Wednesday, 22 October 2014

What a HOH rant might look like

When I started driving as a teenager, I used to get the odd comment here and there: "you can drive? Oh my! How do you do it??" (Answer: like any other normal person would...put my seat belt on, turn the ignition on, and press my foot on the pedal). I just have a hearing loss. I'm not stupid. I'm not that handicapped. I'm normal.

It shocks me even today when I get comments like:
  • How do you hear Rachel? Can you even hear her? Yes I can, with the help of assistive technology.
  • Wow! You certainly can do really well, in spite of having a hearing loss (this sounds like I'm a case for pity...)
  • So what is it like not being able to hear? Um, I could ask you the same thing - what is it like being able to hear? It's like second nature for me.
Perhaps I was just unfortunate to actually hear those comments. I seriously doubt most of society thinks this way, but just to be sure, I thought I would post (or rant about) some interesting things about HOHs in general (or maybe it's just me...).
  • We are people. We have needs, wants and dreams. I'd love to have a second vehicle someday.
  • We aren't stupid. Heck, we both graduated from University AND received academic scholarships. (and yes, we both have held down jobs)
  • We aren't trying to look funny when we're trying to understand you. We're actually making an EFFORT to listen - which is more than what some people do for us sometimes.
  • When you call us names, I won't go into details here, we get hurt like anyone else. Our feelings do matter.
  • We watch TV, Netflix and movies like any normal 30-somethings. It's just that we need captioning to avoid that 'huh' stare.
  • The 'huh' stare is probably our most common facial expression. Don't worry - it means we're either still processing what was said, or have no idea what was said.
  • Saying never mind is the most hurtful thing you can say to a HOH. We actually care about what's going on. Only problem is we need you to repeat what you said. Thanks in advance!
  • We aren't ignoring you on purpose. If we are, then shame on us.
  • We aren't trying to be rude if we walk away from you. We didn't know the conversation was over.
  • There are moments when we don't realize that we're being rude. Sometimes I'll not hear someone calling my name and look off into infinite space.
  • We're not always scatterbrained (although my husband might attest to this fact), it's just that our mouth can't keep up with all our thoughts as we do have to SLOW down when speaking (a tough challenge for me!)
  • We don't mean to stutter. Refer to previous point.
  • Public speaking is one of my scariest fears - next to losing the rest of my hearing.
  • Our favorite way to communicate is via the written word. No chance for miscommunication.
  • When we're tired, we are SUPER tired. That's because listening is exhausting!
  • I love days when I can just leave my CI processor off for extended periods of time. It's like a mini-vacation for me.
The list isn't completely comprehensive. Heck. I could probably do another 20 or 30 more points. The main idea is that there are some things about HOHs that the person with normal hearing wouldn't experience or understand firsthand (Lord knows I don't want any more people losing their hearing, that's the last thing I want!). 

End rant.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!


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