All of us at some point have experienced how people say ‘oh poor you with this hearing loss’. If we refer to the definition, hearing loss suggests that we lack of something. But hey, every coin has two sides, right? There has to be a list of benefits that we could present to ourselves and to everyone whoever pity us… that’s why we’ve decided to have a closer look at the second side of the coin and prove that being hard of hearing should put us right alongside Marvel superheroes!
- sleep like a baby:
- while your house is bombarded or there is a thunderstorm (Maria)
- in airplanes as noises don't disturb me (Camilla)
- when your roommate in dormitory organize party. After 6 months of these eventsI even learnt how to sleep with lights on… 'You can do it' 😂 (Tomasz)
- in a hostel near a busy railroad station. I’ve lost the connection train, such is life 🙄 (Andrei)
- when ghosts are lurking around your house, making weird noises!
- stay calm when people around you are screaming
I can switch of my hearing aids if someone is screaming or shouting in the hospital (which is difficult to deal with for many hearing people) and therefore be able to stay calm. It happens mainly if I am handling infants or crying toddlers and they're crying or if we have a very truly confused patient that shouts their lungs out and you need to be beside them until they calm down. (Camilla)
Once upon a time my plane went into really strong turbulences and was redirected from destination place. People were screaming, crying and praying… I was reading book, unaware that we’re about to die… (they told me what has happened later, after landing). Why we have to be so stressed? (Maria)
I can sit next to a crying baby on public transport and just turn HA/CI off (Anine)
- be an expert in reading body language
- which helps when meeting new people, helping patients, etc. (Camilla)
- which gives a better understanding of non-verbal cues, for example in the surgery room when the leading surgeon asks for a tool that make the same moves as his hands do. Or understandings how your questions affect a person by picking on their eye twitches/hand movements/etc. (Andrei)
- You are a lie detector, you feel more often than other people when somebody lies .(Karolina)
- be a better listener
Hearing people can take listening for granted, deaf people tend to listen with more intent out of necessity. Reading lips and sign language, understanding body language, or having to concentrate harder to pick up sounds can make you more attentive. This, in turn, can help you comprehend what is being said and respond with more thought. (Nina, quoting from https://www.verywellhealth.com/deaf-fun-glad-to-be-deaf-1046242 )
- focus on your work
When coworkers are talking, I just put of my hearing aids and enjoy the pure silence 😄 (Annet)
- easily ignore people you don’t want to hear, ignore annoying conversation naturally
Like, we give energy to what we want to hear. Hearing people gotta put energy in NOT hearing someone to ignore them 😅 (Annet)
- connect to different devices (listen to music or talk via phone without using headphones)
I think it’s pretty cool that we are some sort of cyborgs. Most hearing aids nowadays are able to connect to so many different devices and everything with Bluetooth. Isn’t that freaking cool??! (Annet)
- be involved more personally into communication
For me, when I became HoH, it was hard to adjust in the beginning. But once I accepted the hearing loss I realized that communication became so much more personal. You gotta put your full focus on the conversation and can’t do anything else. I see hearing people have conversations and texting, driving, doodling, whatever. They aren’t really listening while we actually are 😄 (Annet)
- concentrate for a long time
The effort of focusing on every conversation every day is a very good training to concentrate for a long time in general. Therefore I think HoH people can focus well. (Leonie)
It also helps when you’re doing meditation-you don’t hear distracting sounds. (Karolina)
- have better eyes!
We HoHs have better eyes (or should I say ‘ears’) for details since we are attentively listening/looking for any hint that helps us following conversations. (Leonie)
You’re incredibly observant! (Mác)
You notice first if someone has a mark or a hole on his/her clothes. (Karolina)
- be gifted with more empathy and understanding towards others with similar or other disabilities. Or maybe even more empathy in general? (Leonie)
- have a creative intuition (Mác)
… and be better in activities that demand aesthetic sense!
