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By Kelly Anderson

I’ve had hearing loss my whole life, but I am still learning to be open and to be clear about my needs as they come up. It can be important to take the time to think how you’d like to respond in moments of need. This way, you can be confident in the moment. And these moments range: I need a seat at the front of the presentation, I need an FM system or pocketalker, you were told the price of the item while the cashier looked away or you need a seat in the restaurant with good lighting and away from the kids and the bar section.

For me, my moment of need is almost always when I’m on the phone. My replies are riddled with “sorry? I can’t seem to hear you.” Or just that awkward silence as I try to piece together what I heard. Sometimes I can tell they’re in a noisy environment, or maybe they’re on speakerphone, or they talk too fast.

What can it mean to be clear? “I wear hearing aids, do you mind talking a bit slower?” Or “I wear hearing aids, do you mind talking closer to the phone?” The moments I do remember to say these things, I’ve never been met with resistance, and I’m able to hold a clearer conversation. When I say my normal responses (like “pardon?” more times than I can count) I’m often met with irritated voices and the good old « I SAID! » And, there always may be people that don’t wish to oblige to our requests, but the point is that we can be clear about our needs and an alternate can be provided « I’ll call you back when I’m in my quiet office » or « I’ll call you from another phone. »

I will leave you with this: may we take the time to consider our most happenstance moments and think of ways to creatively respond. Thanks for reading!