Today, I went to special ed transition meeting at a nearby middle school~ where we pass on information about our students who are transitioning on to middle school. As we met with the the middle school special education teachers, they took us to a very large library with high ceilings and we sat down at a small round table to chat about students. Sometimes, I can keep up with the communication within a group~ but today, I just couldn’t. They were talking so fast, interrupting to make a joke in between conversations, and not always looking at me. Many times, I do tell people that I am hard of hearing~ and there have also been times when I don’t tell them~ today I didn’t. Since, I felt that I wasn’t doing most of the talking and it wasn’t my turn yet. I decided that when it would be my turn, I’ll take control of the talking. And, yes, I did feel a bit left out when they started to laugh at a comment~ but I just sat there and smiled wishing that I could’ve heard the joke. It can be a pretty isolating feeling~ being with a group of people within close proximity and not be able to laugh with them.
“Choose your battles..” seems to be a common suggestion when people are trying to decide about a situation~ I tend to do a “choose to tell” on deciding whether or not to tell someone about my hearing or lack thereof. It can get exhausting to have to tell every every new person I meet that I have a hearing loss~ and it doesn’t usually end there. Often, I wish it did. People respond in all kinds of ways: “Oh, do you sign?” I don’t. I’ve always been a part of the mainstream society where communicating orally is my norm ( and the fact that I don’t sign is a whole different story). “Oh, is that why you have that deaf tone?” I really, really, really hate that question, it makes me feel ashamed. “Wow, that’s amazing!” What is? That I can talk? “Oh, my grandmother lost her hearing too…” I’m not old. I didn’t lose my hearing, I was born without hearing and have never been hearing in my life. Here’s my all time favorite, “I had no idea!” I love it when a person clearly didn’t know that I was “different”. But, there have been many times when I’m glad to sit down with someone and go through the whole spiel of life as hearing impaired person. And, it’s a very long story.