July 2, 2011

Eh? What? Huh? What's That? Come Again? Wait--What?

Done with listening today.




What's that? 

Come again?


Did not catch that, tell me again. 

Um, can you please repeat that?  

Geez, do you happen to know any signs? How about finger spelling?

And finally:

Oh, yeah, uh huh. (smile, nod)

I hate to admit it, but sometimes I will give up and resort to bluffing (pretend to hear what is being said). I know, I know. I am not supposed to do this. I tell my students not to bluff. It irritates me when I see others bluff. I preach to others about how wrong it is to bluff.

However. . . some situations call for it. If I am in a crowded noisy area with some friendly stranger blabbering on about stuff I don't care about, at some point I am going to stop putting in the effort to listen. I will smile and nod and look as if I am interested. Yes, I may come off as an airhead or insensitive, but how many more times do I have to ask others to repeat themselves? How much more can I handle straining to listen? Sure, plenty of people with typical hearing do this too, except they can't blame it on their hearing loss if caught. They may get accused of not paying attention, while we can probably get away with it because we did not hear it---when most likely we gave up trying to hear what is being said. Too bad we cannot get away with it with people who know about our bluffing ways, no matter how much we may protest, "No, really, I did not hear!" And it is INFURIATING when really it was because I did not hear, I honestly thought something else was said!  I was NOT bluffing!

Or was I?

It's exhausting, dude. 


Related post: What? Excuse Me? Just Another One of Those Days 


  1. Hi (e

    There's an insidious flip side to bluffing: Working in a profession where every single word counts (such as Engineering, as a audie giving speech tests, an air traffic controller, or policeman); and anything less than 100% speech discrimination can have disastrous consequences.

    What hearing people don't realize is that it takes a tremendous amount of mental exertion to "translate" what we hear into what the person is trying to convey to us -- Not unlike listening to someone speak in a foreign language -- and at the end of the afternoon, we are whipped.

    Incidentally, I use that very description when I counsel parents of hearing impaired children, as it explains why they come home from school & want to take a nap or just veg out, instead of going outside to play or do homework: Being hard-of-hearing is work

    Dan Schwartz,
    Editor, The Hearing Blog
    Add me on Facebook

  2. Right, Dan! I could never understand why at the end of a school day, on the bus ride home, I would stare out the window and tune out, rather than socialize with the other bus riders.

  3. And my husband doesn't understand why sometimes, I just want to turn off all sound-making devices (including him) and veg out.

  4. I just have to say it again: Thank you!!! I print some of your entries out to share with my D/hh students, and this is an excellent example! I want to show them that they are not the only ones who struggle (but perhaps also emphasize that they need to advocate for themselves and try their best in Math class!) :p You have an amazing blog, (e. :)

  5. That is awesome, Jennifer, thank you. I hope your students will find this example helpful! :-)

  6. Just the other day, I gave up trying to figure out a word somebody was trying to say and turned to my husband and said "sign it!" LOL. :-)

  7. e) I just updated Please Don't Use Sarcasm With My Students: Guest article by e) to include a reference to this superb article & first two comments, as it nicely ties everything into a neat package dealing with our daily travails living in the real world.

    Yours truly,
    Dan Schwartz,
    Editor, The Hearing Blog

    Add me on Facebook

  8. Hi (e. As another educator with hearing loss, I totally know where you're coming from. I sometimes equate my trying to keep pace with conversations with trying to communicate in a foreign language - it can be exhausting!


Keep it civil.