A Guide to Hanging Out With Cloth Ears.

It’s Deaf Awareness Week, so as yours truly has cloth ears, I thought I’d do my bit to help with that awareness. I lost my hearing after having a baby and have to rely on hearing aids to hear. There’s more on that in this post here. However, even with hearing aids it’s a day to day struggle trying to hear sounds and conversations. What would help people like me, is if people were aware of the ways that would help us with our hearing issues (and in turn help you).

deaf culture huh

So, here’s my tips for when you’re with a deaf person:
– ensure you’ve got your deaf friend’s attention before talking to them
– make sure you’re talking in their direction and don’t turn away in the middle of talking to them either. If you suddenly need to grab something that’s in a different direction to your friend- stop talking & start again once you’re facing them again. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting your breath.
– don’t cover your mouth. I can’t lip read, but this still makes a difference for me. I guess we all must subconsciously lip read slightly.
– speak clearly and not too fast, but not so slowly your friend might want to slap you for patronising them.
– if your friend has asked you to repeat yourself, please make a concerted effort to speak louder. It’s surprising the amount of people who don’t do this. You’ve been asked to repeat yourself because you’re not speaking loud enough for them. Repeating what you have to say in the same volume is pointless.

Hearing-Loss
– as hard as this can be sometimes, when with a group of friends, try not to speak over each other/at the same time. It’s so hard for someone with hearing problems to keep up with everything that’s being said. Our brains have to work twice as hard to differentiate sounds.
– background noise is also a nightmare for people with hearing loss. It’s hard enough trying to understand what’s being said to you, but when your brain is picking up on other noises, it makes it so much harder.
– when out in a pub or restaurant with your deaf buddy, try to pick tables that have a wall behind some of the seats and ensure your friend gets one of these. Sitting with a wall behind you rather than the whole pub/restaurant limits the amount of “external” noise going in your deaf friend’s direction. Therefore, it will be easier for them to hear.
– try to ensure your deaf friend is included in the conversation when out with a group. It’s incredibly isolating being deaf sometimes and if they’re being quiet in a group situation, it’s probably because they’re struggling to hear.
– it’s worth remembering that the bigger a room, the taller the ceiling and the “emptier” it is (for example has a lack of carpets, curtains, big objects) the harder it is for people with hearing problems to hear. Small, cosy rooms are winners for us cloth ears.
– assistant dogs for the deaf & hard of hearing wear burgundy coats (just thought I’d add that as is worth knowing).

Screen-shot-2014-10-20-at-13.45.45
– NHS hearing aids are amazing. Without mine, I wouldn’t easily be able to work, socialise, hear music or hear my daughter laugh. They have given me my hearing back for free. Long live the NHS.

Behind the ear hearing aid
– most of us hate using phones. Contact us using any other method if possible.
– feedback on our hearing aids are a nightmare and incredibly unpleasant. Bear this is mind if you get too close to them (hugs are fine for example, just not with your head resting on our ears). Shouting and any sudden loud noise can also cause feedback.
– we can’t get our hearing aids wet. There’s amazing (and expensive) little computers inside them. Computers don’t like getting wet. That’s why you might see us swiftly getting our umbrellas out at the first sign of rain. So no spontaneously chucking us into the pool on holiday, OK?
-deafness seems to be the last remaining disability some people think it’s ok to make fun of. Maybe rethink mocking your hard of hearing friend for their disability.
– please don’t equate deafness with stupidity. You’d be surprised how often this happens. We’re not stupid, we just didn’t catch what you said.
– please don’t get frustrated if we ask you to repeat what you said. I know it’s not fun having to repeat yourself, but it’s a lot less fun being deaf. We haven’t chosen to have bad hearing, we promise we’re not mishearing you on purpose. It would make our lives a lot easier if we didn’t have to ask people to repeat themselves. Thanking you.

-never EVER say “it doesn’t matter”. What a deaf person gets from that is “you’re not important enough to repeat myself for”
– don’t be afraid to ask us anything about our hearing issues. The more people are aware of deafness issues, the better it is for everyone.
Please feel free to share this post, to help raise awareness.

