Friday, March 26, 2010


I can't help but occasionally wonder how big of a deal my hearing loss is for the people around me. Is it something that makes people act differently around me, or do most people not give it a second thought? This week I've gotten some insight on that, and thought I'd share.

A couple of days ago, we had (yet another) fire drill at school. The way they do fire drill at my school, is that regardless of what class the fire drill is in, you have to go and find your study hall class. Each class has a designated spot on the massive football field. However, I have absolutely no sense of direction, and when you're trying to find your way amongst 2,000 other teenagers, it can get pretty insane. So, with this last fire drill, I began wandering aimlessly around on the football field, hoping to see a familiar face. After doing this for a few minutes, I deemed the technique ineffective and decided to just stand in one spot, in hopes that I'd finally spot someone. No sooner had I stopped wandering than I saw one of my best friends (who is in my study hall) running up from behind me.  "Hey, we're over there (points to area across the football field). I tried screaming your name, but then I realized that probably wasn't such a good idea..." (implying I probably wouldn't hear it)

While I don't want my hearing loss to be the first thing people think of, I'm glad it entered my friend's mind in that situation. Occasionally, when walking down the hall (which, between the blaring music and the obnoxious kids can create a deafening noise level) a friend will start talking to me as I'm concentrating on not dropping the 30 pounds of books I'm carrying. I don't always hear them speaking initially, and will occasionally be given annoyed looks when the end of their oh-so-important story is met with a blank, confused stare. They're pretty good about getting my attention first, but I guess it can sometimes be forgotten.

This year in my AP Human Geography class, I've befriended the girl who sits in front of me. It's the only class I've ever had with her, but we've grown close since we take a lot of the same classes and have some of the same interests. When she walked into the classroom today, she looks at the board and groaned. "Look at the second bullet on the board..." she said in an annoyed voice. I looked up to see that we were going to have a pop open-note quiz over the video we watched yesterday.

I began to laugh.  She stared at me, confused, for a few seconds. Finally, it came to her and she screamed, "Ahh, no fair! I wish I had a hearing aid!" :P Someone else looked over, confused about why she would say such a thing.

"The video didn't have captions, so Mrs. B gave her a copy of her notes since she can't hear the video. She has all of the answers to the quiz!" Half the class then eyed me enviously, and I innocently shrugged. I was grateful that my teacher has finally gotten into the habit of giving me video notes.

Apparently no one took very good notes over the video. Our teacher loves giving quizzes over insanely specific (but pretty irrelevant) material. We got the quiz, and it only had ten questions, all of which were specific (some of the questions asked how much certain workers earned a day..what's the importance of that? The video was about China!) The sort of ironic thing was that a third of the answers weren't even in the teachers notes. (My teacher told me the answers to those.)

On a completely unrelated note, we had an orchestra competition today. All 3 levels of my school orchestra straight 1's (the best score) from all of the judges :)


  1. You need to make a few HH friends, then you'd know. I was shocked when my husband started losing his hearing. No longer could I shout to him from one room to another. I work with a woman who is HH as well. She ignores me half the time when I'm talking. ;-) I don't know if I am more in tune with this than others, since I'm so familiar with that blank stare you mentioned, but it helps to see what it's like when the shoe is on the other foot. If anything you learn that a) you are NOT a huge inconvenience when people around you know how to interact with you and b) yes, it can be trying at times, but no more than other little individual idiosyncrasies.

  2. Kim- Honestly, I never even thought about it until you put it like that! I actually do have a few oral deaf friends at my school, but I'm closer to the HoH/deaf friends I have out of state. It completely depends on who I'm talking to, since some of them make better use of lipreading than others. I also think I'm more aware of it, having hearing loss myself. But you're right, it's certainly not a major inconvenience.


All comments are screened before approval. I will publish any comment as long as you keep it clean and it's not spam!