Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Please don't turn your back on me

Please don't turn your back on me.

No - I'm not indicating rejection (although, that could be construed as an innocent mistake...)

I'm talking about when you're talking to me, or to anyone who has a hearing loss. The last thing you want to do is turn their back on them.

I'm not referring to the notion giving up.
I'm not saying that we're being difficult.
I'm saying that we just can't understand what you're saying.

Most hard of hearing (HOH) people would agree with me on this point.  The seven most echoed words running through a HOH's head are:

Please don't turn your back on me.

When someone turns their back on us, we feel a sense of immediate dread. A feeling of sheer embarrassment. A situation that forces us to remind us that we have a hearing loss. 

Yes, like all human beings, we don't always want to admit that we are flawed. I've been in enough situations where I've followed a conversation up to the point where... someone turns their back on me. By then I'm completely lost. It kind of feels like being in a desert, you don't know where you'll befall a quicksand sinkhole (is that the right word???).

It means I have to remind them (and myself) that I can't understand what's being said. Often this might be preceded by a tap on the shoulder saying that we're missing out, to a big hand wave gesture that makes us look like complete idiots to get your attention. I usually try to go for the most subtle form of attracting attention (giving them the hard eye stare that screams "LOOK AT ME! I need to see your lips!") until I escalate to the point where I realize I look like a nitwit (i.e. verbally saying "look at me! look at me!").

The point is. Please don't turn your back on those who are hard of hearing. They desperately need to read your lips. I know sometimes you forget that we have a hearing loss, with it being invisible and all. But the case of the matter is, we still can't hear like you can. We can hear what you're saying, but we can't understand what's being said.

When we get frustrated, we sometimes wonder if we're frustrating you. Si?

That being said, it doesn't mean we have to stop reminding others to look at us. Not too close though, I don't want your saliva spraying all over my face - just far enough that I can see what you're saying without squinting my eyes.
Naturally, communication is a two-way street. As an any relationship, I'll do my best to remind you (within reason, of course!) if you'll help me by not turning your back on me.

So, please, thank you for not turning your back on me. You have no idea how appreciative we are. It really frees up our minds to think of something else, rather than please don't turn your back on me. Perhaps we can focus more on showing you our awesome personalities - a plus for the non-HOH person!

No comments:

Post a Comment