Why would a deaf person wear hearing aids (or perhaps cochlear implants)? Surely if we can’t hear, then hearing aids are pointless, right?
Not so much.
This is amongst one of the most popular question I see online, and even though the question may seem obvious to some people, it’s unfair to assume that everyone will and should know the answer.
In this post, I have listed eight reasons why deaf people wear hearing aids.
You can watch the video below…
…listen to the podcast…
…or read the transcript.
Why would deaf person wear hearing aids if they can’t hear? If you can’t hear and you were hearing aids, it’s not going to work.
So why would you wear hearing aids to kind of hear, but you’re deaf? So why should you wear hidden and on and on?
You get the point. This one of the many questions that I’ve seen asked online. I haven’t been asked this question, but it seemed to be quite a common question online.
So I just thought, “Why not answer it?”
It might also applies to who wears cochlear implant, but because I don’t have a direct experience of that, don’t take it to heart. So if you want to ask that question might be better off asking a person who has a cochlear implant.
When you search online, you tend to find certain resources answering question, but when I typed the question of why deaf people wear hearing aids, or what’s the point of them wearing hit if you can’t hear it; something along that line, there is a forum and that question is asked, and it’s just quite amusing at times.
And even right now I’m looking at the answer. Some people say “well, obviously it helps them, otherwise they wouldn’t bother using them. Duh!”
And then people say, “is it wrong to laugh at this?”
Or, you know, “should we mock this person?”
You know, “he’s moronic, but brilliant”.
Okay, I get it. It’s easy to laugh and mock at it may be, from my perspective, because it seems so obvious, but let’s just clarify it, let’s just clear the air.
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1. To hear just a little bit better
Let’s get straight into the first reason why people were hearing aids if they are deaf, and obviously, to hear it better.
Now, deafness is a spectrum. It’s not just one blanket description and that’s it. There are different levels. There are different levels of hearing capability from the mild to the profound and everything in between, different levels. So for certain people hearing aids can help them in a certain way.
I should clarify knock hearing aid is not going to make it “normal” hearing. It’s just a way to make it a little bit better for them to hear certain things. And that’s fine. If they want that then that’s up to them.
For some people it might be to make it a bit easier to hear certain sound for others it might be to move their level of hearing from moderate to mild, or maybe a bit higher than that; whatever it is, everyone is different. Deafness is a spectrum. There are different levels.
So obviously, the main reason for wearing hearing it is to hear just that little bit better.
2. It’s part of their identity
Number two might be weird for some people: It’s part of who they are. It’s part of their identity. It’s part of them. And that might be hard to understand. But for some people, it’s just the way it works.
Hearing aids are part of their accessory, part of the identity, whatever it is, it’s part of who they are.
So that’s fair enough, I think.
3. It’s comfortable to wear
Somewhat linked to that identity part is that it feels comfortable for them. It’s like a normal thing for them to wear, like jewellery, or watches or anything around that. It’s just a normal thing to wear.
And if you add all the other benefits on top of it, then why not wear it? It benefits them and it’s comfortable.
4. Combine it with other visual clues
Number four is to combine it with all the other visual clues when we need to understand other people. So what I mean by that is, if you imagine a number of different tools to listen to other people. And when I say listen, it’s not always to listen with the ear, sometimes listen to with your eyes.
So for example, you look at their lips and you lip read, or maybe their body language, and then you combine all of those jigsaws together.
Combine that with what you can hear, and maybe you can make it out because if you can’t hear everything, then maybe you can pick up a certain sound and pick up a certain thing that you can lip read and then the context, and then the body language; all of these things together are a combined set of tools and method that we use to understand other people.
And there are times where we would be wearing hearing to help us with that. Again, I’m not saying going to be 100% perfect, but they’re all clues, they all play a part and they all support each other.
So that’s why sometimes people need hearing you to help with that as well.
5. Make it more obvious for other people
Number five is to make it obvious, to make it more visible, to make other people more aware.
Because obviously, deafness is invisible. It’s not something that is immediately obvious to people, and that can be a bad thing.
So maybe by wearing the hearing aids, especially if they are of different color, maybe slightly brighter color, then maybe it just makes it more easier for other people to get a heads up, like an FYI, “if you’re speaking to me, I’ve got hearing aids on, just so you’re aware.”
So it’s like a subtle nudge for some people and then from there, the hope is that when you communicate with deaf people, then you are aware of certain situation like, you know, don’t be in a noisy environment or make sure you’re in well-lit room; all these other things I’ve talked about it in a separate place. I’ve talked about communicating with deaf people and you should check out the resources as well.
But it does help to make other people more aware because it’s not that obvious for everyone.
