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Ditzy or Just Hard of Hearing

Updated: Jul 9, 2018

Tamara Marshall  wrote “I Pretend to Be Ditzy or Tired Rather then Tell People About My Hearing Loss.  Gee – do I do that? I used to, but would I do it now?


I’m much better at advocating for myself then I used to be, but far from perfect. Maybe I’m tired, and don’t have enough energy. Maybe I ask people to speak more cleaerly and still don’t hear them.  But Tamara’s article made me think.  She says “I feel like there’s never the ‘right time’ to tell people about my hearing loss - especially if I’ve spent some time pretending everything is fine and dandy, and then suddenly out of the blue make a confession."



I used to meet for dinner with a group of friends on a regular basis. But it was a recipe for disaster.  The restaurant was always noisy, and our group always had multiple conversations and cross-talk going on.  I was never sure what people were talking about, if I was laughing at the right point or making inappropriate responses. What a great opportunity to advocate for myself. Yet, I didn’t.


I always swore I was going to do something about this, but never did. The group knew I had a hearing loss, but didn’t know the extent of my frustration because I never clearly told them. So eventually I just stopped going to dinner with my friends.


Hopefully I’ve learned from this situation and will not put myself in such a humiliating situation again.


As Tamara says, “it would make sense to tell people straight away (about your hearing loss), but it can be tricky to slip such a sensitive issue into fresh conversation …” So do I tell people  I have a hearing loss BEFORE we start talking, or wait until AFTER I have trouble hearing them? In other words, which choice maintains a smooth flow of conversation?


I tend to wait to see if I have a problem, but then it can be a little awkward. Whenever you tell people you have a hearing loss, it can lead to an interruption in the flow of conversation. But if you can’t understand what they’re saying, it needs to be said, you either speak up – or turn into a ditz.


We all know we  can learn from our past mistakes. But it seems like it’s a lesson we have to learn, and learn, and learn again. After forty years of progressive hearing loss, I still catch myself

“when do I tell them I can’t hear?” Or risk acting uninterested, distracted, or just plain ditzy.   I’ve decided to stop worrying about it  and pay more attention to my own “self-advocacy muscles".

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