Is it ok to pick your friends based on how well you can hear them? I find myself doing that more and more, although I hate to admit it. The fact is, it is just more fun to be with someone who I can hear well. It is easier, and is probably more enjoyable for the other person as well. To some extent, it is probably self-fulfilling. But what do you do about the friends you already have?
The problem for me is that I lost my hearing later in life, and so I had already acquired a few friends along the way, and some that are not so easy to hear. When I first started telling others about my hearing loss, most of my friends had very little reaction. They didn’t care, which is nice, but they also didn’t make any special effort to help me hear. Well, they did for a few minutes, but then fell back into their old speaking patterns. I don’t blame them for that. It is just human nature.
Some friends really did make an effort and those are the ones that I am closest with today. They let me pick the restaurant and always let me choose where I need to sit to hear best, without making a big deal about it. They will ask me if I can hear them if they are whispering or speaking quietly for any particular reason. I really appreciate their efforts, and our friendships have thrived.
But, what do you do when it is hard to hear your family? It is harder to drift slowly apart from them. One of my hearing loss friends told me that one of his major criteria for dating someone was the sound of her voice. Could he hear her easily or not? If he couldn’t, there was never a second date. While that sounds a bit harsh, it probably makes a lot of sense, since I know first hand how frustrating it can be to have a spouse with a voice that is hard for you to hear.
With hearing loss, you quickly figure out who your real friends are. I am sure that is the same for any disability or life challenge. So maybe it is not the voice alone that helps me choose my friends, but the overall package. Do they try to help me hear them? Can they handle the annoyance of always looking at me when they talk? The real friends do. We all find out who our true friends are at some point or another in life. Maybe the hearing loss just made it happen sooner.
Readers, do you pick your friends in part based on the sound of their voice?