I have a confession.
I’m kind of in denial about my hearing loss. It’s not that I think I’m NOT hard of hearing — I definitely am! I wear hearing aids. I say “What?” about 300 times a day, or on particularly harried days, “Wha?”
It’s not that I think I don’t have a problem — IT’S THE ENTIRE WORLD THAT MUMBLES JK JK — It’s that I haven’t quite come to grips with the fact that maybe SOME DAY, science will fix me.
I hear they’re getting closer. I read every trend piece that comes out about hearing loss and subscribe to several research university newsletters just in case they need human guinea pigs!
So far, no takers.
(It’s super fun to offer your body to science and have them be like, “Uh, we’re good, thanks.”)
Katherine Bouton talks about this wishing-hoping-praying mentality a lot in her excellent book Shouting Won’t Help.
In addition to crossing my fingers and reading about developments in the hearing loss world, I also read a lot of books about coping with hearing loss.
And you know what?
A lot of them give terrible advice!
Like, truly, truly, insufferably bad. By “bad” I mean painfully obvious to anyone who is not a robot or a first grader. (Though even first graders have probably heard about closed captioning.)
So, for your entertainment and to dull the pain of my life a tiny bit, I present the most worthless tidbits of hearing loss advice to you.
“Ask people to repeat themselves”
LITERALLY NO ONE ALIVE OR DEAD HAS EVER THOUGHT OF THIS. UGH, YOU’VE REALLY SAVED ME, ADVICE BOOK.
“Try turning the volume up on your television if you can’t hear it”
All this time, I’ve been turning the volume DOWN. Now I see my mistake.
“Move closer to the person who’s speaking”
I prefer to conduct my conversations with people who are at least one room away from me, thanks.
“Roll up your car window to eliminate wind and road noise.”
MY DROP TOP WILL NOT BE STOPPED, HEARING LOSS BOOK.
“If you can’t hear, sit farther away from the fan or air-conditioning vent”
Seriously? Next thing you’ll be telling me to turn off the Wu-Tang I’m blasting while simultaneously trying to talk to someone. I WILL NOT.
“Turn down the television when talking on the phone.”
But what about Dance Moms?!
“Do you know about closed-captioning?”
No, please describe this mystical entity to me. Does it involve cyborgs or cults?
“Go to restaurants during off hours when it’s quieter”
I know a lot of people who are deaf tend to be older, but I’m not going to Chili’s at 3pm because it’s slightly less raucous.
“Don’t try to talk in the kitchen when the dishwasher is running”
NOOOO, MY ULTIMATE FAVORITE PLACE AND ACTIVITY IN WHICH TO CONDUCT CONVERSATIONS!
What if you want GOOD advice? The most helpful books I’ve read are both by Katherine Bouton, mentioned above. Read Shouting Won’t Help to realize you’re not alone, and then, for practical, day-to-day stuff read Living Better with Hearing Loss.
Or, you can also read some Helen Keller.
If you need me, I’ll be trying to call my therapist while also using a chainsaw.