Teresa Garratty: 10 tips on dealing with deafness (that I wish I’d known)

Posted on September 18, 2015

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teresa garratty

Some people are born deaf, some achieve deafness and some have deafness thrust upon them!

I fall into the latter category. I lost a lot of my hearing in both ears very suddenly and no one really knows why.

A lot of people thought it must have been very traumatic but to be honest, it didn’t really bother me.

I’ve just had to sort of get on with it and learn what I can & can’t do, what helps and what doesn’t etc, as I go along.

Sometimes people would ask me things like, “OK, so what do you need to make this work?” and my response would usually be a bemused expression and a slight shrug.

You see, if and when you do lose your hearing, no one gives you a welcome pack. So I’ve decided to put one together for you! It’s not much, but here are a few tips that would have been helpful if I’d known them from the get go.

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  1. Batteries

If you’re deaf, there’s a strong chance that you wear hearing aids or CI’s. Make sure you have batteries EVERYWHERE. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been “caught short” when it comes to my batteries going flat.

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  1. Ear plugs

If you go swimming, wear ear plugs. I never once had an ear infection until I started wearing hearing aids…now I’ve had around…oh I don’t know…a MILLION?! Hearing aids are a great way of trapping water in your ears, which will more often than not, result in an infection. Wearing ear plugs when you swim helps keep the water out in the first place. No water, no infection and no excruciating pain for days on end!

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  1. Smartwatch

I love an excuse to buy a new gadget and this one is pretty great. Smart watches use vibration alerts, not only for alarms but also other notifications. So you’ll always know when you get a message, email, alarm etc even if you have lost your phone down the side of the sofa!

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  1. The Internet

The internet is your friend…apart from when it’s being an insufferable douche of course but on the whole, it’s enabled me to stay in contact with everyone around me. Whether it’s a Skype call, or Facebook message I can pretty much keep in touch with anyone, even if I don’t really like them anymore. It’s also handy for work too!

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  1. Hearing Dogs

I’ve only recently discovered that dogs can actually be useful. Before, they were just horrible slobbery gannet like beasts, but now I’ve learnt that they can give deaf people a great deal of independence. If only they could be taught how to make a cup of tea….

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  1. Subtitled Screenings

I stopped going to the cinema when I lost my hearing, as it was more worth while to wait for the subtitled DVD to come out. Then I found yourlocalcinema.com which gives a (somewhat small) list of subtitled screenings.

They’re a rare occurrence and usually at the most unsociable hours known to man and sometimes fail completely when the film starts but it’s a step in the right direction. You can also watch live theatre performances with STAGETEXT so there’s no need to miss out there either!

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  1. Smile and Nod

You will master the art of “smiling and nodding”. It is inevitable. There will always be an occasion where you can’t here someone talking and you’re just far too exhausted to explain that you’re deaf and need things repeated again and again.

So the simple solution is to just politely smile and nod….and hope that they didn’t ask you a complex question.

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  1. (Some) hearing people are evil

You’ll be faced with an onslaught of people who are rude, self-centred and completely oblivious to how your level of deafness effects you. They will shun you and they will mock you but try to remember that amongst the dung, flowers will grow and blossom. There are some good ones out there, promise!

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  1. (Some) deaf people are evil

You’ll be faced with an onslaught of people who are rude, self-centred and completely oblivious to how your level of deafness effects you. They will shun you and they will mock you but try to remember that amongst the dung, flowers will grow and blossom. There are some good ones out there, promise!

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  1. Keep Calm and Blag it

There is no right or wrong way to “be” deaf. It’s all about learning what feels best for you. You have to get out there and learn from your own experiences and meet people willing to pass on advice but the main gist of it is that, like life in general, we’re all pretty much just winging it as we go!

 

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Teresa is a freelance film maker, photographer and full time cynic. At school, she was voted “Most likely to end up in a lunatic asylum”, a fate which has thus far been avoided. Her pet hates are telephones, intercoms and all living things.

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The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.

Please note that the views of the writers are their own, and not necessarily the views of the Editor or site as a whole. Read our disclaimer here.

Find out how to write for us by clicking here, or sign a blog for us by clicking here! Or just email thelimpingchicken@gmail.com.

Make sure you never miss a post by finding out how to follow us, and don’t forget to check out what our supporters  provide:

 

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