Wednesday, September 2, 2015

PSA: Those jokes aren’t funny

Why do people make stupid so-called jokes about others’ issues or health problems or conditions?

I mentioned last year that I have what’s called reverse slope hearing loss. That’s a fancy way of saying that instead of the typical high frequency hearing loss—which is associated with age and/or environmental factors and which I fully expected to have given that I served in the US Army and was also a professional musician for years—the loss occurs in the low frequency range.

I encountered a lot of those stupid not-funny jokes last year when I told people about this problem.  The most common comment was “What?” followed by a har har har. Yeah, you aren’t as funny or unique as you think you are.

The second most common response was “Wow, getting old sucks, huh?” Um—I just told you it’s not age related or caused by environmental damage. Maybe I’m not the one with the hearing problem?

Only a few said anything at all comforting.

I’ve just returned from a visit to my ENT and as I suspected but hoped I was wrong, my low frequency hearing loss has gotten worse. Since we ruled out any physical cause last year with an MRI, and since I don’t have typical symptoms of Meniere’s Disease, my doctor isn’t sure what’s causing the loss. But my left ear is definitely worse.

In fact, it’s bad enough that I need to start telling people—at least the ones I can’t hear—and I’m already dreading the stupid inane comments. I’m also looking into getting a hearing aid in hopes that I can get some hearing restored to that ear. While hearing aids are expensive as all get out and not covered by insurance in either Kansas (where I live) or Missouri (where I work), I’ll pay the money if I can hear again.

In the meantime, if your first urge is to say “what?” to me, don’t. Don’t be an ass. Be kind and if I ask you to repeat yourself, just know it’s a hell of a lot more frustrating to be on this side of my hearing loss than it is to be on your side. 

1 comment:

Kerry DeBauge said...

Sometimes people just suck. Even the nicest of people can be cruel, and clueless about their cruelty. I learned yesterday that a teacher got in my son's face and YELLED at him because he didn't hear her the first time. This is not one of his normal teachers, just the hallway monitor in the afterschool car pick-up line. While the school has been informed of his hearing loss, this teacher probably wasn't. I am wrestling with how best to address this. With my child, it's to hug him and make sure he knows it's the teacher with the problem. (His BFF helped with that greatly as he had nothing nice to say about her.) With the teacher, a difficult conversation is in my future.