Sunday, January 3, 2010

Some People Are Weird

Since getting my new hearing aids I've found less people tend to notice my aids than before. My old ones were tan, but much bigger, and I had pink and purple hearing aids. My current ones are much smaller, white and pink but with clear silicone earmolds. The smaller size seems to mean that less people notice them.

I'll admit to being lazy most of the time and relying on people to notice my hearing loss rather than advocating for myself and telling people I have a loss. Most of the time it never comes up either way, but sometimes it does... and strangely.

One of my recent encounters involved an forty-ish man who wanted my help. He came up from my side and, before asking his question, immediately asked "Are those hearing aids or are you listening to music?" I couldn't stop an immediate giggle. These behind the ear hearing aids would make for very strange looking headphones!

I've also gotten the inevitable angry people who can't hear me when they stand behind me and call for me. I'll tell you this is a big pet peeve of mine. Even if I were hearing - it is incredibly rude to stand behind anyone and shout instead of approaching them from in front of them and ensuring they are hearing them. Most of the time people get angry - but I love it when they ask "What are you, deaf?" It's so satisfying to reply that I am deaf and watch them fall over themselves apologizing!

I have advocated for myself once this past week, only I didn't mention I was hearing impaired. A man came up to me and began speaking with his hand held in front of his mouth (argh!) Naturally I couldn't make out what he was saying, since his lips were hidden. I asked him to move his hand and got a very strange reaction - he stared at me, said "okaaaay," very slowly, and backed away from me. My first thought was that he was contagious - had a cold or something and then was hiding his mouth. But the rest of the conversation it became apparent he thought I was strange for my request! Is politeness so much to ask?

Oh, people are strange! No one quite knows how to act when they are presented with someone different from the "norm," not that I think I am very different at all. I am sure people in wheelchairs, on crutches, with other problems have their own humorous and frustrating stories. It is great to get them out there - to vent a bit.

3 comments:

  1. My newly hired boss recently mentioned that the first time he saw me, I was sitting at the library information desk wearing an assistive listening device. Not knowing my situation, he assumed I was listening to music. "Not very professional" was his first impression of me. I was so glad I had the opportunity to clear that up when he admitted it to me. It would never have occured to me that someone would come to that conclusion!

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  2. I think that most of the time, people aren't trying to be rude or ignorant. Most people just aren't exposed to people with hearing loss enough, and therefore don't quite know how to react when they encounter them. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't the occasional person or two who was just so clueless it made my blood boil, but I think the best thing to do is educate them.

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  3. Weird.
    But I know also when you've had to reply back to acknowledge, yes you are deaf, is funny to watch their expression after. I had to answer in that way once before when I had someone speak to me like that. Because I was smiling when I responded back, Yes I am deaf. They thought I was joking until I pointed to my hearing aids. You hould have seen their face drop then. It's like the world just swallowed them up.

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