Let me start by saying that there are absolutely no pro’s whatsoever of being deaf. I have been deaf since I was three years old, and if someone gave me the option to restore my hearing back to normal, I wouldn’t even question the caveats.
Amongst the glaringly obvious negatives, I have shoved in a few positives. I like to remind myself of these positives to help me sleep at night.
When the tinnitus isn’t keeping me up, that is.
Pro: You can sleep through a zombie apocalypse, nuclear war, and fire alarms.
OK, death in these situations are probably inevitable. But you get my gist. Nothing wakes you. I once slept through a hotel alarm in Tunisia, blissfully unaware that every guest was in their PJ’s in the lobby trying to get it turned off.
So yeah, I’m pretty much always guaranteed a peaceful slumber. Having children should be a breeze! (I’m kidding, I’m kidding, please don’t lynch me.)
It also means I can snooze on the trains and block out the delightful sounds of the commuter train.
Annoying old man flicking the newspaper each time he turns a page? No problem.
Two men talking about the stock market in their yuppie suits? Silenced.
Crisp rustlers? BE GONE!
Oh no wait, nothing stops the sound of crisp rustling unless you grab the bag and launch it into space.
Con: You can’t hear stuff good.
Last time I checked I wasn’t Captain Obvious, but let’s be real: being deaf absolutely sucks. There is nothing more tiresome than straining to focus on a conversation in a loud environment, or trying to watch the TV and your beloved is lovingly caressing a crinkly bag of salty popcorn.
It’s also frustrating having to process what people are saying, or if they speak fast, mumble, or have a thick accent. Sometimes it is mentally draining having to concentrate just to understand, and then having to process and respond quick enough – especially in the workplace.
Pro: You win at nightclubs.
Ohhh no, the dance floor is so packed; the only place to dance is next to the speakers. But it’s too loud! Not for me, buddy. BRB whilst I twerk with the base. Or is it bass?
Side note: the last time I seriously went clubbing, twerking wasn’t as widely practiced.
You can also lip read what everyone is saying, which is great if you want to know where the booze-fuelled romance in the corner is going. It’s like watching a soap opera when you go to the bar.
Con: Your hearing aid batteries run out regularly.
The amount of times I have been out and I get a 30 second warning that I am shortly going to be engulfed in silence is ridiculous.
Granted, I could be a prepared Paula and bring a spare, but it always seems to happen when I take out a new handbag, I’m not at work/home, or nowhere near a Boots.
Unfortunately, the hearing technology is so old school, that no, I can’t charge my hearing aid like a mobile. But batteries do last for two weeks, so it’s not all doom and gloom..
Pro: You can analyse a public scene better than an FBI agent.
I definitely think I rely on other elements of social interaction to make up for a lack of sound. For instance, I think I am good at reading expressions. If you can’t always hear the tone of someone’s voice, you can often rely on micro-expressions to determine how the mood of a conversation is going. This is great for people watching in public. I can spot agitation a mile off, I like to predict when the mother of a screaming baby is at breaking point, and my absolute favourite, watching couples interact over dinner in a restaurant.
So why aren’t I working for the FBI, you ask? Well I spend my days with my head in the clouds, or daydreaming about alternative universes, so having this skill is only useful for when I am trying to win an argument.
I also may or may not have watched the programme ‘Lie to Me’ three times over. It’s on Netflix, go watch!
Con: Bad jokes.
My favourite joke is when I tell someone I am deaf, and they reply with ‘What?’ ‘Eh?’ and then laugh like they are the first person to make that joke.
And because I find it awkward having to explain I’m deaf (I usually reserve it for the point where people think I’m just ditzy or rude for not hearing them whisper from the other side of a football pitch), I feign laughter and tell them yes, it’s a very funny joke. And I hit them with the equally terrible joke of
‘Oh if only I had a pound for every time I heard that’
They make me do it.
Pro: You can blame your mistakes on not being able to hear, with your very small violin.
My mum used tell me to tidy my room as a child (and a teenager, and an adult), when she would discover it wasn’t tidied an hour later, I couldn’t have possibly heard her request now could i?
Sideways knowing glance emoji.
And hearing tests. Wearing three pairs of headphones at once, trying to listen for a low pitched whistle whilst an audiologist fiddles around with their deck looking like a caravan park DJ, can grow weary after 23 years.
With great hospitals come great waiting times. I have spent many a lifetime waiting to see my consultant, waiting for an operation, or waiting for a new hearing aid.
You could also use my medical file as a plausible murder weapon in a game of Cluedo.
Don’t get me wrong, the NHS is an amazing service, and we would truly be lost without it. I am eternally grateful to the Royal Ear Nose and Throat Hospital for the service I have received over the years. I am not remotely grateful for Southend hospital however, but that is not a story for another day.
Pro: If you’re deaf enough, you get a free dog.
And not just a regular dog that you can love unconditionally, a dog that does your chores for you.
My sensory impairment (the politically correct term, if you will) is not severe enough to get said miracle dog.
I have been informed however, that I get a free smoke alarm that flashes, and a free telephone with an extra loud volume.
It’s practically the same thing.
Con: You don’t see people wearing hearing aids as part of a ‘geek’ fancy dress outfit.
And there is a reason for that. They are ugly. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a party and seen the pretend hearing aid as part of the geek ensemble. You can buy fake glasses to look super cute and secretarial, but not the aids.
I call discrimination.
Also, spare a thought for those that have to wear hearing aids and glasses, it’s really all going on under this mop of hair guys. And don’t even think about buying me a pair of Ray-Bans (I know you weren’t, it’s okay), the arms are too thick to slide between the hearing aid and the ears.
So there you have it, I have answered all of your burning questions on the benefits of being deaf. If you think there are any other positives that I am probably taking for granted, let me know!