Currently viewing Vol. 4 • Issue 3 • 2017

Stupid Hearing Loss Questions to Ask Yourself. You Won’t Believe Your Answers!

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The Way I Hear It

Gael Hannan (The Way I Hear It) is a hard of hearing advocate that understands both sides of the fence between the consumer and the hearing health care professional. Gael’s columns are humorous, sometimes cutting, but always constructive and to the point.


On social media, it’s sometimes tough to tell the difference between clickbait and real posts. Clickbait are the teasing posts that tempt to open a site that offers up advertising along with the cheesy stories. She opened her front door, and what happened next—I couldn’t stop laughing!

Or they secretly gather information by urging you reply. “Type yes and share if you agree” or “Can I get an amen?”

But some people throw out ‘provocative’ questions just to get conversations going. For people with hearing loss, it might be a lose-lose question like what would you rather lose, your hearing or your eyesight? Or, the question that always whips up a storm: What’s the right name to call ourselves? Deaf? Hard of hearing? Hearing impaired? And then a thousand of us can’t resist—we jump in the conversation with our fists up.

So, today, let’s lighten up a bit. Let’s consider some goofy questions to take our mind off the serious stuff that’s going on out there in the world. I’ll give my answers to these quirky queries and I’m sure yours will be widely and wildly different.


  1. If you had to lose your hearing in one ear, which ear would you pick?
    IF I still had natural hearing in both ears, but had to give up one, I’d choose the right side. For the simple reason that I look better from the left, so of course I’d want people to speak to that ear.
  2. If you had to give up hearing 2 speech sounds, what would they be?
    I really like the S sound although I don’t always hear it. But there are different ways to replace an S sound. In his story “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” humorist David Sedaris writes about trying to avoid using the “s” because he lisped and didn’t want to take speech lessons. Instead of yes, he would answer correct; ‘rivers became a river or two'. I would also give up ‘th’ because it’s almost impossible to hear. Friends could replace it with ‘d’ which is an adequate stand-in. Den, after da show, we’ll go to da bar.
  3. Back to the would-you-rather-lose-your-hearing-or-eyesight issue.
    I won’t even answer this one. As a person who depends on my eyesight to help me hear, i.e. through speechreading, the thought of losing my sight makes my stomach hurt. I know that Helen Keller said blindness cuts you off from things and hearing loss cuts you off from people, so I’m assuming that if she had a choice, she would like to be able to hear. But let’s try some easier stuff. Would you rather lose your hearing or your sense of humor? Or your ability to put eyeliner on straight? Now that’s something I can answer; in a heartbeat, I’d give up the steady eyeliner hand.
  4. If you could wear your hearing aids anywhere on your body, where would it be?
  5. I’ve been thinking about this and I can’t decide between in a nose ring or my bra.

  6. For people who live with tinnitus: Various tinnitus apps use white noise and pleasant sounds such as ocean waves to mask the whooshing, roaring, dingety-dinging, bell-clanging and whatnot sounds of tinnitus. If you could mask your bad sound with a food sound, what would it be? Popcorn popping, bacon frying... oh hang on, those sounds would be just as bad as the tinnitus, if you heard them constantly and loudly in your head. Forget this question.
  7. Is there a sound you’ve lost that you’d like to have back?
    I’d like to understand someone whispering in my ear, although I can’t remember if I ever could. Still, that’s a sound-gift I’d love.
  8. OK, let’s ask it (she sighs). What should people who are deaf, have hearing loss, are hard of hearing, or hearing-impaired, or a HoH, or Deaf or a deafie call themselves?
    Whatever they want, and you should, too, even if you refer to yourself differently. Because it doesn’t matter!
  9. That’s it for frivolous, rhetorical and silly questions for this week. Time to concentrate on the important stuff—like taking care of the hearing we’ve got and doing whatever it takes to communicate better.

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    About the author

    Gael Hannan

    Gael Hannan is a hearing health advocate, author and speaker with profound hearing loss. She is proudly bimodal. Her second book, Hear & Beyond: How To Live Skillfully With Hearing Loss, written with Shari Eberts, is due out in May 2022.