Dear Co-Worker Who Shall Remain Un-named:
I would dearly appreciate it if you stopped telling me to get my hearing aids fixed. I just had them fixed 5 months ago. They are in optimal condition, as the microphones were replaced and several parts repaired. I assure you, I have worn hearing aids for 18 years. I know how to take good care of them. These things cost $2000 for goodness sake!
Truth is, I’m hearing-impaired. My hearing is not perfect. I may require you to repeat yourself for clarity. I want to be certain that what I heard is what you said. Take this as a compliment; I wish to communicate clearly with you. I don’t make assumptions about you, as you do about me. And no, saying it louder won’t make it any easier for me to hear you. If you don’t enunciate clearly, I may not be able to read your lips clearly. Yeah, that’s how I “hear”- I read your lips. I do the same in everyday face-to-face comments, and even on YouTube videos. It works for me.
Finally, don’t get mad at me when I don’t recognize your voice on the phone. Considering that this phone is about 20 years old- analog! The horror of analog! The fidelity of the sound is not reliable. And even on a digital phone, I cannot recognize my mom’s voice most of the time. I don’t recognize my mother’s voice, the woman with whom I have spent a large part of my life with! (Caller ID is a godsend!) In light of this, don’t expect me to recognize your voice. I can try, but I’ll stick to using the same respectful voice with everyone who calls.
I don’t think you realize how insensitive your comments are. The assumption that I just need to crank up the volume on my hearing aids to hear like you hear is an insult. Try telling a blind person to put glasses on or a physically disabled person to run like you run. With each respective “disability” there are a set of modifications (behavioral, medical, mechanical, etc) that must be made for us to live in a world pre-dominantly populated by abled individuals. Differently-abled individuals do not operate the same way you do- yet we are essentially the same as you are. Don’t expect me to be like you, and don’t treat me differently. I just wanted to be treated with the same respect you give to everyone else.