Can you hear in the dark? I recently realized that I cannot. It was sort of a strange realization, and a bit scary, in case there is an emergency at night. Just one more thing to overcome with hearing loss, I guess. Here is the story.
We were having some lighting work done on the outside of our home this summer, and one night the lighting company came to do a demonstration. The sky was dark and the landscape lighting was on, but not too brightly. The project manager was walking us around the house discussing the lights and asking us if we wanted them brighter or dimmer or angled in different directions. I couldn’t hear a word. My husband was answering the questions and I kept nudging him with my elbow trying to get him to repeat things, but it wasn’t working. I hadn’t realized I was so dependent on visual clues to hear! Finally I just came clean, and announced that I couldn’t hear since it was dark out and they would all need to speak louder and face me when they were talking. That made things a bit better for a little while, but it is hard for people to remember to adjust their speaking patterns for extended periods of time.
Maybe this is obvious to most people with hearing loss, but for some reason I had never been in this situation before. At night in bed, there is not much to hear, so maybe I never noticed. And I usually do keep the lights on until I am ready to sleep. I was scared by this new realization. What if there was an emergency in the middle of the night and I needed to hear instructions? What if the power went out? What if my children were calling to me in the dark and I didn’t hear them? What if I just wanted to take a nice moonlit walk with friends? I decided I better figure out a strategy.
Today, I am much more aware of the lighting in any given situation and try to use it to my advantage. For example, I try to sit so that others are well-lit and visible. If it is dark, I ask people if I can turn on a light. I sit closer to people if it is darker. I also turn up the volume on my hearing aids. And I made sure that outdoor lighting on our house was turned up very bright!
Readers, how do you manage your hearing when there are no visual clues?
16 thoughts on “I Can’t Hear in the Dark”
I also have problems when I can’t see lips/faces (darkness, something in the middle, not wearing glasses/contact lens, too far, etc), but my hearing is not so bad to leave me alone.
I need a while and a big brain effort, but after a few seconds I find myself able to better understand, even if I’m still not lips reading. I don’t know why, but this works better when I force myself to stop looking at the speaking person (I start staring at the ground/my hand/something else).
Well, this is very exhausting, but works. I suppose it’s just because I have just mild hearing loss.
Interesting strategy. I am glad it works for you. Thanks for sharing!
This is so exhausting whenagroup of people are talking in the dark. I cant see the face and lip. This is really frustrating.
Definitely a challenge. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
I’ve always thought sound carried better in light than dark.
It certainly seems to! LOL
you hearing aid may not be strong enough. You are reading lips in the light and do not realize it.
Yes, lipreading is a big factor. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
I can’t hear better in the dark or someone talking to me from distance and I don’t hear words ones instead I asked what is been said twice or more…I do have a hole on the outta part of my ears which sometimes a whitish liquid comes from the hole and it smells .. what’s the cause of this
I think you should have a doctor look at it. Good luck to you.
I have had a severe-profound hearing loss since I was born. Completely deaf in one ear and aided in the other- I always say I can’t hear in the dark. I rely heavily on lip reading. Covid was a nightmare, with the masks I pretty much gave up trying to communicate. The older I get the less effort I make to understand things in bad lighting, noisy environments, camping, night time situations- it’s just too exhausting!
It is challenging! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Erie, I understand your exhaustion as my hearing loss is also profound. The amount effort it takes to hear takes enormous effort, despite lip reading and “state of the art” hearing aids. People often talk too fast or don’t enunciate clearly. When someone is wearing a mask, it is impossible for me to understand them because lip reading is essential. Hearing loss is a continuing stress.
Thank you for sharing your experiences. Hang in there! You are not alone.