I have been feeling off lately. Probably because it is 70 degrees. In October. In case I wasn't clear about that earlier. But really. Off.
After a conversation with someone and reading (e's post about how people respond to hearing loss, I feel compelled to chime in.
I spent most of my life blaming other people for the fact that I was hard of hearing, basically. If I was left out, it was all their fault. Or if I couldn't keep up with the conversation, not my responsibility. Feeling lonely was their doing, not mine.
But in the last few months especially, I really feel the Lord has given me a different perspective on things, including how I relate to people about my hearing loss. I realized that it was unfair of me to hold them accountable if I had not spoken up and shared that part of my life with them. How can I get mad about being excluded if I never told someone that I felt that way? How is it anyone else's responsibility to assuage my loneliness if I didn't tell them I could use a friend? And how can I blame everyone else for talking at lightning speed if I never asked them to slow down?
Yes, sometimes people respond to hearing loss rudely. Other times, they are just silly. But all of the time, they just don't know any better. Is it their fault for not knowing? Or my fault for not teaching?
Hearing loss is my world, but it is not everyone else's world. Most people that I interact with regularly do not deal with it the same way I do. They don't wear hearing aids. They aren't on a first-name basis with their audiologist. They probably don't even have an audiologist. Their sign language is rudimentary and they are shocked! stunned! amazed! at the idea of speech reading. Captions and subtitles are optional for them, not mandatory. Hearing loss is not their world, so how can I hold it against them if they don't respond the way I wish they would?
But that's not to say that I'm on board with giving everyone a free pass. Just because hearing loss may not be a part of someone's world doesn't mean that they can ignore it. And it's hard not to feel like maybe the hearing aids scare people off sometimes. But something else that the last few months have taught me is that people's unwillingness is not always related to my hearing loss. Sometimes it is them. They are shy. Or they build walls. Or they are just busy. Or sometimes, even, the problems is me, doing the exact same things. So I understand now that my hearing aids aren't always the things keeping me from building the relationships that I'd like to build.
Maybe I need to examine myself first and see where I've gone wrong before I go around casting blame and breeding frustration.