Shit hearing people say to deaf people

Hearing people sometimes say crazy things to deaf people, especially deaf people who have some hearing or wear hearing aids. Here’s a list of the ones I can remember–and I will add more as I hear more. And please, please, share your own “Shit hearing people say” story in the comments! I will make another post with the best of comments.


Can you drive?


Is that playdoh in your ear?


My brother, muttering under his breath when he was ~5 and mad at me about something: “You and your high tech ears!”


Scene: Someplace with background noise

Person: [indistinct]

Me: Can you say that again, please?

Person: [indistinct]

Me: I’m sorry, I didn’t get that.

Person: Never mind, it wasn’t important.

If you wanted to tell me something, it was important! Otherwise it makes me feel unimportant.


Scene: the quiet zone in a library

Person: [whispers something I can’t hear]

Me: I’m sorry, I can’t hear you.  Could you tell me when we’re back in the lobby?

Person looks confused: [whispers again expecting me to hear it this time]

Me: You’re too quiet–can you tell me when we’re back in the lobby?

Person while motioning to the patrons : Shhh!

We walk back to the lobby, then person whispers again: [indistinct]

Me: You can tell me in the lobby so I can hear you.

We finally make it to the lobby, and person doesn’t repeat the sentences.

Me: I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you in there–can you tell me now?

Person does repeat it. I finally can hear it.

Was that so hard to wait? It only took a minute to walk to the lobby…


Professor, in advance of a midterm: Do you need extra time on the test?

No, I’m just deaf. My brain works just fine. 


Scene: boarding a plane

Me to flight attendant: Just so you know, I’m hard of hearing

Flight attendant digs around in the cabinet, and procures a braille magazine with a smile.

Me: Thanks! But I’m deaf…

She processed that for a moment, and then we all burst out laughing.


Got more? Please comment! Or if you want to be anonymous, please send an email to runningwithabookcart (at) gmail (dot) com. I’ll gather them up and make another post out of them.


Filed under: deaf


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  • My own ignorance is the blame of this story.

    I once had a co-worker who was mostly deaf. When discussing something one day, I tried to explain to her what something looked like. I asked if she remember colors from before she went deaf or if everything was just black and white to her.

    She informed me that she was deaf, not blind. I was mortified. I had just lapsed into stupidity for a moment, and was so embarrassed.

  • In reply to David W. Quinn:

    Thanks for the giggle! I think that's a common mistake perhaps because of Helen Keller...some people associate deafness with blindness and get the two confused. At least, that's my best guess :)

    Hmm...this does make me wonder how many blind people get shouted at?

  • "You know, sometimes it seems like you can't hear me."

  • In reply to Julie:

    Cue massive *facepalm*

  • This is a story on me...

    My daughter's back is turned to me

    Me: Eilie.

    Me: Eilie!

    Me: EILIE!!!!

    Suddenly realizes DUH SHE CAN'T HEAR ME

  • In reply to Christine Whitley:

    Same thing happened to my mom, too...before I was diagnosed, as the story goes. I took off running in the park and my mom hollered after me and thought I was being stubborn, but me, being under 2 yrs old, I was easy enough to catch, ha.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Christine Whitley:

    I know this is a bit off topic, but how do u pronounce your daughters name?

  • Oh Christine, I have a ton of those. A ton!

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