Ventilation of ones private spleen ....

Being a bit “mutton jeff”, also known as deaf or hard of hearing; brings many entertaining challenges. To set the record straight:

  • I don’t suffer from hearing loss, you can’t lose something you never had
  • Yes, I can hear you, but not always
  • It does have a scientific name, apparently its unilateral sensorineural hearing loss (not that I personally agree with the last part of the title)
  • Noisy environments are very difficult
  • I do struggle with some accents if you are quiet or not clear in your speech, I am NOT a racist white man, I simply cannot hear you
  • Phone calls are often hard work
  • Bluetooth headsets, forget it, they don’t work for me
  • No I cannot lip read
  • Yes I do get tinnitus, for me it’s a high pitch squeal and it is an agonizing thirty seconds.
  • Stereo headphones are a nightmare
  • With age and natural loss of hearing, it is slowly getting worse - I am already losing upper frequency range.
  • I just love it when someone approaches me on my deaf side and speaks to me, especially in a seated environment; the neck ache is enjoyable as well as the opportunity to ‘ignore’ you?
  • For all those who have declared that I have selective hearing, I do feel that you may be suffering from selective ignorance.
Rant over, most of the time, it's part of life. I don’t notice what I have (or have not) and am seldom bothered by the attitudes of others (entertained and amused maybe). Occasionally it does get to me, especially when I am trying to help someone and they decide to use my hearing as a critical observation of my capability (then they wonder why I become less helpful, strange but true).

I go for hearing tests every couple of years, because of the type of disability; the hearing aid available is expensive and is not guaranteed to work (>£2500 for a device that may not add any advantage and >£5000 for another). Whilst the UK has a national health system and hearing aids are included, my category of hearing does not seem to be included in my primary care trust, principally as I can still hear and still relatively young (in this context, I am young!).

Looking at the statistics, I belong to a group that is approximately 1:1200 per population or slightly less than 0.1%. Now you can see why many are not supported. Having it since birth, I would guess that I am less of a priority than someone who has recently acquired this condition through illness or trauma.

So, if you every get to meet me and I ask you to repeat something or seem like I am ignoring you, its ok, don’t worry, it is personal.


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