The Secret Deafie: The day I stopped wearing my hearing aids in public

Posted on September 24, 2012

The Secret Deafie is a series of anonymous columns written by different writers. Today’s Deafie tells us about an incident from his teenage years that led him to stop wearing his hearing aids.

I wore hearing aids when I was growing up, and even though I was at mainstream school, I didn’t really see myself as being any different from everyone else. Until one day when I was 14.

I was on work experience at the time, for two weeks away from school. Every day at lunchtime I walked around the small town, usually buying a sandwich and sitting in the local park in the sun for an hour. It was a nice break from the office.

One day, I was walking through the town when I saw two pretty teenage girls walking past me. They both looked at me and smiled, and I smiled back.

As they walked past me though, just as they passed my side, I heard one of them say “yuk!”

When I think back now, they could have been talking about anything. Maybe a bird had pooed on my coat. But at the time, I was sure this was her response to seeing my hearing aids.

From then on, when I went out for lunch, I took my hearing aids off. Even though it made it harder to buy things in the shops.

I got into trouble on the last day when my boss accused me of ignoring him in the town – he’d called my name and I didn’t hear him!

That was the start of years when I would take my hearing aids off at every opportunity. I feel sad when I think about it, because now I’m much more proud of them. I don’t care what anyone thinks.

But when you’re a teenager, you’re less confident.

Do you have a story or experience you’d like to share? If you’d like to write a Secret Deafie column, just email

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