What I Heard vs. What You Said

If you find it hard to laugh at yourself, I’d be happy to do it for you.

Groucho Marx

I sat next to my husband as we drove to our favorite taco café – I ❤ Tacos. I asked about his day. He answered. I had no idea what he said. I waited. Should I ask him to repeat himself, or just let it slide?

He looked at me. “You didn’t hear what I said, did you?”

“Sorry.”

I’m hearing impaired. I wear hearing aids, but they don’t always work. Sometimes background noises, especially road noises, cancel out other sounds. He could have been shouting and I may not have understood his words.

That’s life for a hearing-impaired person. And then there are the times someone speaks to me and I don’t respond. I’m not being rude–I can’t hear you. That’s what happened the other day when one of my neighbors was in her yard down in the court. When I walked out to the mailbox, I lifted my hand to greet her. She waved back. On the way back to the house, something told me she had spoken to me.

I looked again and she was gone. The next time I saw her out, I apologized and confessed that I don’t always hear when someone speaks.

I learned something important when I went to an outdoor concert with friends. Hearing aids can actually “overhear”. The loud music that my friends enjoyed so much actually hurt my ears. I had to turn off my hearing aids. If I ever attend another concert, I will take my noise-cancelling headphones. I might look silly, but I will be comfortable. Oh, and when my friends tried to communicate with me, I could not hear them at all, so we ended up texting one another.

And laughing. A lot.

A few helpful things you can do when you speak to someone who is hearing-impaired:

  • Make eye contact – we hear better if we can see you talking
  • Text, don’t call – telephone conversations are difficult!
  • If you must call, follow up with a text when details matter
  • You don’t have to shout, just enunciate better
  • Try not to lose your temper when we ask you to repeat something

Oh, and if you want to share a secret with me, and whisper it in my ear–believe me–your secret is completely safe with me. I cannot hear that whisper! 🙂

I hear you fine, I just can’t understand…

It’s possible no one will ever read this. I am happy to say, it doesn’t matter. I am going to write even if no one reads what I write. 

If you’re a writer and you want to guarantee someone reads what you write, then write letters to loved ones. I still have a few family members who don’t have computers. They love getting letters, especially handwritten ones. They read mine, then they send me an answer. Instead of seconds or minutes, the whole process takes a week or two at a combined cost of nearly a dollar. 
I could just pick up the phone and call them, but I have trouble hearing on the phone and some of them have the same problem. Our conversations tend toward hilarity. “I hear you fine, I just can’t understand what you’re saying…” 

And in the end, I find I must write a letter to be sure they understood what I told them on the phone. So it saves time, if not money, to write a letter.
One dear friend who calls me a youngster was wondering when I’d publish another book. I told her I have an ebook in progress. “You should get a Kindle reader, I think you’d like it,” I said.
“I’ve seen those for sale,” she said. “I don’t reckon I could figure out how to use it.”
“Oh it’s easy to use,” I told her. “You could get your son to set it up and after that, it’s a breeze.”
“Yeah, well, it’d just be another thing I’d have to remember where I set it. Then I’d spend half the day looking for it, and another half of the day trying to remember what I was looking for.”
I couldn’t argue with that. 

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written. I’ll try to do better here on out. Hope you’re having a wonderful day. 
Thanks for stopping by!