September 14, 2012

Sometimes I am Deaf and Sometimes I am Hearing

Having a moderate-severe high frequency hearing loss in one ear and severe-profound hearing loss across most levels in the other ear can be confusing. Sometimes it is as if I hear perfectly fine and other times I don't. It is unpredictable. Hearing Sparks wrote a post about this called The Variables of Hearing. It is a good read describing how tricky her hearing can be.

For example, why is it that I can listen to talk radio while driving (with the windows up and hearing aid on) and comprehend most of what is being said, but when I watch a movie I can hardly follow the conversations?

The other day after laughing at a joke being said on the radio, I pulled into a drive-through to order some food at a restaurant. The person speaking on the intercom sounded like gibberish; I think everyone hearing or not experiences this. When I drove up to the window to get the food, the girl giving me the food asked me a question or made some comment. I could not understand a word she said. She did not have an accent, she spoke loudly and was looking right at me, but I still had trouble understanding her. I asked her to repeat herself a few more times until I could piece together what she said. I still did not understand everything she said, but I think I guessed correctly.

It is really weird that I can follow what is said on the radio (for the most part). There are no lips to read and I have to rely solely on listening. Perhaps it is because I can control the volume, the people who talk on the radio are professionals with clear speaking voices, and usually not much is distracting me except a busy road or highway.

But, it is when people witness me doing things like this that confuse them and cause them to say things like, "Oh, you actually hear pretty well. Are you really hard of hearing?" But, then when I have trouble hearing, they may get frustrated and say things like, "Oh, jeez you need to get new hearing aids!" or "Wow, you really are deaf, huh?"

In a sense, sometimes I am deaf and sometimes I am hearing. I suppose other times I am both.

It depends.


Related Post:

Am I Deaf? Hard of Hearing? Hearing? Eh? What? Huh?



  1. Yep,kind of like me at times but yours appears to be worse than mine. My right ear is the moderate-severe hearing loss that slopes down and then up in the higher frequency from 55 dB down to 70 and then up to 50 dB in the shape of a bowl. Love to listen to talk radio while driving. Drive thru speakers are not really a problem in most cases depending on the voice. My left ear is severe to profoundly deaf. So, no good to use a hearing aid in a functional way.

  2. I hate those drive-thrus. Won't use em anymore. Ordering a sub is really hard, especially after indicating i want white bread. Then they ask if i wants seeds. Try lipreading that word!!!!

    Can't understand talk radio, but satellite radio is cool cuz I can check the screen readout for the name of artist and song.

  3. High profile hearing impaired advocates have done cyberbullying campaigns too. One high ranking closed captioning advocate had been doing a supersecret cyberbullying campaign for six years against another hearing impaired advocate before she got caught last July. This discovery could impact everything from closed captioning, deaf education, TRS-VRS access, movie theater captioning, and related advocacy campaigns. The big upshot is that the advocacy stance and the civil rights of people with hearing impairments could be sent backwards by as much as 30 years. See more about it at

  4. I am a sophmore in high school and i am deaf in my left ear with a mild loss in my right ear. I have always done very well in school and almost all of my teachers have been very understanding of my accommadations and the others thing i need to help me succeed in school. But today one of my teachers (the only teacher i have ever had with a degree in special education) told me in front of my whole class (i have known everyone in my class for years except for maybe 2 people) that she felt sorry for me because of my hearing loss and she was also sorry that my classmates didn't respect me because of it. This comment made me very upset. I will admitt that i did not react the way i should have, i took my hearing aid (that i wear in my left ear) out, i turned off the FM system i use while in school, and i also refused to look at this teacher for the rest of class so that i wouldn't be able to read her lips. After she made the comment about my hearing loss today she looked over to me and saw the expression of total shock on my face and asked me if i had any questions, i again refused to look at her then half nodded half shook my head and she went back to the lesson. I don't feel comfortable talking to my parents about this since neither of them have a hearing loss and the don't know about the emotional issues i have faced because of my hearing loss. This is not the first time this teacher has done/said something about my hearing loss to upset me. On almost a daily basis she brings up my hearing loss to my class and says that i am the reason they need to be quiet and that they should at least try to show me some respect. She is using me as a scapegoat so that she doesn't have to discipline the class herself and i am not comfortable with her doing this. Did i over react? Should this have upset me? Should i tell someone about this? I would really aprecciate any advice on how to handle this situation. Thanks a bunch!!!

    1. I am SO sorry that it took me this long to reply. I have taken a break from blogging and have neglected to check my emails and comments recently.

      I can understand why you are upset. Your teacher should not have singled you out like that in front of all of your peers. But, I don't think she meant you any harm.

      The best thing to do is to talk to her in person; in private, if you have not had the chance. It is never too late to talk about this. Just let her know how it made you feel. It's that simple. She may not have realized what she is doing. Just tell her it makes you uncomfortable and you would appreciate it if she stops.

      Again, I apologize for responding so late. I hope this response finds you soon.



Keep it civil.