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Can you ever feel 100% confident in the hearing world?

My question is: do people who are hard of hearing, but do not benefit from hearing aids and have limited lip-reading skills, ever feel 100% confident in a hearing world at work? (and socially)

Julie, Dundee

Deafauntie says:

The fact that you are asking this question suggests that you already know the answer, ie. ‘no’. Did you just want to check that other people feel the same way?
Having discussed this topic over the last 25 years with a wide variety of hard of hearing people, it’s evident the world is a tough place, and no-one – not even those you describe – ever feels 100% confident at home, or at work.
If there is such a person, I’d like to meet them!
Confident people tend to be those who have some control over their work or home environment. For deaf and hard of hearing people, I have always said, the higher up the ladder you go – the easier it gets. You are more in control of how things are done and can be more explicit about your communication needs.
For those for which promotion is not an option, then control over their immediate environment does help.
But 100%? Not in the real world!

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9 responses to “Can you ever feel 100% confident in the hearing world?

  1. So completely agree – the impression of confidence is different from actually feeling confident! I do benefit (enormously) from hearing aids and can lip read in many situations, but I still have that sense that I’m missing stuff all the time. Agree too with the answer, working for myself is the best thing I could do to balance my communication needs, confidence and life.

  2. I happen to think that Deaf people have a higher need to be 100% in everything because of experience and the need to understand everything around them, TV and etc. In reality the real so called normal people in fact only “hear” a certain percentage of the spoken sentence and yes even their minds fill in the gaps!! It happens all the time.

    So I think it is simply that we have a perception of what is true 100% hearing, in fact Deaf people can be better communicators!! As a manager of 20 years I have often been complimented upon by my clear and concise instructions, and ability to get the message across !

    So next time you feel “left out” …look around you at the table and you will find that actually no one is really listening to each other anyway!! That can be quite funny when you lip read them!

  3. Even though I go out every day feeling confident – there’s always that element of doubt and insecurity whenever I meet someone. Sometimes they are OK to lip-read – if they know I’m deaf, they co-operate. But if they’re having a bad day then talking a little slower and clearer goes out of the window!
    I like to think I’m OK when I go into shops and ask for a particular thing, I would say 8 times out of ten, people will understand what I’m saying. Then you get the other two times when people can’t understand what I’m saying because there are words that I tend to pronounce phonetically, as I haven’t heard them being pronounced correctly…!
    People get the wrong idea when it comes to communicating with deaf people – they think by shouting loud, they get the message across OK! Yes right – to any deaf person, to see someone shouting at them would be looked on as a form of aggression!
    It’s all the teaching of being patience, speaking a little slower and clearer and in full view of the deaf person face to face – that’s all we ask for…! 🙂

  4. I agree with your comment ‘the higher up you get the easier it gets’. Now retired and having more time – at our hearing church I lead a House Group for Bible Study of 13 hearing people in total. As an ordinary member and only deaf member of a group I often struggled with mumblers!! Being in charge I can dictate the pace and use study notes I have typed out which are given to each group member at the beginning of each session. I seem to have a reputation for keeping the group on track!! They all know I am deaf and my limitations but somehow it works as well in the other church related areas I am involved and I am richly supported by a few extremely valuable friends.

  5. Who is 100% confident – even hearing people in the hearing world? Rob’s right – people hear what they expect to hear in meetings etc. They nod off, their attention wanders, etc. so there’s a lot of gap-filling. That’s why people have minutes of meetings!

    In my experience, there have been a few key points to becoming more confident in managing hearing loss at work:

    1. Are you confident in your coping strategies? Is there an area you feel you could benefit from? Do you feel you could benefit from lipreading classes, communication support in meetings, etc.? It can be as simple as asking everybody to e-mail you, rather than phone. Are you confident in asking for what you need? Can your HR department help? Will a friendly fellow-colleague help you out with communication at meetings – that can often help and sets the example (you might need more formal communication support but sometimes at a small ad-hoc meeting, a friendly colleague can make a huge difference.)

    2. Be very good at your job. If you’re the one people come to for help, advice, and ideas, they’ll learn to communicate with you better because they have to. It’s akin to Laraine’s advice – the higher up you go, the easier it gets. Knowing your stuff breeds confidence, too, in other areas: the more confident you are in your work, the more you feel empowered to ask for what you need.

    3. Take your cue from colleagues/friends/fellow volunteers who are confident communicators and know their stuff – it’s really taking 1. and 2. to the next level. Perhaps one of these can mentor you? People who are good at communication/know their stuff usually make time to fill you in or make you feel included. People who aren’t very good at communicating tend to keep info to themselves because it makes them feel better/superior. I had a manager once who played his cards close to his chest and we all suffered, me most of all, because he played a power game with info pertinent to my job. Unsurprisingly, he was a mumbler as well!!

    You can learn from people who really know their stuff because they’re always willing to share – and make sure that you’re one of those people too – pass it on!

  6. Well said! yes I can say I am in that boat too. I hate it when approached by someone with a strong accent and I struggle to understand the gibberish they come out with. Or someone with a big beard, or in a very noisy place… I could go on but I think you know the score. It’s much easier for myself to avoid talking to people out there so I’m a very quiet person. However, if I meet up with some deaf or hard of hearing people, you wouldn’t be able to shut me up!

  7. I need to add something here….in my local Village which I just moved to…I have been invited to talk about Deafness and sign language!!….Forced upon me I must admit!……But the locals are fascinated by me and how I came to move to this lovely village!!……so yes they may learn huge amounts from me and I am happy with that because these people are “MOVERS” and owners of shops and hotels,lawyers and even Doctors! So here I am making a big impact in the local Village Hall….

  8. Karthik Vijayanandam

    It is important to remember that even hearing peeps don’t quite feel 100% confident with each other too.

  9. Confidence is relative. In my job, I manage the phone system software even though I can’t actually use it myself. It’s understanding what I need to achieve for others that gives me confidence meaning I understand their needs and in return I feel more able to help them to understand MY needs. Whatever field you’re in, learn, read, learn and more reading. It’s unfair but we deafies have to work harder to keep up to speed never mind staying ahead. The only people who I’ve met who are clearly 100% confident (deaf & hearing) have tended to be not very nice people who I do not keep in touch with. Period. You sound like a nice, thoughtful person so please keep learning and building up your confidence. Never stop learning. I do take exception to Bron White saying that people with strong accents speak “gibberish”. No they don’t – no more than deaf people being described in a similar manner. We have accents all over the place – deaf AND hearing.

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