The Important Role Your Friends and Family Play

February 12, 2018.  Very few of us who are hard of hearing are completely on our own.  We have family, friends, and coworkers who help us understand what is being said.  There are times of frustration for them as well when we either don’t hear what is being said or misunderstand what is being said.

We’ve all been in the situation of saying “What did you say?”, “Pardon me?  I didn’t catch that” and hoped that whoever was trying to communicate with us would help us out, and not say the dreaded phrase “Never mind, it wasn’t important”.   Or, even worse, sigh in resignation and roll their eyes.  Patience and a sense of humour is important in these relationships!

How many of you have spouses (it’s usually the spouses!) who complain “the TV is too loud”. I only know when my husband, who seems to have the hearing of a bat, is watching TV if I happen to be in the same room.  Otherwise, it’s very rare for me to hear the sound.  Poor man doesn’t get the same experience if I watch a program!

When I told my husband about this blog entry, he said to make sure I mentioned the number of times he’s made a remark and I’ve misunderstood or misinterpreted what he said.  Easily done, with his quiet voice, is my defence!

The other day I was at an annual art class for snowbirds and had to sit right up front so I could hear the instructor.  The same instructor has seen me for several years and remembered that I was hard of hearing.  She made sure to look at me (and therefore the rest of the group) directly when she gave her instructions, rather than speaking with her back to us while she demonstrated what we were supposed to do.  What a gift that simple courtesy was!  No need for me to ask what she said!  No confusion about what I needed to do!

The supportive role that our friends and families play can’t be overstated.  One man, whose 81 year old wife lost her hearing 45 years earlier during pregnancy, commented on his frustration….AFTER she had received a cochlear implant and could hear again.  He noted that the partner of anyone with hearing loss would understand that during their long marriage of 58 years there had been plenty of frustrations for both because his wife couldn’t hear him. “It causes so many problems,” he said. “Misunderstandings and arguments.”   (Read the article at

A recent MED-EL blog entry addressed the issue of supportive partners, outlining ‘8 qualities that your rehabilitative partner should have’ following hearing implant surgery. (Read the blog entry at

What do you think are your top ten qualities for a supportive family member or friend? Do you have a story or tip about hearing loss issues that are important to you? Comments can be made on this blog, or you can email us at

Next Chapter meeting: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at North Tryon Presbyterian Church

© Daria Valkenburg