Lets talk about hearing loss cluelessness

I HATE when people just don’t get it.  Hearing people that is.  I use to hate when people with hearing loss are in denial that they are losing their hearing and these are bright intelligent people, who rather suffer and pretend than look into wearing a hearing aid.

I don’t want to hate hearing people who don’t understand or people with hearing loss who are too vain.  I want to yell at the top of my voice,  do u have any idea what its like to hear you all muffled? or people who think its funny to open their mouths wide and exaggerate their words.  I have a guy at work who thinks its so funny to refer to me as being deaf.  I’ve pulled him aside on several occassions to have a talking to.  He still doesn’t get it.

I started doing staff developments at work and have received a very positive responses.  I made them all wear ear plugs that gave them only a 35 decibel loss while I spoke.  Several pulled them out after a few minutes and you could just see the disbelief on their faces screaming, “thats a 35 db loss?”   It certainly scared them enough to ask alot of questions.  I did a whole power point on how many children and adults have hearing loss in the U.S. alone.  How many parents admitted to not aiding their children and how many children were failing school due to a lack of access to communication and hearing properly.

Sometimes I just want to yell from the top of the Empire State building,  PEOPLE WAKE UP…..WHY ARE U ALIENATING US, WHY ARE YOU AFRAID OF US? Are you afraid you might become one of us?  Well, the truth is, you just might one day, but it wont be because you caught it from us.  However, what goes around, comes around.  Treat me badly and that will come back to haunt you.

There are approximately 1 out of every 6 people walking the streets in the U.S. with a hearing loss. I suspect those numbers are going to change very quickly over the next decade to something like one out of three.  We are a techno smart society but most just can’t understand hearing loss. Lets hope the baby boomers will drop the vanity, refuse to pay $3000 for the best hearing aid on the market and advocate for understanding rights to hearing that doesn’t cost us our life savings.  Lets hope people can stop thinking old age when they start losing their hearing, and stop stigmatizing their own children who have hearing loss and refuse to aid them….that is definitely and should be illegal.

0 thoughts on “Lets talk about hearing loss cluelessness

  1. Where do you get a set of those ear plugs? I know a few people I’d like to ‘educate’

  2. I agree with Kim– I really want to know!! It would be a terriffic day (for me, anyway) if my family and friends had to wear them for a day. Or even just give them to my teachers, and let them figure out what I’m not getting when my batteries die and they’re like “you’ll be ok, right?”. Recently, we purchased ear protection earmuff style from Dick’s sporting goods, and we were wearing them in the car. I tried talking to my little brother when he was wearing them, and he was like “I CAN’T HEAR YOU! OHMIGOD.” Me- Welcome to my world 😀 I’m sure alot of people experience the “hearing aids are for old people” stereotype. My father is hearing impaired, and he refuses. I assume it’s that stigma, but i tell him he can’t say that since i wear them. He commonly has issues with communication, and we’ve tried everything to get him to wear hearing aids. He’s had his hearing tested, and yes, he has a hearing loss. I’m worried, because it’s ok in our family when you make a communication mistake, but he’s a lawyer, and communication, for him, is key. If he mis-hears something and it makes him come off like an idiot, he could get a bad reputation, lose money, and, if it got bad enough, lose his job. He also comes home stressed and tired every day. I’m worried, but I guess I have to just wait for him to make the decision. He has to decide he wants hearing aids, not that everyone else wants him to get them.

  3. Floating,
    I read somewhere that most people wait an average of seven years to get a hearing aid after losing their hearing. At first there’s denial, then even after you realize it’s gone you hope it will miracuously come back. Then you get used to it and think you’re getting by OK until you do something really stupid one day and it hits you that hearing aids don’t look as bad as saying stupid things because you didn’t hear. . . Give your dad some time. 🙂 Hopefully he’ll come around.

  4. I was a child whose mother, for whatever reason, did not seek to aid me. I had to wait until adulthood to pursue hearing aid trials, and now, at the age of 49 (at least for another week or so), I remain unaided. Who knows if being aided in my early childhood and teenage years would have made a difference? I will always wonder??

    In later years, as my mother began to lose her hearing, she would not wear her hearing aids and refused to update her hearing aids when it was determined the old ones weren’t working. Not even when I offered to pay for what she needed beyond what Medicaid would provide. I even resorted to a guilt trip–saying how I wish I could be helped with hearing aids, and her age related loss could helped if she would only try–which led to her feeling bad for a time, but not bad enough to actually put forth the effort to hear better. Not my intent. I wanted to force her to hear, I wanted to give her what she didn’t give me and it pissed me off to no end that I couldn’t force her, but the truth is no one can force another.

