I’ve known about my hearing loss for 31 years (diagnosed at age 11), and have gone through several stages dealing with my deafness:
- feeling ashamed to tell people I couldn’t hear
- trying to hide my hearing loss
- denying my hearing loss
- hiding my hearing aids
- complete acceptance of both my hearing loss and hearing aids
When normal hearing people try to push me or any other hard of hearing (hoh) person back into any of the first four stages, my protective instinct gently emerges. Many years ago, this protective instinct was out of control. I believed I could whiplash normal hearing people into sync with my new-found acceptance of hearing loss.
Sad to say, I no longer remember the name of the first poor unfortunate soul to experience the whiplash effect. We’ll call her “Sarah.” Sarah made a huge mistake minutes after meeting me. She took me aside and said in a cheery voice, “I just thought you’d like to know that I can see your hearing aids!”
To say I reacted poorly is an understatement. Pressure cookers have nothing on me when I‘m angry. I said, “So? What do you want me to do, cover them up? Do you want me to be ashamed that I can’t hear well? Why should I hide my hearing aids? I can’t help the fact that I’m hard of hearing! Why don’t you hide your glasses – I can see them!”
Poor Sarah. She high-tailed it out of there and left me stewing.
Have you ever done something like this?