There are some habits you develop from childhood that you can never break. Every evening I am a parrot of my dad as I dutifully turn off lights in empty rooms. I can still hear his rhetorical call, “Hello? Is anyone in here? No? Then why is the light on?”
As I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed that many of my positive habits come from growing up with a hard-of-hearing parent. I look at people when I talk to them. I enunciate. But it drives me crazy when everyone else doesn’t automatically know to do these things.
The title “Growing Up with a Hearing Aid User” is problematic because that description covers those who are deaf, only partially deaf, those who recently acquired hearing loss, and those who have had lifelong hearing loss. Children of deaf parents have a much different experience than children of hearing parents. And what if the hearing-aid user is not a parent, but a sibling? My title is far too vague.
So here you have it—the Internet’s most niche list: signs you grew up with a lip-reading, hearing-aid-wearing parent who is not completely deaf. Or, things my siblings, cousins, and I have in common.
1. You can’t watch movies or television without subtitles, no matter the language.
“No, we can’t get rid of the little words. How will I know when the leaves are rustling?”
2. You would never walk away while talking to someone.
“Please look at me so I can hear you.”
3. You get disproportionately frustrated when someone refuses to repeat themselves.
“Don’t just say ‘nevermind’. Do you know how rude that word is?”
4. You’re a stickler about enunciation.
“Mumbling is even ruder!”
5. You watch professional sports for the entertainment value in lip reading.
“Did you SEE THAT? No, not the play, the coach’s reaction.”
6. You sign or pantomime in noisy environments and wonder why everyone else doesn’t understand what you’re getting at.
“Toilet, I’m going to the toilet!”
7. Why anyone wouldn’t want to sit front and center in classes and church services is beyond you.
“If I can’t see them, I can’t hear them!”
8. You take superb care of your teeth.
“Did you brush this morning?”
“Dad, stop looking at my mouth!”
9. You turn on or off lights to get someone’s attention.
“What on earth–?”
“I heard a strange noise outside.”
— guest post by Amanda