6. Give them a sense of environmental awareness
Number six is to give them that environmental awareness and also allows them to give them a sense of security, sense of safety, and sense of being.
What I mean by that is when you go out and you go across the road, you’re around noisy environments or around any situation where you feel like you need to be aware of the sounds around you, having that is quite good for a lot of people because it gives them a sense of awareness of what’s going on around them.
So if there are loud, noises, then the instinct thing is to react to it. Whether you have to be aware of it or whether you have to be careful that an oncoming traffic or a siren; all these things.
For a lot of people, it gives them a sense of security and safety, because it just makes them have extra environmental awareness that they would not be able to have otherwise.
And I do hear sometimes for women who are deaf, it gives them that extra security, a sense of awareness, when they are walking somewhere. And again, just the little thing that helps them a lot.
So for that reason alone, I think it’s a valid reason for deaf people to wear hearing aids just to pick up those important sounds.
7. Possibly pressured to wear their hearing peers
Number seven is that not a lot of people aren’t aware of it, but they are probably pressured by, what we’ll call “hearing people” if you’d like. And there are people in the world who would pressure deaf people to wear hearing aids and it could be anybody from parents, to teachers to speech therapists.
All of these people, they may feel like they have to pressure the people to wear hearing aids because it makes them more comfortable and they assume that their lives would be better.
And because of that, there are stories where they feel heavily pressured, and they feel really frustrated and annoyed. And it kind of traumatised some people to the extent where they feel like they don’t want to wear it anymore.
But maybe sometimes they do wear it. Again, everyone is different. But some people feel pressured by wearing it. And then they end up wearing it. And then they get used to eventually others, they get traumatised because it just doesn’t work for them, whatever.
So just be aware of that is sometimes not because they want to, maybe they feel like they have to, and not always the right way of doing it and I’ve been told “you must, you must, you must (wear hearing aids) all the time”.
It’s not the right way of doing it.
I think there are other ways of communicating across the benefits of it in a better way, not just pressured and forced, “you have to do this”.
Without getting too political as well, some times it’s just to make the hearing people feel better so that they feel like they should adapt to the hearing word and not vice versa. Ah, it’s another story I might talk about that another time, but again, just something for you to be aware of.
8. Combine everything above
And then finally, number eight, combine everything I’ve mentioned, all of the above.
It could be one of them, it could be multiple of these, it could be all of them. Whatever it is, a deaf person might be wearing hearing aids because of all of these suggestions.
And they might prefer to combine one with the other, it makes him feel more comfortable, it makes it easier for them to communicate, it makes them more secure was able to be with people around them, whatever it just all of these combined, and it might be suitable for that person.
So just be aware of that; it’s something that is suitable for them. If it doesn’t really make sense to you, then watch the video again or listen to the podcast again, or just check out my website. Go through all of it again.
This is why I talk about this, it’s just to make you more aware.
Even from my own personal experience. I’ve got a love/hate relationship with hearing aids. I’ve done a video about it below. You can check that out and, again, just a personal thing that everyone’s different.
And I tend to not where it when I can. It’s just for my own personal reasons. Even at home, I don’t work often, outside I wear it as much as I can.
But then I’ve been told to wear all the time and you sense that pressure and it’s not ideal. And it just the way I work like just how other people, they have their own thing as well. So that’s it; everyone is different.
An important thing I should point out though that it’s not up to you that we should wear them. It’s up to us, it needs to work for us. And this is where I talked about earlier about how the pressure comes in. People feel like pressuring deaf people to wear it, because it makes it easy for the hearing people to listen, to communicate with them, to hear them, to all these things.
But it’s not up to us to make it work for you. It should be both ways. If anything, you should be helping us more in certain situations because we are the marginalised group. But it should be both ways. We should both try to make it work.
It’s my responsibility to make you aware, it’s my responsibility to tell you what I need, granted. But at the same time, I have to do my bit and you have to do your bit as well. But don’t expect me to do everything for you by saying “wear your hearing aids”. That’s not how it works, so be aware of that when you think about people wearing hearing aids, then they think “that it, it’s done”.
And if they’re not wearing hearing aids, then you should not feel like you should criticise them for not doing that. It’s up to them. It’s up to them what they want to do, and just respect that.
And don’t forget as well, if a person weren’t hearing it does not make it normal. It doesn’t make it back to normal hearing like you have.
It’s a tool it’s there to help us. Hearing aids; the key word is “aids” us It doesn’t cure it for us, that’s the important point to make.
So again, this is why you should accommodate as much as you can, not just because okay, that person is wearing hearing aids and it’s done. There’s a lot more to it than that.
I hope that makes sense. Let me know what you think. Let me know If you have any other questions, and if you are a person who were hearing aids, am I missing anything else? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from everyone, from what you think.
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