Introducing my hearing

Conversation with new people goes both ways either I can follow them or I struggle. This depends on location, noise level, accent and amount of light. One thing that tends to make a difference is when the other person knows that I lipread. The other person makes a more conscious effort to face me when they speak and are more patient when I ask them to repeat. In turn I will be more relaxed without having to worry about chasing someone’s face.

A good example of the benefit of letting people know is back in school my teachers were briefed by teachers of the deaf about my hearing. Because of this my teachers faced me when I spoke to them one on one and I did not have any major problems.

Now my hearing aids are visible so it should be obvious that I am hard of hearing right? No from my experience not everyone knows and even if they do they might not know about lipreading. Best thing is to do is to assume they don’t know and it is my job to let them know.

Out of a life time habit I do not do this as much I would like. I tend not to say anything about it and just go with the flow. I am more likely to talk about it when I am struggling to follow the conversation. So whats the best way to introduce this? If I say that I am hard of hearing or I am deaf people do not know what to do with this information. What I found to work better is to say something like “I lipread” or “I lipread as I am hard of hearing” when I meet people for the first time.

If you think about it once it is out there you basically introduced the elephant to the room. This would give you more freedom to relax and express yourself.

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