Folks Just Don't Understand Hearing Loss!

Mrs SpudGunner and I recently celebrated our 32nd anniversary.:cupid:

She’s my sweetheart, and has supported me through thick and thin, but she still has trouble getting her mind around the fact that hearing aids are just that - they help, but they don’t cure. And fitting them isn’t like going for a pair of spectacles.

Even though I LOVE my More3s, I still hear only 57% of what she does. The guesswork that goes into deciphering the other 43% is a fertile land for misunderstandings.

I’m certain that I am not alone: so I’m starting this topic so we can put together a collection of little anecdotes to help people with whom we have contact to understand.

Please … no rants about how ignorant people are and how much you have been slighted in the past (a temptation, for sure).

This is about little stories that shed light on dark corner, for our loved ones and friends to read…


This is sooooo true!
We HOH are pretty good at filling in the blanks, but not always.

A few years ago my wife was talking about something…the sentence included the phrase “wrapped in satin”.
My response with an odd look on my face was “rat infested?”
She still talks about that.


I’ll just add a story that to me demonstrates that even for people with good hearing, there is plenty of room for misunderstanding. We hear what we expect to hear. Just yesterday I was hiking with my wife and son. I mentioned something about the song of the MeadowLark. My son was "Huh? What’s a song got to do with MetalMark (the name of our climbing gym) We had a good laugh.

I’m also reminded of a song lyric my wife misunderstood. The lyrics really were “multitude of men” which she turned into something like “multidunivent”
Mondegreens (look it up if it’s not a familiar term) from song lyrics are famous (or infamous). People with normal hearing misunderstand plenty. It’s just so much worse for us hearing impaired folks. Hearing just isn’t the ears–there’s a lot of brainwork involved.


:joy:: @Raudrive: Someone set fire to a fishing boat during a protest about new fishing regulations. News said that the “RCMP Tactical Squad” had been deployed.

I heard “RCMP Testicle Squad”!

Same … :expressionless:


So very very true. And it can be worse due to a few that aids do help the most. I have a friend with a mild to moderate hearing loss that can’t accept that aids don’t completely cure my hearing loss.


I think that - if your friend could be tested with his aids in - he’d discover that he still can’t hear tones that fall in his “dead zones” (assuming he has some).

[I’m rather nonplussed by the fact that your friend would question your word on your hearing acuity with aids.]

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Chuck, there seems to be a prevailing myth that hearing aids correct audition in the same way as spectacles correct vision. WE know that our devices don’t CORRECT - they merely COMPENSATE.

Our devices can’t change the fact that parts of our hearing apparatus are DEAD, and cannot be resuscitated by bombarding the eardrums with infinite gain.

So … to understand speech is a task that - for us - is like trying to finish a Paint-by-Number whose numbers are partially worn off. We use context, familiarity with the subject, and our own (biased) expectations of the unknown colour that fits, in the absence of the original (missing) numbers on the tableau.

Sometimes it works, and sometimes it don’t!


It’s the running joke in our household. If something I just heard doesn’t make a lot of sense then I repeat back what I thought I heard. Hilarity ensues.
And it’s not plays on words.


@z10user2: Got any examples that you can share? (Anything that might help others to understand what is involved for us, as we try to cope with our individual hearing losses?)

'Fraid not. It’s not something I remember. It gets a laugh and then things are repeated and life goes on.

I often explain my hearing as missing the noun or subject. I got most of the sentence, but I missed the point. I’ll even sometimes just try to ask for that word so that they’re not having to repeat the whole thing. I operate kinda black and white…not particularly good at interpreting context. But even then it could be uncertain.


I’ll add another funny story. Our daughter who was vacationing was with us after three years in college said “I have a mentee” (meaning a person she was mentoring). In astonishment I said “You have a monkey”!? We all had a good laugh after she corrected me!


Someone on here, some time back, said the audiologist he saw was able to set things up and let the spouse here the way he hears – without hearing aids. I wish more audis could and would do that.


