Trivial questions About Hearing Loss

Gael Hannan
August 9, 2022

Don’t you just hate the “entertaining” clickbait that exists solely to gather our personal information and sell questionable products? 

You won’t believe what this big star looks like now!

Drink this every day for a week and you’ll have the flattest belly in town!

And there’s the hearing loss and tinnitus clickbait:

            One pill a day will stop that ringing in your ears forever!

            Hear whispering across the room! the $69.95 device everyone’s talking about!

But some people post real provocative questions just to get a conversation going. For people with hearing loss, it might be a lose-lose question like what would you rather lose, your hearing or your eyesight?  Or this one that’s guaranteed to whip up a storm: What’s the right name to call ourselves? Deaf? Hard of hearing? Hearing impaired? A thousand of us can’t resist—we click and jump into the conversation with our fists up.

Let’s lighten things up with some goofy questions to take our mind off the serious stuff of the world. Note: My answers are mine alone and may be widely and wildly different from yours.

If you had to completely lose your hearing in one ear, which ear would you pick?   IF I still had natural hearing in both ears, but had to give up one ear’s worth, I’d choose the right side. For the simple reason that I look better from the left, so I’d want people to speak to that ear. Oh, hang on! Duh, I AM completely deaf in that ear, and I use a cochlear implant.

If you had to give up hearing 2 speech sounds, what would they be?  The S sound: I like it but don’t always hear it and there are many ways to replace it in speech. In his essay ‘Me Talk Pretty One Day’, humorist David Sedaris writes about avoiding the use of ‘S’ because he lisped and didn’t want to take speech lessons. Instead of answering ‘yes’, he would say ‘correct’. ‘Rivers’ became ‘a river or two’. I would also give up ‘TH’ because even with my devices, it’s almost impossible to hear. Friends could replace it with D, an adequate stand-in.  “Den, Gael, after da show, we’ll go to da bar.”

Back to the would-you-rather-lose-your-hearing-or-eyesight questionWhy does this keep coming up!? As a person who depends on eyesight to help me hear, i.e., through speechreading, thinking about this makes my stomach hurt. I know that Helen Keller said blindness cuts you off from things and hearing loss cuts you off from people, but neither she nor I had a choice in the matter. Let’s try something more frivolous. Would you rather lose your hearing or your ability to put eyeliner on straight? Or to sing happy birthday on a single burp? Or know how to use lemongrass in a recipe? For me it’s a tie between eyeliner and the lemongrass.   

If you could wear your hearing devices anywhere on your body, besides your head, where would it be? Good question! I can’t decide between wearing them in a nose ring or my bra.

For people living with tinnitus: if an app could mask your head sound with a food sound, what would it be? Hmm, how about popcorn popping, or the delicious crunchiness of potato chips? Oh wait, those sounds, if heard constantly and loudly, would be just as bad as the tinnitus. Let’s forget this question.

Is there a sound you’ve lost that you’d like to have back?  I’d like to understand someone whispering in my ear, although I can’t remember if I was ever able to do that. Still, I’d like that sound-gift, as long as the whisperer isn’t one of those people who spits while speaking.

 OK, let’s ask it (she sighs). What should people who are deaf, have hearing loss, are hard of hearing, or hearing-impaired, or a HoH, or Deaf or a deafie call themselves? Whatever they want, and you should, too. Because. It. Doesn’t. Matter. 

I hope you answered these trivial questions lightheartedly, if not honestly. Now let’s get back to the important stuff, like shedding any shame associated with hearing loss and improving our communication skills. Those things, we have control over.

Note: This post was lightly adapted from my original article, “Stupid Hearing Loss Questions to Ask Yourself (You Won’t Believe Your Answers!)”, posted march 27th, 2017.


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  1. Excellent! I loved the bit about replacing TH with DA. Some people already replace some s sounds. I have an adult friend who never says “said,” but instead “she goes.”

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