I am relatively young to have experienced significant enough hearing loss to require hearing aids and as I have gotten used to my new “bionic” ears, I have been thinking about hearing and how I communicate with the world, and how the world communicates with me. At first I felt funny having to get hearing aids; a 34-year-old should not need hearing aids, but what I wasn’t hearing was mucking up my life. At least now I knew there really was a problem and I had a solution. However, despite how nice it is to hear things louder, and in digital, I still find the occasional failure to communicate. I have noticed that people take for granted that they have spoken clearly, and/or fully have your attention. This is especially difficult if you have hearing loss in the same manner I do, which is due to damage to the nerves in the ear. This means that I might hear the sound, but might not make it out clearly. I hate asking someone to repeat, but sometimes I just cannot understand what has been said. As time has gone on, I am less afraid to say, hey, “I have broken ears, please, speak up and speak clearly!” I know it takes work on my end, of course, I do try my best, but it works both ways, especially if you are speaking with someone who is hard of hearing, which is more common than people realize. Another thing that gets me is people trying to speak to me as they are walking around a corner, or speaking to me from behind . I can’t imagine that is easy even with good hearing, but it is not easy to understand someone if they are walking away, not facing you, or in a different room. I know it is bound to happen, but I wish people would be more aware of doing it, even when they are speaking with someone with good hearing. Now I find myself trying not to do the walking away, talking thing. I also find I try to make sure I have the person’s attention before I speak. I have come to think more about how good communication works in this world and in relationships. I am by no means perfect in my communication, but not having perfect ears has made me more aware of how good communication should work.
PS – Thank you to Opinionated Man at HarsH ReaLiTy for giving his followers this challenge http://aopinionatedman.com/2014/05/25/harsh-reality-challenge-got-an-opinion/#comment-142511. He is a truly inspired blogger, with a passion for the written word 😀