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Sign language for “Thank you”

51 comments

  1. Traci York · 5 Days Ago

    Excellent suggestions, here Hayley! I’ve shared across my social media! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. angelanoelauthor · 4 Days Ago

    Hayley, your last point really got to me. I’ve for sure said, “It doesn’t matter” when my dad or father-in-law (both hard of hearing due to firearm use near their ears) has asked me to repeat something. Being a talkative person, I often say more than necessary–so I make an assumption that if someone asks me to repeat myself it’s because they weren’t listening (and maybe what I was just filling space rather than communicating meaning). But the key is awareness. Maybe I did say something inane. But I should let these wonderful people in my life decide for themselves if I’m boring rather than making the decision for them. As usual, you’re making me think. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 4 Days Ago

      Yes, it’s very upsetting hearing “it doesn’t matter”. What’s annoying is that person managed to say “it doesn’t matter” loud enough of me to hear, so why not just repeat what they’d said at that louder volume. It does refer back to my point of deafness being very isolating. I miss hearing the inane things. It’s quite often the little things that matter. Thank you so much for reading & it’s very encouraging to hear you reflect on this. Thanks Angela (oh and don’t worry plenty of people say “it doesn’t matter” and am sure I’ve done it in the past myself) xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • angelanoelauthor · 3 Days Ago

        I’m just so glad I know better now!

        Liked by 1 person

      • thebeasley · 3 Days Ago

        😘

        Like

  3. fragglerocking · 3 Days Ago

    Excellent advise. Just wanted to say that there are hearing aids that don’t have any feedback when you’re hugged or a loud noise occurs, and with Bluetooth connection to your mobile phone so you CAN have conversations easily with them. Of course the NHS do not provide those but they are worth saving up for.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. globalhousesitterX2 · 2 Days Ago

    WE all need reminding of disabilities, and how we can communicate more efficiently. Deafness is a very hard one, a bit like a bad back. No one can see the disability. Thanks for reminding me what needs to be done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 2 Days Ago

      Exactly. It’s a hidden disability. I think that might be why some people don’t have a great awareness about it. Thanks so much Suzanne x

      Liked by 1 person

  5. suzie81speaks · 2 Days Ago

    This is so useful! I can particularly relate to what Angela said about being told ‘it doesn’t matter’ – really frustrating!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 2 Days Ago

      It’s so easy to say, but has a profound affect. Cheers Suzie xx

      Like

  6. Ritu · 2 Days Ago

    So many things we maybe wouldn’t consider usually. Thanks for that Hayley. I have a little deaf girl in school, and this is something I will consider a lot more now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 2 Days Ago

      My friend who’s a deputy head at a secondary school has said the same. They have 2 deaf kids there & she’s going to use my tips to help them 😘 Cheers x

      Liked by 1 person

  7. emfletche · 2 Days Ago

    Some great points Hayley; we often joke about my dad being deaf in one ear (“Mom’s finally broke him after all these years…”) but it must be difficult for him, especially when we’re out in social situations which may be a bit noisy We have to remember to be a bit more sympathetic!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 2 Days Ago

      Yeah I remember mocking my Gran for being deaf & now it’s happened to me & I know what it’s like- I feel awful. Thanks Em x

      Like

    • thebeasley · 2 Days Ago

      Oh and your joke re your Mum finally breaking your Dad is quite funny tbf xx

      Like

  8. The Story Reading Ape · 2 Days Ago

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Never EVER say “it doesn’t matter”.
    What a deaf person gets from that is “You’re not important enough to repeat myself for”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Phil Taylor · 2 Days Ago

    What a great post! I’m definitely sharing this. I understand some of your points personally. I’m not deaf but was once told that I have a discrimination disorder. What that means is that when there’s a lot of noise around I’m unable to discriminate one sound, like a voice from the background noise, so anytime I’m in a public setting it often just sounds like a lot of static around me. I’ve missed a lot of conversations in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 2 Days Ago

      Ah yes I definitely can relate to this. It makes socialising very difficult, doesn’t it? Thanks so much for sharing xx

      Liked by 1 person

  10. The Indecisive Eejit · 2 Days Ago

    That’s a really informative post Hayley, some of these I already knew, because one of my good friends has hearing impairment, but other ones like the walls behind tables is so simple when you know it, but not something we would never think about.
    I remember watching this advert once on Youtube done by Samsung where they set up cameras and for a day this lad called Muharrem got to experience what it was like when everyone spoke to him using sign language and you should have seen the look on his face, it brought tears to my eyes, what a difference for him.
    Looking back now, I would much rather have been taught sign language at school thank French as it would have proved more useful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 2 Days Ago

      Oh wow that video sounds amazing! I think it’d make me cry too! It would make SUCH a difference to my life if everyone was deaf aware. Cheers Juls xx

      Like

  11. Circle of Daydreams · 2 Days Ago

    So much good advice here. My Dad needed his hearing aids to be able to hear anything, so I got used to many of the points above. Background noise was such an issue for him as his aids amplified everything! I love your bit about being deaf, not stupid. So true. I notice people do that to those in wheelchairs or with cerebral palsy and such as well. Different does not equal less.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 2 Days Ago

      Ah yes it definitely does apply to different disabilities. I love that “different does not equal less” 👍🏻 X

      Like

  12. Barb Drummond · 2 Days Ago

    Lots of useful points. But speech is about bonding as well as exchanging information. If I get asked to repeat myself I may have genuinely forgotten what I just said. It really doesn’t matter. It’s more about sharing time & space with others. Don’t assume such comments are insults. Probably more common than you think.

