Friday, December 18, 2015


I can’t even imagine attending a sporting event of any kind. I stopped going to concerts years ago. I can hardly handle a quiet restaurant with Muzak in the background and one loud mouth table (there always seems to be at least one). So I (we - my partner in life and I) pretty much avoid noisy places. Unfortunately, more and more this means even friendly groups of six or so, even if they understand my disability. This is not self pity at all. It’s an accommodation to limited ability.

Some of my friends think that because I have these obscenely expensive hearing aids that I now have “normal” hearing. I tell them differently but it’s to no avail. In a room filled with gregarious friends, loudness is the norm. I get that. And I know that I shall never have normal hearing. Normal hearing can handle noisy places by the processes that go on in the brain to filter and select the “noise” we really want to hear and understand. Anyone with a disability has an additional burden to take care of her or his particular needs in any situation.

Blind people are blind. A white cane or a dog signals the condition. Paralyzed or crippled people are obvious and need little identification. Accommodation, perhaps but the condition is usually clear. You just can’t see hearing loss.

About all we who have hearing loss can do is make sure the issue isn’t swept under the carpet of negligence and fatigue. Hang in there my hard of hearing friends. Speak up for yourself. Claim the best seat for listening at the table. Insist that the TV or music be turned down of off. Insist that someone face you when talking to you. It’s your right and it is necessary for your general well being.

And - be nice. A little goes a long way.

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