I have the pleasure of hosting a live chat on Sundays, with the draw being a word game that folks can enjoy while they socialize. Today the idea of “word games” got me thinking about something I deal with daily as a “moderate to severe” HOH person.
Have you ever talked without opening your mouth? You can do it through your nose, making all the right inflections, and some (limited) jaw movements. If you’re a hearing person (or even if you’re not) try this with some of your hearing friends. Turns out, if you “talk” slowly enough, most folks will be able to figure out what you’re saying from your inflections and perhaps a few context gestures.
This is a near perfect example of how I perceive you when you talk to me.
Now the game begins.
I say “what”?
I say “a little slower please?”
You (if you’re my patient friend) repeat more slowly and precisely (if you’re not my friend, you repeat exactly the same speed and style as previously).
I respond with an inappropriate remark since I almost (but not quite) understood you correctly.
If you’re my friend: You might laugh at my gaff, but you provide a careful correction.
If you’re not my friend: You start to get very irritated, and possibly end the conversation in a huff.
Note that in general, most grocery store check-out clerks, waiters, and over the counter servers (of any commercial business) are my friends – their employer requires them to be. If it’s not a job requirement, making friends can be tough when you’re HOH, and like me, don’t sign.
Happily, I do happen to have some very good friends both online and off. For the patience and tenacity of my good friends, I’m truly grateful. These are the people who help keep me sane (ok, a matter of opinion) in a world gone mad and effectively silent.
Let’s face it – word games happen all the time, and perhaps there is a good side to being HOH – we and our friends focus much more intently on clarity of speech and understanding.
Paul S (aka: LifeWrecked)