Thursday, April 17, 2014

"Never Mind"

I was regularly checking my facebook feed when I see this shared post about two words that should never be said to a hard of hearing person. Most, if not all, hard of hearing people likely already know the two words before they even read what the person was referring to. They are "never mind."

Here's a link to the opinion piece on Times Colonist. I could not have said this piece better than the author did. In fact, after I read the first few paragraphs, I thought someone stole something I had written in the past! The girl has an extremely similar background to me- by when she became HoH, her use of hearing aids and the FM Trainer in schools and constant annoyance of people saying "never mind" to her when she asked them to repeat something. She really hits it home about how rude it is, without actually acknowledging that it's rude. We just find it insulting; as if we're a burden for needing you to repeat something! The image above is quite frankly, what I feel when someone says it.

I also like that she mentions how hearing for us, is not passive. It takes us a lot of effort and the results can be tiring. At the end of a day, there's nothing more pleasant than being able to take off the hearing aid(s) and/or cochlear implant(s) and being able to relax in silence. For those of us that also have to lip read, it's nearly twice as tiring an effort to listen with the ears AND eyes. I actually found myself developing tunnel vision today when I was so focused on lip reading my boss for 10 minutes. And that was ONLY for a 10 minute conversation. But that's how much work it took me to try my hardest to hear and understand every single word he was saying. As opposed to the half-assed effort I usually surmount myself to in order to prevent myself from wearing out too fast.

Most people don't realize this, even those that have been in my presence often in the past, but I get suddenly tired when I'm around people in social situations when I wasn't even tired before I arrived. This is due to the communication wearing me down... really fast. Shortly after I arrive, I start to disappear to hog a TV or read a book or something. I realize people might think this is me being rude, but it's really me trying to save myself from passing out in a coma of exhaustion. I just canNOT keep up with that much communication, especially if it's a room full of people. And to make it easier, no one really tries to talk to me anyway. I'll spend half of my energy keeping alert in case someone wants to talk, but then, nope. I get it, I'm awkward and quiet and when you finally do ask me something, my answer is probably five words and not all that entertaining. (Which, really, if that's the case, you probably shouldn't ask such a question. I'm not a comedian). But then, just ask me another question! Show interest! I know, you're probably thinking, "why don't you just ask people questions instead?!" Well, because, as mentioned above, it's exhausting for me to exert that much energy. Plus, I'm quiet and not known to just start talking to anyone I'm not comfortable with. My energy is precious, and I choose wisely where I spend it. Plus, I've had too much experience with people brushing me off with "never minds" when I did show interest, but couldn't understand them, and when that happens enough, you just generally start to give up on the human race.

But hey, I'm only (almost) 30. I'm young. I'm growing. And I'm putting myself out there more. Just maybe humanity will win itself back and I'll be that middle age person who talks to everyone. Until then though, you can email me, IM me, and text me as much as you want. It's funner that way.And no one says "never mind" in written format.

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