A Hearing Loss & Late Deafened Blog

Word Games Only Your Friends Will Play

In Hearing Loss on April 27, 2008 at 10:55 am

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”?

You repeat.

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)

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  1. Hi Paul,
    I was just remarking to a coworker that losing my hearing has shown me who my true friends are.
    Some of my coworkers think it’s fine to talk about me while standing on the other side of my cubicle feeling secure that I can’t hear them. Grrr. How rude! Other people once they are made aware of my situation, go out of their way to make sure they have my attention before trying to speak with them. They also repeat and rephrase as necessary. They are the gems in my life.
    Sarah

  2. Thanks Sarah,
    It’s funny, I had actually planned to include the statement “Losing your hearing will show you who your real friends are.” but since I forgot, you said it beautifully for me. I have friends who will practically knock themselves out to talk with me and not even flinch, while some people seem to just keep their distance so as not to have to deal with me.

    Then there are the kind-hearted strangers (they seem to be my most common experience) who don’t have a clue, but will try their best when I tell them I don’t hear well. Unlike some folks, I don’t blame people for not knowing what to do – I just coach them gently on how to best “get through” to me. I’ve even made myself a “business card” (explaining how best to talk with me)that I’ve handed to a few folks (and will hand to more when I remember to) – it makes quite the impression and it often breaks the ice and starts a conversation; once folks find out I’m not being stand-offish, but really have a hard time communicating, many will warm right up and give me their best effort, along with a friendly conversation. So there’s still hope for a “normal” social life. 🙂

    Paul S (aka: LifeWrecked)

  3. The majority of people I deal with on a day-to-day basis are wonderful about my hearing loss. Those who can’t deal with it tend to be impatient with everyone. I’ve learned not to take it personally because THOSE kind of people aren’t the ones I want to hang with anyway. I now consider my hearing loss a natural “weeder” of people I’m not interested in getting to know better. 🙂 Kim

  4. Great site! I’ve read your post and I like it so much, I had a friend and he is always with me.I am so grateful that I have a friend like him.
    I have two saying about friends:
    First: “A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they’re not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they’re not so bad. ”

    Second: “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”

  5. I like your post too. very nice site btw! Good friends are one of the most important things out there . i dont know what i do without 🙂

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