To some extent, even perfectly hearing folks can and do lip read, only about 30% of oral language is easily distinguishable on the lips, so 70% is guesswork and is totally dependent upon what contextual information you have, we will all look for extra visual clues, mime can throw you back on track very quickly, for instance the word “Baby” is extremely difficult to see on someone’s lips, try it with a friend or spouse, lip the words without voice and ask them what you said, they will find it very difficult, now cross your arms and swing them as if you were holding a Baby, and lip it again without voice and most will get it almost immediately… Cheers Kev :wink:


I am in full agreement. This issue is acerbated by the hearing aid sales pitches that “properly fitted hearing aids can produce hearing superior to normal hearing”. The outfit that sold me my ReSound aids makes this preposterous claim. I can no longer get by without my hearing aids, but they sure didn’t do for my hearing what cataract surgery did for my eyes. In fact, I could more easily go without glasses than my hearing aids. Do I have normal hearing? Absolutely not. But the aids are essential to my daily life, and I am satisfied with them, particularly in light of the myriad of smart phone and Bluetooth connective capability.


My experience exactly!

I have been married 50 years. My wife is a very experienced Life Skills teacher with a couple of graduate degrees. She is so wonderful with her students.

However, she gets frustrated with my poor hearing. Just the other night she exclaimed that she gets so tired of repeating herself.

I tried to explain to her that it is very difficult for me to understand what others are saying if I am not very close and can see their face. I get cues that help me decipher what she (and others) are saying.

Once she has to repeat things, she gets louder but also angry sounding. :frowning:

Imagine how things are when others have to wear the magic masks!


@jlgreer1: i’d just ask your wife -“Would you puh-LEEZ stop MUMBLING?” :exploding_head::face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

[Please post something from the emerg department to tell us how this works for you!]

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Welcome to the club. My wife of 51 years also thinks my hearing aids are a cure-all just because when I got the newest ones I said I could understand her words better. (she has lung disease and sometimes pants and swallows words when she has been moving about too much.)

I had some anomalies adjusted out of the units and now, nearly two years later, she blames the adjustments for me having difficulty understanding her if there is a second and competing audio source in the room like the TV. She doesn’t grasp that there is a difference between hearing and understanding, or that a competing source can make it hard for me. For her, it’s all attributable to making adjustments after that first day! Arghhh.

Good luck.


This was the hardest thing for my wife to understand. A typical occurrence when I first got the aids was that she would say something at low volume facing away from me and when I asked her to repeat she would turn to directly face me and raise her voice significantly… OWIE!!!

Now she understands it’s not primarily a volume issue (with the HAs that is) but a combination of volume, clear enunciation, and my ability to see her speak. Especially in any kind of complex hearing environment

As an aside, I never realized how much I relied on lipreading before everyone put on a mask!


Yes Parishd, tis not only our spouses or friends whom are oblivious or ignorant about hearing loss, I find some Doctors, Physicians, Consultants and Nurses can be totally insensitive to HOH and their needs, it appears to to me that some of those folks whom were endowed with more than their fair share of brain cells, also lack any common sense in probably equal measure? I was recently in hospital with Sepsis for the second time, and due to face masks and full face visors, my communication skills were severely challenged, and no amount of telling these professionals “I can’t understand you” or “I have no idea what you are saying to me”, It didn’t make a blind bit of difference, most but not all carried on regardless, and left me oblivious to what was being said, twas a nightmare! The odd Doctor or nurse would stand back and remove their facial coverings, these kind souls were a blessing and much restored my faith in human nature… Cheers Kev :wink:


I recently encountered this going in for some tests. The nurse checking me in made no effort to face me or speak up despite my asking her to repeat herself several times while pointing at my HAs and telling her I was HoH. Finally, some kind soul in the back of the waiting room, I’m assuming ‘kind’ as opposed to simply fed up with the ludicrously extended conversation …lol…, basically shouted what I had just asked the nurse to repeat. Then she at least altered her behavior, although I doubt it was because of her previous insensitivity. She was likely more concerned that the 15 people in the waiting room were now acutely aware of it and one might register a complaint.