    Yes, some hearing people don’t get it, some people with hearing loss don’t get it, and some parents don’t even get it when their children can’t hear.



  5. I don’t know if hearing aids help. I feel cheated.

    I am 50. I had this mastoid bone surgery when I was 23, since then my left ear has been completely dead. It was about seven years back that I started losing hearing in the other ear too. Initially, I did not want to acknowledge that I was losing hearing in the other ear also and that I was becoming deaf. Kim is absolutely right, I waited for more than seven years before deciding that I needed a hearing aid, and what pain I went through during these seven years.

    Let me tell you one of the most painful.

    I got this great opportunity which would have given me a quantum jump in my career and would have freed me from my financial problems for ever. I know I am qualified enough and my CV said so too.

    I was called for an interview. I was interviewed by a group headed by Governor of Federal bank of the country. Interview hall was quite big and there were about ten people in the interview board. There were these two important officials who were farthest from me and as luck would have it, those were the persons who asked most of the questions.

    It was okay at the start, but as I started getting exhausted straining to hear them, my hearing started to fail me. I started asking them to repeat the questions-I have noticed that if you ask somebody to repeat because you have not heard it the first time, the tendency is to say it more softly, putting space between each syllable. Now, I have problem with soft sounds and when more than one people are talking at the same time-when I asked him to repeat the questions, he would speak more softly and at the same time somebody sitting closer to me would start repeating the question. The guy was exasperated and threw up his hands.

    I was so embarrased, I wanted to rush out of the room. I somehow sat through the ordeal. Later on I was told “You were not selected because they said you have a hearing problem.”

    I was in a shock!

    This happened about six months back. Since then I have completely lost my confidence.

    I had been withdrawing from most of my social activities earlier, but now I became a total recluse. What aided me in my reclusion was my transfer to a place about 400 kms from my home. Both my kids are in college and my wife needed to be with them, hence could not join me. Due to this, I lost the only support group I had, my family.

    My job does not require me to interact much with other people, if I don’t want to, and I was quite content living in my shell.

    I was in a financial mess, with college expenses of both my kids and having to maintain two homes, one at my home town and one at my transferee place. I was desperately looking for some ways to earn some extra money.

    Like manna from heaven, I received an email from this guy who had seen my CV at the Federal Bank where I had appeared for an interview earlier. He asked me whether I was interested to work for his Bank; He offered me a salary which was ten times of what I was drawing in my earlier job. I jumped at the offer and immediately said yes. He flew down from his country to Mumbai and interviewed me. Since it was a one to one talk, I did not face any hearing problem.

    This time I did not want to take any chances and hence decided to buy a hearing aid before proceeding for my new job. I searched the web and zeroed in on this hearing aid specialist. He advised me to go in for Starkey hearing aid Model Destiny 200. It cost me around $500.00 which I could ill afford. He said that since hearing loss in my right ear was not very acute and that I had problem hearing only the soft sounds, this model should be sufficient for my needs.

    After using this aid for a few days, I did not feel any improvement in my hearing. Small everyday noises like somebody putting a glass on a table top were magnified and were irritating. I went back to this vendor and was told that since you have not heard soft sounds for many years therefore, it will take some time for your brain to start registering and recognizing these sounds and was told to be patient. He did modify some programming which stopped small irritating sounds which were bothering me.

    It has been about one month now since I bought this aid but I do not feel any improvement in my hearing.

    I have since joined this Bank here in this Hill country. All the top executives of this Bank have their lunch together at one big dining table. In no time they were able to notice my hearing problem. I now dread going for my lunch. They try to make conversation with me just so that they can make fun of me. They laugh at my discomfort all the time. My life has become one long embarrassing moment.

    I can not tell all this even to my family, because they would ask me to come back home, which I can ill afford. I have to keep on bearing all this humiliation and every day I rue having spent $500 on some useless piece of a hearing aid.

    I am writing this only to unburden myself and maybe, somebody will learn a lesson from all this.

  6. Hi Anilratanpal,
    I hope things are better for you now at work. I have a moderate hearing loss and have one hearing aid at the moment which just about gets my hearing up to a level where I can hear one on one with most people except low voices and groups which I avoid. However its true when you first get an aid many sounds are tinny while you adjust then you increase the volume until you get the best volume for you. This can take quite a few visits to an audiologist. So keep trying if you want techno advice go on the website and dont,t give up until you get an acceptable level of hearing. Good luck

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