- be attentive all the time what’s going on around you (Mác)
When something is burning then I am the first person who feels that! You’re also the first person who smells if baby need a change of diapers… (Karolina)
- learn to strategize and adapt to changes (Lidia)
- gain great skill: speedreading (Lidia)
I personally ‘scan’ documents for the main ideas instead of reading it word for word (Andrei)
- be an expert in lipreading (and work for the police!)
You can feel like agent when you read from strangers’ lips. (Karolina)
I worked as a lipreader for the police. I am the only Polish lipreader in UK. I also do English lipreading. One of my colleagues who works are English lipreader, suggested me to police coordinator. I agreed and what normally happens, we get a CD with CC TV recording which is silent, and then we try to understand what was said. It is tough, not easy. (Lidia)
During World War II, Deaf people were used to read lips and to spy. For this reason, they were the type of people with disabilities who weren’t sent to concentration camps. (Sey)
You can read lips from afar. (Andrei). Especially while trying to communicate with your friend in a very loud, crowdy place, like bus.
You can use lipreading during oral exam in order to read the hints from other students in order to pass the exam. (Karolina)
- have a better vision in general
The visual area of brain is stronger in order to overcompensate hearing loss. You also see better in the dark and you pick up differences faster. (Andrei)
It is said that HoH can also have wider visual angle-does anyone know if it’s proven already?
- handle haters betterYou don’t hear the ‘boo’ and ‘you can do nothing’ yet you still accomplish things the haters said you cannot accomplish. (Andrei)
- get praised for sharing new songs/album/playlist that they liked/loved/found interesting. Sweet irony. (Andrei)
- create stronger friendship/relationship
We’re somewhat better at picking good friends and keeping them long-term.It’s just a thought, I am not sure if a fact. (Andrei)
In our case social interaction itself demands a lot of effort. So maybe in general we care more about relationship that we already created? That could help deepening your bond while trying to create something based in love and acceptance.
- save money
…thanks to not talking via phone! (Karolina)
- become assertive
…and tell about your needs (Karolina)
When booking a flight, it’ll ask if you have any accommodation requirements, check off the Deaf/Hard of Hearing box and in a lot of cases, you’ll get to board first. Further, the flight attendant may come to your seat and ensure you’re aware of the emergency procedures while onboard. It varies from airline to airline as far as accommodations are concerned, but there is some benefit to identifying yourself. Oh, did I mention, earlier access to the overhead bin to store your luggage? (Keegan)
- be in spotlight!
You have to be in the center of attention (when people need to be sure that you follow) and sometimes that's awesome. (Karolina)
- be remembered better
People will remember you better because of your deafness. So you don't have to repeat your name that often. And the professor remembers only you of 1000 students. (Karolina)
- always have the first topic in the small talk conversations.
About your hearing loss and when intelocutor's dog is deaf too. (Karolina)
- skip warning notification on your phone
You can laugh all time because of notifications on your phone that says you can lose your hearing and you have to turn the sound down. (Karolina)
- excuse yourself from talking via phone
When you are an introvert you have a good argument to not talk via phone. (Karolina)
- become stronger
… because you had to face so many adversities due to hearing loss and solve so many troubles. That means your survival instinct and adaptation is much better developed than in the case of average person. And yet you’re also more stubborn in your way to reach your target, because you know how much effort it costs you and that it’s important for you.
- laugh at ‘politically incorrect’ jokes or funny misunderstandings
HoH: Looking forward to hear from you!
Friend: …you mean that you don’t want to meet me anymore?
Friend: I will be like Arnold the Terminator soon!
HoH: Onion the Terminator, what is that?
Friend: I love you…
HoH: Huh? What did you say?
- truly feel the vibration of a music during the concert and therefore party hard! (Karolina)
- be a part of extraordinary HoH community:
- I have met a lot of amazing people and seen places I would never experienced unless I was a HOH (Camilla)
- having this community is pretty awesome! (Anine)
Looking at all points listed above we can say without a doubt that despite of adversities being hard of hearing makes us unique and bestows us with features that not everyone has. Let’s keep it in our minds and don’t hesitate to speak out loud the statement:
I AM HARD OF HEARING, WHAT IS YOUR SUPERPOWER?