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Words that hurt: why you should not say "never mind" to a person with hearing loss

The following is from the book A Quiet World, by David G. Myers, a psychologist with hearing loss.

“Never mind.” How familiar those words are to the hard of hearing.

“Ted said that the doctor wanted her...”

“I’m sorry?”

“Ted said that the doctor wanted her...”

“Ted said what?”

“Oh, never mind."

Sometimes the information is trivial and not worth the effort of repetition. Sometimes the words are spoken for my ears only, so cannot be spoken more loudly.

Regardless, “never mind” is an acknowledgement of mutual frustration and failure. With these words—among the easiest to lip-read because of their context and familiarity—typically comes a brief flash of pain: a reminder of your deficiency, a twinge of loss, a fleeting awareness that you will never know what it is that, an instant ago, seemed worth saying.

I do not blame those who utter those stinging words, which sometimes are accompanied by a shake of the head, rolled eyes, or a dismissive gesture. What else should people do? What would I do in their place? Still, I am grateful that my sensitive and clear-voiced closest friends—is their clear articulation one reason they are my closest friends?—never utter those words.

 

Related post:  How Should You Remind People About Your Hearing Loss?

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Photo credit:  ©Devonsun

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