Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Deaf in One Ear

I don't know if I will send this to anyone (other than posting it here), but it's what I would like to say, if I do.

Dear Friends,

Some of you know, but I don’t know if you all do, that I am totally deaf in one ear. I tell my boys who are blind (one blind, one legally blind) to tell people things they should know about their disability, and it occurred to me today that I guess maybe I should do the same about my hearing impairment.

Here are some ways I’m affected:

1. I don’t hear ANYTHING out of my right ear. My sister says “Left is right and right is wrong.” But you don’t have to remember which side it is (sometimes even I have to stop and think. LOL). If you are on the wrong side, I will tell you…or ignore you but it will not be on purpose.
2. Sometimes I think I’m talking very softly…just for you and me, but in reality others can hear. Sometimes I think I’m speaking in a normal speaking voice, but in reality, I’m projecting too much. I apologize for that.
3. I have no idea where a sound is coming from. It’s all coming from one place, as far as I’m concerned.
4. If there are a lot of sounds in an area, or one noisy sound, I might not hear the sound you want me to hear (such as your voice), maybe even if you’re on my left side. The sounds are all coming together into one place.
5. If you need to get my attention right away and you feel the only way is to say my name loudly, I will probably understand. But once you have my attention, you can usually talk the same as you would to anyone else…unless there is a lot of background noise. Even then, as long as I can look at you, I can usually understand better when you speak at the same volume you would to anyone else.
6. If there’s a group conversation, and I’m not looking directly at the speaker, I might join in a conversation inappropriately because I’m responding to what I heard before you said the next thing, which I didn’t hear. Or I might respond to what I thought I heard, not realizing I heard it incorrectly.
7. I can sometimes hear things you might think I can’t. Someone used to say, “How did you hear that?!” Yes, sometimes I can hear things that are said across a room, around a corner, behind me, spoken softly. I’m not trying to eavesdrop. It’s just that it depends on whether I’m focused inside my head or aware of my surroundings at that moment, and also on how many other sounds are going on at the same time.
8. But don’t worry. When I overhear something, I either check it out with you to be sure I get it right (if I think it’s important enough) or, more often, just take it no further.

Thanks for listening. :) And I’m not asking you to remember all this or do anything in particular. Just please understand that I’m not trying to ignore you, nor to be annoying, nor stupid. I simply don’t hear as well as you do.