Anger and Deafness

I attend all these Strange Classroom, for various reasons, some I just fall into quite by chance and others I find with a purpose in mind. Very few are formal and most of them people would not even recognize as a Classroom. One of the main reasons I started actively looking for them, way back in the 90’s, was to do something about my anger.  People that knew me then and see me now are impressed; it is so rare that I lose my temper that I cannot recall when last I really lost it. But in this screwed up world  there is a lot to be angry about, so of course I get angry, but handle it in a quiet and rather dignified manner, even if I say so myself. I tend to get more frustrated than angry.

One frustration that turns to anger is my hearing problem and the way people deal with me because of it. Some just write me off as stupid immediately, that is not too bad, the ones that continue to talk to me, but as if I am a moron, are pushing it a bit. The people that SHOUT at me cause much frustration too. Even when I tell them about not hearing too well they equate deafness with stupidity. The real “Deaf and Dumb” myth.

Then the people that actually listen and understand that I am deaf but not a moron unfortunately do not know much about deafness, so SHOUT at me. To explain to every person one meets how deafness works is impossible. If you really want to see me pissed off quickly, combine treating me like a moron and shouting at me at the same time, I lose all my happy thoughts.

Perhaps this article will help some other poor deaf mutt if his/her friends read it. Here is how it works for me and people that have the same hearing damage, made by loud noise long ago.

When I asked if I can hear, I say I can, because I am aware that speech or music is going on. However I often lose the thread of what is being said. The reason for this is that people tend not to speak consistently at the same volume. They may drop their voices at different parts of a sentence or for the operative words that give the meaning. Often I ‘hear’ the speech as a jumble of incoherent words, as if it were a foreign language. Because people often swallow the beginnings and ends of words (the consonants). Then all I ‘hear’ are the middles of the words (the vowels) which are highly ambiguous, as so many different words have the same vowel sounds; and this leads to me trying to patch up what I have heard.  That causes misunderstandings of note, and reinforces the concept that I am stupid. Add to that the fact that people also alter the pitch, so what may be loud enough for me at one pitch may not be at another pitch. Some people just  mumble and cannot speak clearly even if their lives depended on it!

SHOUTING does not help a deaf person at all, a lot of the time it actually hurts my poor messed up ears, ironic, a deaf person that hates noise. Look at it this way. Imagine that your sight is not perfect and that you are trying to read a book in poor lighting conditions without your glasses. Improving the lighting, would probably help somewhat, but would it make sense for the light to be made brighter and brighter on the assumption that once it was bright enough you would be able to see properly? Of course not. Similarly increasing the amplification of sound may help a deaf person to some extent, but not much. I have little problems hearing people with soft voices that speak clearly and look at me when they are talking to me. That sort of sums it up, if you have good manners (look at the person you are addressing) and speak in a clear civilized way…. I HEAR you.


A compilation of my Strange Classrooms is soon to be released, please “Like” and  keep an eye on this page.


Here is a story of developing and breaking an addiction, while dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome at the same time.



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5 Responses to “Anger and Deafness”

  1. Laurinda Says:

    I’ve had a few surprises from people walking into my strange classrooms. One day there was a lady that had been deaf since birth. A challenge and one that caught me off guard as music / meditation plays quite a large part in the methods used. Easily overcome when it came to the meditation part was to hand her my manual where it was all neatly typed so she could follow by reading and the rest of the time as long as she could see my mouth she could follow what was being said.

    • Wayne Bisset Says:

      One of the reasons I like you Laurinda, you don’t just give in, another is the kindness you show to all people.

      I use to go to a live music venue, met a woman there that was stone deaf. She use to dance with one hand on the speaker, she could “feel” the music.

  2. Zonnica van den Heever Says:

    Hi, don’t want to sound like one of the people you mentioned above, but you can lip read right? I have recently started watching “switched at birth” and part of the story plays around a deaf girl and her school etc. I find this show so humbling and really feel like I have learnt a lot. I have not met a deaf person yet but I now know how to treat someone if I do. I think a lot of people don’t mean to be ignorant, or shout we just are because we don’t know any better. It’s not like they teach “how to talk to deaf people” – or anywhere that I know of. I have been following your blog from today (you are a member of Conservationists United on Facebook) and I enjoy reading everything so far.

  3. Wayne Bisset Says:

    Reblogged this on Section Eight Solutions.

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