Due to how I was brought up and the fact that my deafness is not as severe as others, I haven’t surrounded myself with those who are going through the same thing.
And as for being part of the Deaf community, well I’m working on it.
Because of that, it means that most of the people I interact with are of perfect or near-perfect hearing.
It also means that they are not used to what I’m experiencing.
So I have put together a video on 16 things I would like my hearing friends (and everyone else) to know.
What’s up, everyone? I am Ahmed Khalifa, and as part of Deaf Awareness Week, I thought I’m going to do a series of videos about my hard of hearing problems, and I’m going to start off with this delightful video. 16 things I wish my hearing friends would know.
The reason I thought I’d do this because I thought, one, be a bit of fun, and two, just do it to raise awareness because not everyone knows that I wear these all the time.
So I just thought I’d do this fun video to educate you and to help you, anytime you get a chance to meet me.
1. Good lighting and quiet environment please
Number one, you know what would be really awesome? If we could meet somewhere that had good lighting and not too noisy. Because the thing is, when we’re having a chat, I need to see your face, I need to see your lips so I can lip read you.
And also, if it’s not too noisy, that’d be awesome, because then I can actually get an idea of what you’re saying at the very least.
So, it’d be great if we meet up and we’re having a chat over a cup of coffee, let’s meet up with somewhere which has good lighting, not too noisy, and you know, also quite pretty as well, that’d be cool.
2. Sometimes, I don’t know what you are saying
Number two, I don’t always know what you are saying.
Sometimes I get the gist, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I pretend to know what you’re saying. Sometimes, I change topic to avoid embarrassment of not knowing at all.
It’s a little bit embarrassing.
The thing is, it is just how my brain os working so hard to understand what you are saying, and if I don’t know what you are saying, I’m just doing it anyway. I might know what you’re saying, I might not.
I might change the topic, I might not. But, it doesn’t meant that I don’t want to talk to you. It just, I’m trying really hard, so it’s a bit hard.
3. My hearing is not a game
Number three, guess what? My hearing is not a game. You know how hearing people say, “Hahaha, can you hear me right now? Because you can’t, you know, see my lips.” And stuff like that.
Hahaha, that’s really…funny.
How would you like it if I play a game with you and say “Hahaha, can you see me right now? Can you? Can you?” It’s not funny then.
So you know, just to let you know, it’s not a game. It’s not that funny either, so don’t do it.
4. Don’t say “but you can hear me, right?”
Number four, if I can’t hear you, and I told you I can’t hear you, and you tell your hearing friend, “But you can hear me, right?” What’s the point of that? That’s not cool. How am I supposed to know? It’s not my fault.
So, by saying that to that person, you’re actually not making me feel very good about myself. And I don’t like that, at all.
So if that’s what you’re thinking, don’t say it. I’m telling you, don’t say it.
5. Don’t say “I wish I was deaf”
Here’s a fun one as number five. Don’t also say “I wish I was deaf.” Because trust me, you don’t.
I’m talking about all these people who say, “Oh, my kids are so noisy, I wish I’m deaf.” “Oh, I’m working in a noisy office or environment. I wish I was deaf.”
No you don’t. Stop saying that.
Because let me tell you straight, you don’t wish you’re deaf, because if you are happy with isolating yourself from the rest of the world, and you can’t hear anything, well, you have a bit of a surprise coming, if that’s what you wish for.
But, if you want to say, “Oh, I wish I could turn the volume down, or I can press the mute button and turn it back on,” then that’s okay.
But don’t ever say “I wish I was deaf.”
6. Technology is awesome!
Number six, you are allowed to use technology, and I’ll give you a few examples.
If we were outside, and we’re in a noisy environment, and I can’t hear you, and if you want to use your phone to write down a message and show it to me, you can do that. That’s okay.
Another example as well is if you want to have a video call, awesome, I’m okay with that. Just make sure that you have good internet connection so that we can hear each other clearly.
And also, you know, it’d be quite useful if you have your little webcam on as well, so that I can lip read you as well.
Because that would be so helpful, if you can do that for me.
7. Keep talking while I change my battery
Seven, pretty funny, because I’ve seen it happen.
So if for some reason, I’m taking off my hearing aids, and I need to change the battery, and y’know, I’m just doing my business right here, you can continue talking. I can still hear some stuff, you know. You don’t have to stop and watch me changing batteries.
You know, like I’m doing right now, change batteries. Keep talking. There you go. Oh.
Yes, you can keep talking. I can hear you fine without it. Oh yeah, I’m putting it on right now. I can hear you fine, I can still hear you fine. It’s okay. Done.
Keep talking if I’m changing batteries. It’s not that big a deal.
8. No phone calls in noisy environment
And just so you know, as number eight, if I’m in a noisy environment, and you call me on the phone, I’m not gonna answer the phone.
Sorry, it’s just the way it is.
Because the problem is, I struggle in noisy environments. And if you’re expecting me to have a proper conversation with you, over the phone, in a noisy environment, then you’re not going to get a very good impression at all. You’re not gonna get a good experience at all. Because it’s gonna be pretty crap.
