Stupid Hearing Loss Questions to Ask Yourself (You Won’t Believe Your Answers!)

Gael Hannan
February 28, 2018

On social media, it’s sometimes tough to tell the difference between clickbait and real posts. Clickbait are the teasing posts that tempt us to clickand then immediately regret it. She opened her front door, and what happened next—I couldn’t stop laughing!

Clickbait also secretly gathers information by urging us to reply. “Type yes and share if you agree” or “Can I get an amen?” 

But some people post real ‘provocative’ questions to get a conversation going. For people with hearing loss, it might be a lose-lose question like what would you rather lose, your hearing or your eyesight?  One question that’s guaranteed to whip up a storm: What’s the right name to call ourselves? Deaf? Hard of hearing? Hearing impaired? A thousand of us can’t resist—we click and jump into the conversation with our fists up.

So, today, let’s lighten things up a bit with some goofy questions to take our mind off the serious stuff of the world. I’ll give my answers, which may be widely and wildly different from yours. 

If you had to lose your hearing in one ear, which ear would you pick? IF I still had natural hearing in both ears, but had to give up one ear’s worth, I’d choose the right side. For the simple reason that I look better from the left, so of course I’d want people to speak to that ear.

If you had to give up hearing 2 speech sounds, what would they be?  The S sound; I like it but don’t always hear it and there are many ways to replace it in speech. In his essay ‘Me Talk Pretty One Day’, humorist David Sedaris writes about avoiding the use of ‘S’ because he lisped and didn’t want to take speech lessons. Instead of answering ‘yes’, he would say ‘correct’ and  ‘rivers’ became ‘a river or two’. I would also give up ‘TH’ because it’s almost impossible to hear. Friends could replace it with D, an adequate stand-in.  “Den, Gael, after da show, we’ll go to da bar.” 

Back to the would-you-rather-lose-your-hearing-or-eyesight question. I won’t even answer this one! As a person who depends on eyesight to help me hear, i.e. through speechreading, thinking about this makes my stomach hurt. I know that Helen Keller said blindness cuts you off from things and hearing loss cuts you off from people, but neither she nor I had a choice in the matter. So let’s try something easier. Would you rather lose your hearing or your sense of humor? Or your ability to put eyeliner on straight? Or your good taste in clothes? In a heartbeat, I’d give up the steady eyeliner hand.

If you could wear your hearing aids anywhere on your body, where would it be? I’ve been thinking about this and I can’t decide between wearing them in a nose ring or my bra.

For people who live with tinnitus: Various tinnitus apps use white noise and pleasant sounds such as ocean waves to mask the whooshing, roaring, dingety-dinging, bell-clanging and whatnot sounds of tinnitus. If you could mask your bad sound with a food sound, what would it be? Popcorn popping, bacon frying…oh hang on, those sounds would be just as bad as the tinnitus, if you heard them constantly and loudly in your head. Alrighty then, let’s forget this question.

Is there a sound you’ve lost that you’d like to have back?  I’d like to understand someone whispering in my ear, although I can’t remember if I could ever do that. Still, I’d like that sound-gift, as long as the whisperer isn’t one of those people who spits while speaking.

OK, let’s ask it (she sighs). What should people who are deaf, have hearing loss, are hard of hearing, or hearing-impaired, or a HoH, or Deaf or a deafie call themselves? Whatever they want, and you should, too, even if you refer to yourself differently. Because. It. Doesn’t. Matter. 

I hope you answered these questions honestly and to the best of your ability. But let’s move on from the frivolous, rhetorical and silly questions to concentrate on the important stuff—like taking care of the hearing we’ve got and improving our communication with hearing loss. Those things, we have control over.

This post was originally featured in Hearing Health Matters on March 27, 2017.