June 26th, 2015
“Sweetie, could you speak more clearly please? It’s a lot of effort trying to understand you when you are mumbling. Oh, and while we are at it, can you please look at me while we are talking, so that I can read your lips, and also shave off your moustache so that I can better see you mouth? Thank you for understanding”. “Of course Sweetie, should I also stand in front of the window so that you can see my face better and read lips better?” “Oh that would be super! Thanks Sweetie!”
Such conversations realistically don’t happen of course. Or do they? I can barely imagine it.
At home it is more like this: Husband says something, I respond with a “ Can you repeat yourself please?” Husband repeats what he just said, but stays in the dark. “Uh Sweetie, if you are standing in the dark, that makes it hard for me to read your lips and then I cannot understand you. Can you please come into the light and repeat yourself?” A sigh from the husband, does what I ask him to do, and then I understand.
It is not reluctance, but apparently I function quite well with hearing aids that hearing people tend to forget that I have a hearing impairment. That is ok. A bit of consideration is fine, but one does not have to be considerate of me all day long, especially when I am able to advocate for myself.
It sometimes happens even to me: once I forgot that a colleague of mine is deaf! I went into her office to ask about something, started to speak, and got no response. Only then did I realize that I must get her attention first, and then ask her something. This colleague was so good at reading lips and body language that once really did not realize right away that she was deaf.
Sometimes I can trick those who can hear as well. Sometime I startle so badly when I take off my hearing aids and all of a sudden my husband is standing behind me and I didn’t notice him coming up. I have told him many times, that he should not do this because it is very unsettling. He however thinks it’s not such a big deal because there is no one else in the house. So once I switched roles with him. He had his headphones on and was listening to music. I crept up behind him silently and scared him nicely. Bingo!