I have some hearing loss in my right ear. I am by no means deaf, but there are certain sounds I do not hear well. Unfortunately, that includes many male voices. Since I find it annoying to say “What?” and “Huh?” and “I’m sorry, I did not hear you,” I have come up with some coping mechanisms. When someone says something in passing I generally assume they are offering a greeting. So, I nod and give a generic response.
This usually works. Unless it doesn’t.
Yesterday I was at work and the CEO of this little hospital walked by as I was waiting on the elevator. He said something unintelligible, and I responded with a nod and a half-hearted little thumbs up. He stopped, turned and looked at me expectantly. I had a moment of sheer terror. What on earth did I just agree to? Oh, crap. I agreed that kittens should be drowned at birth. I may have said I love Michael Bolton. Ugh!
Nope, he had asked me to come open a locked door with my badge. He was waiting for me to walk with him. Oops. I am fairly confident I turned fifty shades of crimson, and I explained how I don’t always hear people, and that I probably should not pretend like I did. He laughed and it was no big deal.
I find it fascinating how people develop coping skills to hide their difficulties. Most of the time my hearing loss is no big deal. It is a thousand times better than it used to be. I have had several surgeries, and my surgeon did a fabulous job restoring most of my hearing. I am lucky.
Sometimes my hearing loss causes me a lot of embarrassment. Just add it to some of my quirks. Yes, I talk loudly. I have no idea when I am doing it. I don’t find it offensive when people give me signal that I have gone up several decibels. Just give me an indication. Seriously. I tend to try to walk to the right of most men, and I usually find it helpful to be facing you when you speak.
If I do not respond to you, chances are very great I didn’t HEAR you! I do not make it a habit to ignore people. That is rude. I am never rude on purpose. Well, maybe never is a strong word, but it is usually not my intention to be rude. I was raised with manners.
When I walk, my path sometimes veers to the left. I may end up walking WAY to close to you for comfort. I may brush up against you. Oops, that tends to be awkward.
So, if our paths ever cross, and I respond wildly inappropriately, just get my attention. We can have a good laugh at my awkward attempt to compensate and life is good.
PS: I am having fun and the doc I am working with this week has the same sense of humor as I do. We both find it riotously funny to see what big words we can throw into random conversation. It has become a challenge. If I were not afraid of defenestration, I would try to see if I could use that particular word in a piece of professional writing. hehe.