And I’m telling ya, it’s gonna be crap. So just be patient with me because maybe A, I might be busy. But two, if I’m in somewhere noisy, like a public transport or a busy street, I might just not answer, but I’ll call you back, don’t worry. I’ll get back to you.
9. I didn’t mean to ignore you
Number nine, if I didn’t hear you, and if I didn’t listen to you, and if I ignored you, I didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean it at all. I actually do want to talk to you. I do want to have a conversation with you.
But sometimes, it’s just not possible. So if I happen to zone out for a second, or a few minutes, or ever, and I didn’t hear you, or I ignored you, I’m sorry, but I am trying my best.
Be patient with me, and I will get back to you. I will talk to you, and I will focus again. Just you know, hang in there.
10. Your full attention please
10 is fun. It’d be awesome if I can have your full attention, because that would be absolutely fabulous. Because if I can see your face, and you’re speaking clearly, and it’s a good environment, that’d be cool.
But, if I can’t see your face, and you’re looking downwards, and you’re kind of just, you know, mumbling away, and just look like that, how is that going to help anyone? Especially me? It’s not going to help me at all.
So, just be aware, full attention. That would be awesome.
11. There are so many different types of hearing loss
There’s one thing you should know at number 11. There are so many different type of hearing loss. Because for some people, one ear might be worse off than the other, like me.
My right ear is worse than my left ear. Just the way it works. For some people, they might not be able to hear certain pitch or certain tone or in certain environment, they can’t hear at all.
Or in certain kind of situation, where you have to sit in a noisy group environment, like I do, you just can’t hear anything at all. Just the way it works, but we’ll get there.
Don’t worry, we’ll get it.
12. It’s mentally exhausting to keep up
Number 12 is something that you’re not gonna be able to see at all, but sometimes I might tune out, because my brain is so tired by working in all drive, just to keep up, and just to understand what you are saying.
And that’s how it works for me, because my brain is working extra hard, overload, and it’s working so hard to make sure that we are keeping up with your conversation and focused on you, and that person said this, oh, missed a gap, oh maybe said that and then maybe there.
And then, oh god, let’s get back again. It’s just always working really really hard.
But eventually, I might get tired, so I’ma just tune out and then I guess, be alone, and just can’t even keep up anymore. That’s how it works, but you get used to it.
Don’t worry about it, because that doesn’t mean I’m gonna shut you out and I’m gonna ignore you. I just still want to have some fun, so that’d be awesome too.
13. I won’t/can’t hear you in another room
Here’s a cool one at number 13. If you are in another room, and you are shouting to me and you expect me to hear you, One, I’m not gonna hear you, and two, I’m not gonna bother hearing you.
– [My wife] Would you like a drink?
– What’s that?
– [My wife] Would you like a drink?
– See this is a problem, because if the person is in the other room, I’m not gonna be able to hear that person. But, if that person is in the same room, and is actually asking me a question, like so.
– [My wife] Would you like a drink?
– Oh that’d be lovely, thank you very much. That’d be awesome.
– [My wife] You’re welcome.
That’d be cool. Get it?
14. Louder is not always better
Number 14. That’s right. One thing you should know about that is that louder does not always mean it’s better for me.
What do I mean by that? Well, if I cannot hear you, and you think that you should shout, that doesn’t mean I’m gonna hear you better, because it depends on a lot of things.
It could be because of the tone of your voice.
It could the pitch, it could be the environment around you. It could be anything. There are so many factors to take into consideration.
But shouting is not going to help me at all. You know when you’re on holiday, and you think that the person who didn’t understand English you think that shouting slowly in that language means that they can hear you and understand you better, it doesn’t, trust me, it doesn’t.
But the same thing applies to people of hard of hearing and even deaf, shouting doesn’t always help.
15. No, I’m not cured with hearing aids
15, and we’re almost there. Guess what? Hearing aids does not mean I’m cured. Also guess what? Hearing aids does not mean I can hear exactly same way as you do. It’s just there to assist me and to help me.
Sometime it helps, sometime it doesn’t. And that’s why I don’t always wear it at the same time. And just so you know, cochlear implants, that’s not a solution for everyone. It doesn’t always work.
That’s one thing, and not everyone wants it either. But it’s just something for you to be aware of.
16. Group conversation is hard work
Number 16, the final one, is that group conversation is not that easy for me.
So imagine if we’re all in a big gathering, dinner parties, conference, that kind of environment, it’s quite tricky to keep up with everyone, especially when you need kind of like, that one-on-one kind of interaction.
And you can’t lip read 10 people, 50, 100 people at the same time. I’m pretty sure you can’t anyway.
If I can’t do that, then that’s okay. But it makes things a little bit easier for example, if I was sitting in the middle of a table, so that I have a full view of different people.
Or if I’m with a group of people, in the middle, and of course, in the right environment. That’d be helpful as well.
And that’s it! 16 things that I want my hearing friends to know about me.
Hope you enjoyed it, but don’t forget, I’ve got other videos lined up as part of Deaf Awareness Week as well, so hope you enjoyed it.
Hope you learned something. Let me know what you think in the comments down below. Also while you’re there, down below, click on the subscribe button. That’d be absolutely awesome. I’d really really appreciate it.
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