But there are some activities and games that might help simulate what it’s like to be deaf or hard of hearing.
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.”
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.
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!
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!
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
There are some other activities to try, though they’re not necessarily fun:
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?