Hearing Impaired? Hearing Aids? Advice For “Deafies” And Those Who Put Up With Us


I’ve always had a hearing problem. I was born with a hearing loss of 70% in both ears. Despite having a mother who was aware of my condition, I never thought there was anything wrong with me. I refused to use hearing aids as a youngster.

When I got my first hearing aid at the age of 19, it was as if someone cranked up the volume. I felt even more unstoppable. I knew I needed hearing aids in both ears by the time I was 30. It took me another 25 years to realize that hearing aids alone were insufficient.

To be sure, most people who can’t hear well use hearing aids. If they believe having aids would make them seem foolish, they have no concept how stupid they appear to others without them. When someone delivers bizarre replies to reasonable questions and misinterprets what others say, they don’t look to be very intelligent. Even if perfect hearing is not possible for many of us, amplification usually helps a lot.

Consider this: Using hearing aids may save you from being classified as senile as you age or from losing the understanding partner who has always made concessions for you.

Even with decent hearing aids, I have just recently realized that it is my obligation to avoid doing things that anger normal hearing individuals when I have control over those exact things.

If I’m in another room, I have no business asking inquiries or starting discussions that I won’t hear correctly. A person with normal hearing will merely get irritated as a result of this.

If I want to have a discussion, I should make sure that the other person is near enough for me to hear them well. And, when people speak to me, request that they do so in a hearing setting where I can understand them, “because I don’t want to have you repeat yourself.” I expect people to show me the same politeness that they should show me.

When I go into a room and see people cocking their heads and staring at the ceiling, I should be able to tell that my hearing aids are definitely on too loud without someone asking, “What’s that noise?” Yes, in an attempt to hear better, I have often set my hearing aids on “Feedback,” which many others can hear even if I cannot. Associates have yelled in frustration, “You’re beeping!” Perhaps my freedom to hear should be limited to the extent that other people’s sanity is preserved?

I have a lot of trouble conversing over the phone. It was not unusual for me to be on the phone and to seek the aid of the person nearest to me to be my ears for a little while. I was expecting that individual to drop everything and assist me. What a travesty! “I need to make a call in a few minutes,” I’ve learnt to say. Would you mind becoming my ears if I needed them when you’re free?” I no longer expect everyone to let me interrupt them simply because I need aid “now!” due to my lack of preparedness.

While I’m on the topic, those of us who demand extra effort from others to participate in conversation with us should learn not to start talking to them if they are involved in an activity that requires them to move to accommodate us, enable us to see their lips, and so on.

I hope I’ve realized that I don’t have to speak all the time. I had spent my whole life attempting to pass like a regular person. The truth is that if you can’t hear, you’re not normal! While I didn’t want my captive audience to speak because I knew I wouldn’t be able to hear what they had to say, it was much simpler to speak than to listen.

Now I’m telling the truth. “I can’t understand what you’re saying. It’s not your fault; it’s my bad hearing. Please speak louder to me. And if I respond inappropriately, I will not be insulted if you tell me that you don’t believe I comprehended what you said. In fact, I would be grateful.”

My greatest tip to those who can’t hear is to avoid trying to “fake it.” Maybe you can get away with pretending to comprehend the conversations? However, more frequently than you realize, folks will believe that you didn’t care about what they had to say.

Being deaf is difficult not just for us “Deafies,” but also for others who put up with us.

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