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Games that simulate what it’s like to be deaf or hard of hearing

simulate what it's like to be deaf/hoh
You’d think it’d be easier to describe to people what it’s like being deaf or hard of hearing, but it’s similar one of those “you had to be there” situations. Unless you’ve actually experienced it yourself, there’s really no true way to know what it’s like to not hear everything.

But there are some activities and games that might help simulate what it’s like to be deaf or hard of hearing.

Most of these are games where I personally struggled or excelled as a result of being deaf. Therefore I’m hoping these games might simulate what it’s like to be deaf or hard of hearing and give people some insight into what we deal with day in and day out.

Telephone

This game gave me a lot of anxiety as a kid growing up. Nobody likes to fail or be the one who messes things up. I was pretty much doomed from the get-go on this one. Whispering is challenging for everyone regardless of hearing abilities, so it’s a great opportunity for others to see the importance of enunciating and speaking clearly. Not covering your mouth, being clear, and facing us go a long way!

“Whispering is challenging for everyone regardless of hearing abilities, so it’s a great opportunity for others to see the importance of enunciating and speaking clearly.”

Charades

I rely a lot on body language and facial expressions to make up for the words I don’t catch when someone is talking. Charades is a fun game. It’s a good way for others to learn how to pay attention to body language and new ways of expressing themselves when interacting with someone who is deaf/hard of hearing.

Word Jumble

This game is more about perspective when it comes to piecing things together. As I mentioned above, I spend many conversations piecing things together to get the whole picture or fill in missing parts. This game simulates what it’s like to not have everything lined up perfectly!

Jimmy Fallon’s The Whisper Challenge

This game is my gold mine. I rely a lot on lip reading, so this is where I excel. A lot of people, hearing and deaf/hard of hearing, do not rely on lipreading for communication, so this game challenges you to really pay attention to the way people speak and reinforces the importance of enunciating. I consider this almost the inverse of telephone. It’s frustrating but so satisfying when you do get it right!

Phonak Hearing Loss Simulator

This is kind of a funny one as I legitimately still don’t know if I’m hearing anything similar to what hearing people hear when I have my hearing aids on. This simulator does a pretty accurate job of depicting what it’s like to hear these noises when I don’t have my hearing aids on. I have severe hearing loss, so most of these things come across in vibrations more than actual noise when I’m aid-less.

Read more: Hearing Loss Simulator: Understanding mild and moderate hearing loss

Other Suggestions 

There are some other activities to try, though they’re not necessarily fun:

  • Wearing earplugs while playing sports and trying to communicate with team members
  • Pressing your ear against your pillow and listening out of only the exposed ear
  • Wearing headphones with music or a podcast blasting while having a conversation with someone
  • Having a meal and conversation in a crowded and noisy restaurant

The important thing in all of this is to learn how to effectively communicate with people of all communication levels. Let people know you’re willing to try something new and that inclusivity is necessary!

What are some ways you’ve tried to demonstrate your hearing loss to friends and family?

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Author Details
Ashley is a 29-year-old who loves to travel and try new things. She has bi-lateral, severe hearing loss, and wears a Phonak Naída V-SP hearing aid in one ear and has an Esteem implant in the other.She plays soccer for the USA Women's National Deaf Team. She's currently traveling the world in pursuit of adventure and perspective while also learning about the deaf and hard of hearing communities in various countries. Her travels can be followed on instagram @ashley5chanel or on her blog deaftattooedandemployed.com.
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Ashley is a 29-year-old who loves to travel and try new things. She has bi-lateral, severe hearing loss, and wears a Phonak Naída V-SP hearing aid in one ear and has an Esteem implant in the other.She plays soccer for the USA Women's National Deaf Team. She's currently traveling the world in pursuit of adventure and perspective while also learning about the deaf and hard of hearing communities in various countries. Her travels can be followed on instagram @ashley5chanel or on her blog deaftattooedandemployed.com.
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