Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sharing Your Experience

Tonight, I met a friend of mine for dinner. As I was waiting for her to show up,I enjoyed people-watching and looking around at the various customers in the restaurant. I noticed a middle-aged man, directly in my line of vision, with two hearing aids eating dinner with his wife/girlfriend/lady friend. I spent the next few minutes watching their interaction, noticing the man to be clearly frustrated. He may have also been upset about something else, but was constantly having to ask his dinner guest to repeat herself. When the waiter came to their table, he asked "What?" three or four times, and he was clearly annoyed.

I wanted so badly to go over there and shout "I know how you feel!" and share the possibilities of cochlear implants, but decided against it because:
  1. I didn't feel it was my place to say
  2. It seemed rude to barge in on his dinner
  3. He didn't appear to be in a particularly happy mood
  4. I didn't know about his personal views or situation. What if he already knew he didn't qualify, for whatever reason? What if he is against the idea of CI's in general? I didn't want to be one of those people pushing my beliefs onto someone else, I despite it when others do that to me!
  5. My friend showed up.
While I am more than happy to share my experiences with people when asked, I guess I feel uncomfortable going up to other people unprompted. I'm sure there are people who would feel rude asking and wish a person they notice with a CI would just go up to them...

What do you think? Do you shout the praises of cochlear implants, or just quietly enjoy them? Have you ever shared your experiences with cochlear implants and offended someone else? (Or helped them?)

Side note: I was able to hear quite well in the restaurant, and don't think I had to ask for any repeats! While I'm the first to admit that CI's are far from perfect, I'm always amazed when I think back to the constant "What?" from my days of hearing aids and compare to how well I am able to hear now.


  1. I think your instinct to keep out of it was right. Frequently CI's are brought up by the doctor or audiologist, and the fellow wearing aids certainly must have already discussed it with them. Additionally, the aids might have been not working for some reason, or the ambient noise was of the kind not compatible with them.

    CI's being a medical issue alone makes them unsuitable for intervention...would one intervene if one saw a need for a nose job, or to lose weight? Not with strangers, probably, maybe with friends or acquaintances once one has been entrusted with information on the situation.

    Being culturally Deaf, I sometimes find myself in a situation like you saw when I am with nonsigning hearing relatives. Surely I wouldn't appreciate an outsider suggesting a CI, especially when I grew up dealing with hearing expectations and might already be pressured to get one.

  2. Speaking of sharing your experience, you might want to check this out:

    Jodi's son is going up for his driver's license soon, and Jodi's wondering if this entails anything special, given that he's deaf with CIs. They're in Italy, so the legalities probably differ, but your recent experience with this might be helpful.


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