn't hearing well those who are speaking.

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It would be really wonderful to have a helper like that, but that's probably not likely that most of us will. I guess we'll just have to do our best. I've found after moving to senior citizen situation that the 65+ population is more likely to be aware and supportive when they realize I have hearing loss, and also pretty patient, since many of us seem to have one or another disability. But for the most part, I'm just past the point where I can participate fully in group discussions – a loss for sure. Ah well, at least there's the internet and so far I can comprehend fairly well in a one to one conversation.

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I guess I always expected the social isolation since I'd seen my father and grandmother lose their hearing. I'm grateful for HLAA – I just wish there were more support groups in my area – I can only get to one a month, and it's an hour and a half away.
Our last meeting was about music – apparently one problem associated with hearing loss is that people lose the ability to pick up the melody out of all the different sounds. That's definitely happened to me. At my last few concerts I could hear the sounds OK but they seemed sort of random and uncoordinated (I just thought the performers were really bad). However, when I listen to familiar music I still get the melody and enjoy the music. So far I can have a good experience listening to Spotify (like Pandoro or I-tunes) by having my phone stream music directly into my hearing aids.

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This might be because I'm older now but I get the feeling that some folk think I may be "losing it" because of age and not because I don't hear well. Fact is sometimes I just don't pay attention due to it being too tiring to keep up in a crowded or noisy situation. I have been SSD since childhood due to ear infections and have a Baha (bone anchored hearing aid) on one side and very minor loss on the other. Sometimes I do say "I have a hearing loss" and even point out my implant. It may surprise someone then they go back to speaking exactly as they were. I would say I'm a HOH as Gael Hannan pronounces it but then they'd really think I'd gone around the bend. It would get their attention though. Once upon a time I had a very rude person almost shout at me when I didn't respond quick enough, "What's the matter? Are you deaf?" I don't think I said anything because I was so stunned that someone would even think like that. In a group I may focus on one individual conversation for a while and then drift to another as most people do. I guess pointing out my need hasn't been all that successful no matter what I say. Patience is a hallmark for most of us with hearing issues.

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