Touchy about hearing loss?

It’s funny how people tend to be more sensitive about their hearing than their eyesight.

I certainly include myself in this over-sensitive group. Cheerfully I admit to hearing loss. Proudly I wear my cunning little Phonax hearing aids. But poke me the wrong way and I’ll still bristle with indignation.

Partly, I’m reacting to another funny thing about human nature: I’ve noticed that the more defensive people are about their own hearing, the more they are likely to comment on other people’s hearing.

So when a person with poor hearing comments on my poor hearing, logic flees. These two people are incapable of having a sensible conversation on the topic of hearing, because rumbling under the spoken words are other powerful silent messages, such as…

“Your hearing is worse than my hearing.”
“You need hearing aids.”
“Pot calling the kettle black.”

And our listening gets worse and worse. Neither of us can bear to hear certain truths.

During one such exchange recently, a sister had to step in and tell us two deafish persons to drop the subject. Our conversation was going nowhere. Being over-sensitive about our hearing had made us socially inept. And rude. And deaf.

This is kind of weird, don’t you think? I never pick up on similar vibes about eyesight. Maybe that’s just me. I love glasses.

Life lessons for myself

  • If you’ve got poor eyesight, flaunt it—like Dame Edna Everage
  • If other people say you are getting deaf, you are getting deaf
  • Hearing aids are not perfect but they are cute


24 thoughts on “Touchy about hearing loss?

  1. Lively Life says:


  2. Oh so true and it is too easy for sufferers to miss out on the joy of simple random conversations. “God that plum tree looks beautiful.” …”What’s humming?”…. after the third iteration….”Oh forget it.”
    I call it the Silent Disability.

    1. Well said. But it is an emotional issue.

      1. Oh heaven’s yes and more difficult than people realise.

  3. Sounds like my husband and me. Neither of us wear aids yet but neither of us can hear as well as we’d like. I know it. My husband is in denial exclaiming that he has 20-20 hearing (whatever that means). However when it comes to watching TV he cranks up the volume twice what I need. I stopped pointing it out your sister said…the conversation goes nowhere.

    1. One day he will be ready. But best while he can easily handle the tiny controls.

      1. 🙂 Both my bro and sis-in-law have them. It never fails. Whenever I am with them my SIL says, “Oops, my battery is dead!” My bro has to change them.

      2. That’s love!

  4. Well, I’m ambivalent about this…I have poor eyesight, and sometimes think I would prefer poor hearing, given the choice, which of course, we do not have!

    1. Quite true. But I believe most people find hearing loss a lonelier problem.

  5. Robyn Haynes says:

    My hearing diminished and my spider sense blossomed. What’s more I’m not too bad at lip reading either.

    1. Excellent result! How clever our brains are at redistributing the load!

      1. Robyn Haynes says:

        Unfortunately, neither hearing aids nor surgical intervention solved my issue. So now I see it as a fair exchange. Lose one sense, gain another.

      2. Difficult trials but a satisfactory trade. It is all about how we “see” things, isn’t it?

      3. Robyn Haynes says:

        Without a doubt!

  6. Bernadette says:

    It is interesting how defensive I can become about my encroaching hearing loss but I am perfectly ok with the eyesight deteriorating. I think the hearing loss reminds me of aging.

    1. It is strange, isn’t it? And you are not alone.

  7. It is strange indeed. I’m on the cusp of needing hearing aids, according to my visit with the specialist who examined me. At this point he says I can take them or leave them. Since they are so very expensive here in the US, I’m leaving them for now. Instead I’m saving for a trip to Iceland in May! 🙂

    1. Glad you have good advice; everyone is different. Iceland! Exciting!

  8. Aunt Beulah says:

    As one who wears hearing aids, I know of what you speak. I’ve had those conversations, a few with my husband. When he doesn’t hear me, it’s because I’m mumbling. When I don’t hear him, it’s because I’m deaf. Whew!!

    1. Exactly!!! The great mumbling epidemic.

  9. Val says:

    My hearing started going awry after too many very loud rock gigs in my younger days, and I’ve had a degree of tinnitus most of my life (not sure why, possibly sinuses as well) so I rarely comment on anyone else’s hearing loss. My M.I.L. is fairly deaf and refuses to wear a hearing aid and I recall an uncle when I was a child who used to take his hearing aid out when he didn’t want to listen to the family, but that’s really the only two things I can think of about it. As for whether it’s more or less an emotional topic than eyesight, I suppose the majority of people are more visually-sensed than auditory-sensed, so maybe that’s why?

    1. Lots to think about here! I’m with your uncle, except now my hearing aids double as earplugs in loud music: i just turn em off! Knowing your photos, maybe your visual sense has been heightened in response to hearing loss.

  10. Joared says:

    Having worked with many individuals trying to adjust to hearing loss and aids use, and with some of their family members, the coping is highly individual dependent on numerous factors I think. Usually if one sense weakens another sense will tend to compensate — vision often doing so for hearing. Certainly some of the compensatory skills we teach call for increased use of vision.

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