    Like

  13. John Fioravanti · 2 Days Ago

    Reblogged this on Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti and commented:
    Hayley Beasley discusses her hearing loss and offers suggestions of practices to implement and to avoid when in the company of a person who is hearing impaired. Please, read on…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. John Fioravanti · 2 Days Ago

    I understand, Hayley. My wife, Anne was born with a 75% loss in both ears and that has degenerated to 100% loss in her left ear and 99% loss in her right ear. She never learned sign or went to a special school for the deaf – she wanted to operate and communicate with everyone – so she became a lip reader. Now in our sixties, she finds it harder to lip read due to her eyesight deteriorating with age. The Facetime feature on the iPhone is the only way she can talk on the phone – so email and text messages are vital to her. Thanks for putting this issue to the forefront – it is an important part of being an inclusive community and society.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 2 Days Ago

      Your wife sounds like a very special lady. It’s things like this where modern technology really comes into its own and thank goodness for it. Thanks so much for reading, sharing and telling me your story x

      Liked by 1 person

  15. John Fioravanti · 2 Days Ago

    Yes, she is special and fights hard for what she wants. She went through the regular school system and graduated with an English degree from the University of Waterloo – without any of the technical assistance available to hearing impaired students today. She wears one of the most powerful hearing aids on the market in her right ear – and that gives her about 10% hearing in that ear. Her inability to use the phone held her back from advancing in the insurance industry until the Internet came along with email capability. Then she was able to advance. In her retirement, she teaches Insurance Degree courses several times throughout the year.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. abrightclearweb · 2 Days Ago

    I don’t have any issues hearing, but I still prefer quiet places. I was out for lunch yesterday in a noisy restaurant and kept wishing for some noise-cancelling walls! For the same reason, I don’t like pubs on Fridays and Saturdays. Too much loud music and chatter, I can barely hear myself think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 2 Days Ago

      Yes I remember (when I had good hearing) how I was the same. I still preferred quieter places so I can hear everything that was said. Thanks for reading x

      Like

  17. emilypageart · 2 Days Ago

    Great tips!! They seem so common sense, but sometimes we need it spelled out for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. niicolee00 · 2 Days Ago

    My high school had a program for deaf students, and I became friends with some of them, so I learned a lot of these things through experience and through watching their struggles. It’s incredible how many people make fun of the way they talk, and how many people treat them like they’re stupid, like you said. It’s very frustrating, and very sad because like many other people with disabilities, they’re just like other people aside from it!!

    -Nicole
    myuninspiredblog.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 2 Days Ago

      So true Nicole. That’s great that your school had a programme for deaf students. Thanks for reading x

      Like

  19. Shallow Reflections · 1 Day Ago

    Great advice, Haley. My hearing is not what it used to be and I find it very difficult to be in noisy environments and I hate it when my husband repeats something loud and slow, like I’m a moron. Your post has made me even more aware of how I can help someone with a hearing loss more sever than mine. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Gabe Burkhardt · 1 Day Ago

    This is excellent advice for all of us, regardless of the level of hearing impairment we struggle with. My wife tells me that I don’t listen to her all the time. I’m gonna share this excellent post with her… but I still don’t know if I’m going to be able to hear her telling me to take out the trash while I’m watching reruns of Mad Men;)

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 1 Day Ago

      Haha. To be honest Mad Men is far more important than taking the trash out. Just don’t tell your wife I said that. Cheers x

      Liked by 1 person

  21. josypheen · 1 Day Ago

    You are such a star Hayley.
    My dad recently got hearing aids for the first time so this is really helpful and timely advice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 1 Day Ago

      Excellent! Hope it helps & hope he’s getting on with them ok x

      Liked by 1 person

      • josypheen · 1 Day Ago

        Yep, the main issue seems to be with background noise (like most people here seem to have mentioned!!)

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Soooz · 17 Hours Ago

    A thoughtful and caring post. So many folks simply don’t know how to deal with someone who is hearing impaired. In consequence hurt feelings and misunderstandings abound. This post should assist everyone to further understand.

    Liked by 1 person

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