Okay, all you Hard-of-Hearies out there, do you ever get extremely self conscious when you go to a big group meeting? I DO! I never know when the “right” time is to jump in and say “oh, by the way, I can’t hear worth crap so please pay special attention when you speak to me.” It always feels like a complete cop-out. Like I’m not strong enough or good enough to do it on my own without others knowing I can’t hear. And I never know if I should tell people individually so I can field questions, or if I should just blurt it out and get it over with or what.
I also stumble over the words sometimes. Like, do I say “I am deaf,” which might give the impression I can’t hear anything at all when I can actually hear a little. Or do I say, “I have a hearing loss,” which just sounds a little too negative to me. Or, “I am hard of hearing,” which sounds like my ears are going to break off in the near future. I just don’t like any of the terminology that society has come up with. It’s all a “label” of some sort. And I hate being labeled because I’m so much more than just my hearing loss. We all are!
Anyways, sorry for that ramble…. the point is, last night, I stood up in front of a really large group and told them, in no uncertain terms, that I couldn’t hear well. I gave a short explanation, quickly said, “look at me when you’re speaking to me,” and also told them that if they were talking behind me or something, I wasn’t ignoring them. Promise! I got a good laugh, got the info out to everyone at once, and felt so much better for having done so!
Apparently it was the perfect night to do it too, because the large group broke off into smaller groups of about 8 people. 6 groups of 8-ish people in one room all talking at once. Yeeeeeshhh…. Yeah that wasn’t hard at all! BUT, our little group sat in a circle, so we could all see each other. And when we realized how loud the room was going to be, we all scooted close together. There were “get to know each other” questions printed on paper, which each person read and then passed to me in case I missed something! They spoke clearly and one at a time. AND….. *drumroll* I DIDN’T HAVE TO TELL THEM TO DO ANY OF IT!!!
Can you say “wowza” or what?
Needless to say, it was a great evening and a relief to get that point out of the way. Now I can just be “me” and enjoy this wonderful group of ladies.
What have been your experiences in situations like this?