Hard of hearing

What your hearing impairment means to you: The results


After one week, the results for my survey have become clear. The results can be found below. There is only one surprise for me: I have published the same survey in Dutch and in German. And there are probably some differences per country how you experience your hearing impairment.

Question: What does my hearing impairment mean to me?

I feel excluded  19.44%  (7 votes)
I’m living a full life  16.67%  (6 votes)
I feel impaired  13.89%  (5 votes)
I don’t feel impaired at all  13.89%  (5 votes)
I feel isolated  11.11%  (4 votes)
I feel insecure  11.11%  (4 votes)
I feel lonely  8.33%  (3 votes)
I feel handicaped  2.78%  (1 votes)
I feel special  2.78%  (1 votes)

Total Votes: 36

In the English-speaking area, with 36 participants, exclusion came first with 7 voices, full life second and restriction third, shared by the feeling of not being restricted at all. On the 4th, 5th and 6th place were insecurity, isolation and loneliness. The last part was shared between “I feel disabled” and “I feel special”.

In the German-speaking area, there were 20 participants and “I feel impaired” was ranked first with 5 votes. Followed by “I feel isolated”, insecure, special and excluded. Two votes for “I›m living a full life”, followed by “I feel disabled” and “I feel lonely” with one vote. None of the participants felt handicaped at all.

In the Netherlands there were 93 participants and 26 votes in favour of “I›m living a full life”. But 21 voices also showed that participation in full life is not entirely unlimited. Insecurity, loneliness and isolation came in 3rd, 4th and 5th place. Finally, “I feel disabled” was elected by 2 votes.

In addition, I would like to mention a few important feedbacks:

– I feel impaired because I have to make a lot of effort to hear well, sometimes I feel lonely because I often have to take all the measures myself to be able to participate. Sometimes I feel excluded when a video is shown without subtitles.
And yet I fully participate in life (and occasionally collapse).

– I feel impaired in my hobby to make music together with others. One on one I can still have good conversations, but in companies where people talk to each other or where there is a lot of background noise, I hardly understand anything and I feel limited and sometimes lonely and sometimes excluded (while the environment unconsciously does that).

– Of the suggested answer options, I have chosen “special”. “Every person is an individual, every person is exclusive, so every person is special. “Special” in the negative sense is when by the different hearing barriers can arise as a result. You are quickly labelled a “nerd”.

– I would like to choose enriching options.
My hearing loss has given me an awful lot.
My eyes see a lot.
My touch gives me valuable non-verbal knowledge and information.
Thanks to my hearing loss, I have a wonderful business.

What does this mean for you?
In short: without knowing the background of the participants and the nature of their hearing loss, it can generally be concluded that many participants participate fully in life, but often face limitations, insecurity and loneliness.

Although there were more participants in the Netherlands, it seems there is a somewhat more negative trend with regard to the hearing impairment in the German and English-speaking regions.

In my opinion it would certainly be exciting to have this subject investigated further in a scientific context.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the participants and everyone for all the feedback!

Hard of hearing

Why are there so few (hearing) impaired people on TV?


Through a tweet I once again realized: why are there so few disabled/impaired people on (inter)national television?

In my earlier blog post “Extraordinarily normal” https://reneeiseli.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/aussergewoehnlich-normal/” I already wrote that it is very rare to read in the media about successful hearing-impaired people in the media.

Impaired people appear almost only on television or in the media when the topic of “handicap” is discussed. And mostly the topic points to problems and the impaired people talk about their impairment or handicap.

But this tweet, in which a very well written article is pointed out, again made it clear to me that in generall people who are impaired are hardly visible in the media. According to the article (only available in Dutch), critics in France recently reacted with indignation because studies made it clear that only 1% of people on television have a handicap/disability compared to 18% of the population who have “something”. As long as the television makers regard a handicap as frightening, nothing changes, was the comment of a critic. And so it is exactly.

Nowadays, most people with a disability are well educated, have studied or learned a profession. So why not a deaf meteorologist, or autistic climate experts on TV, to mention just one example?
Not to show how special they are, but only because these people are also experts and also part of our population.

Dear BBC, dear other televisionmakers or producers, I would like to challenge you to take up this glove at this point!

If you, dear readers, know young people with a handicap/disability who are familiar with a specific topic, please let your local and national TV stations know!

Hard of hearing

What does your hearing impairment mean to you?

The other day I was asked what my hearing impairment meant to me. Now this question is not easy to answer and I took time to think about it.
But then I thought, why don’t I ask this question to my readers? What does your hearing impairment mean to you?
To make it easier to answer this question, I created a survey using keywords.

Several answers are possible. If you have any additions, I would like to ask you to write them to me. I am looking forward to your answers!

Hard of hearing



In my hearing impaired career, I have often heard the sentence: “I am not taken into consideration”. Well, dear readers, I can finally tell you: that will never happen! I will explain why I think this is the case.

First, humans are forgetful beings, especially when it concerns something we do not suffer from and which is also almost invisible. This is usually not unwillingness, but unfamiliarity. And aren’t we all human?

Secondly, are such high demands on others fair? Are our expectations of others not too high and can we make such demands?
My answer is: no, it is my impairment and it is up to me to deal with it. I can’t expect others to be considerate. It is my job to prepare myself sufficiently to find out what I need and to share it openly with others.
That doesn’t mean that I can’t be happy if someone is considerate, of course, but I can’t expect it. I am glad too when my husband notices, for example, that I have not understood something and therefore supports me. But my impairment is my own responsibility and since I want to be as independent as possible, I must not demand any consideration from my husband or others.

Now I was at a convention the other day. I was a member of the working group that organised this meeting and was therefore also present there. But the target audience was people with normal hearing, so I was only a small minority. The day was very long, there was a lot of talking and there were 2 workshops. Knowing that, I had thought beforehand how to approach this. I took my Rogerpen and used it. Also, instead of participating in 2 workshops, I attended only one workshop and used the time of the other workshop to relax a little and clear my head. I was reasonably fit for the final plenary session.

Of course, this insight did not come to me all at once. This has been and still is a longer process. But as a child and teenager, I have always felt that “I can decide for myself very well”. My mother surely can confirm this…
And if we have expectations of others that they cannot meet because they simply have no hearing impairment and do not know what it means, then this can almost only bring us disappointment. And this disappointment can eventually end in social withdrawal.

For example, if I always have to remind my work colleague to speak more slowly or to speak without a hand in front of his mouth, then I could say: “Why don’t you have consideration with me, I’ve told you so many times?” I am disappointed, he is annoyed and if this happens often, it might end with me finally withdrawing.
Wouldn’t it be much better if I said to myself: “well, I know that this colleague always talks to me too quickly or with his hand in front of his mouth. I’ve explained to him many times why this doesn’t work for me, but that doesn’t help. What else can I do to improve our communication?” Maybe it helps to exchange more through mail instead of orally. Or to show this colleague, or perhaps all colleagues, times with an example how much you hear with their hearing impairment. Why not just try?

By which I would just like to say: it is better to think in solutions and to stay with oneself, instead of being disappointed because of too high expectations the well hearing cannot keep, even if they want to.