maybe it’s me, questions were asked


I’ve blogged before about having signs up at work saying that there is a deaf tech and explaining that I need to see their face to know what they are saying

I’m happy that these signs are there, indeed I put them up myself. In the main the signs are helpful, some people ask questions about hearing loss, and some share their experiences. Last week though these questions were asked, more than once. I don’t know why this happened, coincidence I suppose.

“Why don’t you get hearing aids?”

So I showed them my bilateral BTE heavy duty aids.

“Aren’t they working then?”

<<>> Then I launched into how I my hearing loss is so bad that hearing aids can’t help much. I would have said something about getting an implant had I not felt that I was having to justify myself

And this one……

“If you read lips why aren’t you looking at my face?”

This one threw me. I’ve never been asked that before and I found it confrontational and insulting. It’s like someone saying that you aren’t listening to them. My response was to explain about how lipreading works, saying it’s because I need to see the whole face not just the lips.

I held back on saying;

Because its tiring to focus on one area of the face,
Because in our culture it’s disconcerting if someone doesn’t make eye contact and because of this I make a conscious effort to do so,
Because your teeth are dirty and ugly,
Because you have a mouth full of food,
Because I am tired,

I suppose by putting up the signs I am inviting comments on my hearing loss, but I didn’t expect such intrusive ones. I didn’t feel that they were asked in a chatty way, but that there was thinly veiled criticism. Maybe it’s me.


8 responses »

  1. Well, people are – well, not sensible, I think is the most polite thing to say! – about any impairment sometimes. I have epilepsy, though touch wood it is quite a while since my last seizure, and people’s “knowledge” (ie major lack of!) or what they say I should do is quite mind-blowing at times, I can tell you! Which company made your hearing aids, and has this company always made them?

  2. Not sensible, good choice of word especially if used in the sensibility meaning, no perception of how others might feel.

    I agree with you over the understanding of epilepsy, some people’s perception of that is mediaeval.

    My hearing aids? why do you ask? They are currently Siemens Artis 2. The previous ones were Phonak Savia Forte. Before that Siemens and NHS aids. I used to live in the UK where hearing aids are dispensed by the health service. They are free but in my experience not very good and you have no choice.

  3. Obviously you know the context better than I and you could be right about the thinly veiled criticism.

    Maybe, perhaps there is some cultural difference going on here as well. I was often told that I was too direct with people when I was living in England. I would ask, what to my mind were just questions, but was told that my questions were too direct.

    Maybe this person was just very Canadian and it came across as more negative than it was meant.

    Either way… big hug…

  4. Hi Toastie
    I take your point about the directness of Canadians. It’s something I like. I was born in the north of England, and so am more direct than most English people, you may have noticed this…

    No, I don’t think the questions were asked in an enquiring, tell me more about it way. There was emphasis.

  5. It is NOT you! You are fine, it is just lack of knowledge on hearing loss on some people’s parts.
    I get comments like that all the time and it is so annoying. I totally feel your aggrivation! In fact, I’m aggrivated for you at this moment.

    People are asses, plain and simple. I realize most people are just not mindful and say whatever before they THINK and use their pea-brains.


    Virtual hugs.
    And one of my Jelly cupcakes to make you smile.

  6. when trying to explain to a churchgoer that I did not go to church because I can not make out the words or the music, even though I can hear noise, this kind person said,- and not meaning to hurt me I am sure.- “Well at least you are not blind”. I thank God I am not blind. and then she said, “We have the loop system installed that should make it loud enough for you”. I realise that they have done their best by installing a loop system but why don’t they believe me when I say it does not help me. Ah well, that’s life I suppose. Anon UK

  7. Hi Anon
    Thanks for commenting. Hearies just don’t know, the trouble is they think they do.

    Re the blind comparison thing. I don’t know why people do that. Like you I would hate to be blind and certainly dont want to minimise that experience but I think people can imagine what it’s like to have no sight at all,we can experience it when we close our eyes, or when the lights go out, but it’s harder to imagine deafness.

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