Best of 2017: Stupid Hearing Loss Questions to Ask Yourself

In this final month of the year, we at Hearing Health Matters are posting what we consider to be our best and/or most popular articles of this and other years. I hope you’ll enjoy reading (or re-reading) this article of stupid hearing loss questions to ask yourself – you won’t believe your answers!



On social media, it’s sometimes tough to tell the difference between clickbait and real posts. Clickbait are the teasing posts that tempt us to clickand then immediately regret it. She opened her front door, and what happened next—I couldn’t stop laughing!

Clickbait also secretly gathers information about us when we reply . “Type yes and share if you agree” or “Can I get an amen?” 

But some people post real ‘provocative’ questions 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?  One question 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.

So, today, let’s lighten things up a bit with some goofy questions to take our mind off the serious stuff of the world. I’ll give my answers, which may be widely and wildly different from yours.


  1. If you had to 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 of course I’d want people to speak to that ear.


  1. 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 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.”


  1. Back to the would-you-rather-lose-your-hearing-or-eyesight questionI won’t even answer this one! 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. So let’s try something easier. Would you rather lose your hearing or your sense of humor? Or your ability to put eyeliner on straight?  In a heartbeat, I’d give up the steady eyeliner hand.


  1. If you could wear your hearing aids anywhere on your body, where would it be? Either in a nose ring or in my bra…I can’t decide. 


  1. For people who live with tinnitusVarious tinnitus apps use white noise and pleasant sounds such as ocean waves to mask the whooshing, roaring, dingety-dinging, bell-clanging and whatnot sounds of tinnitus. If you could mask your bad sound with a food sound, what would it be? Popcorn popping, bacon frying…oh hang on, those sounds would be just as bad as the tinnitus, if you heard them constantly and loudly in your head. Alrighty then, let’s forget this question.


  1. 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 could ever do that. Still, I’d like that sound-gift, as long as the whisperer isn’t one of those people who spits while speaking.


  1. 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, even if you refer to yourself differently. Because. It. Doesn’t. Matter. 


I hope you answered these questions honestly and to the best of your ability. But let’s move on from the frivolous, rhetorical and silly questions to concentrate on the important stuff—like taking care of the hearing we’ve got and improving our communication with hearing loss. Those things, we have control over.

About Gael Hannan

Gael Hannan is a writer, speaker and advocate on hearing loss issues. In addition to her weekly blog for, which has an international following, Gael wrote the acclaimed book "The Way I Hear It: A Life with Hearing Loss". She is regularly invited to present her uniquely humorous and insightful work to appreciative audiences around the world. Gael has received many awards for her work, which includes advocacy for a more inclusive society for people with hearing loss. She lives with her husband on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

1 Comment

  1. On # 7, Good question, as I hate “Hearing Impaired”. Most “Im” prefixed words have a VERY negative connotation, like improper, impractical, immaterial, impale, immodest, imprison, (now I’m on a roll) imprecise, imbecile, and our all time favorite, impotent. Guilt by association, don’t you think? Do we ever hear of Visually Impaired (blind), Dentally Impaired (toothless), Tonsorially Impaired (bald), Textually Impaired (illiterate) — we could go on. There is a reason all other handicapped have never adopted the “Impaired” self description. The common term is bad enough. The best I could do, with a less negative prefix, is “inaudient”. To coin a word, innately not all that bad, and as Tom Jefferson would say, it’s an inalienably clean construction. Any takers?

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