Partial deafness and face masks

I'm partially deaf (and fully ignorant, my wife used to add). I cannot remember the exact results of my last hearing test, but it was more than 50% hearing loss in my right ear and about 30% hearing loss in my left.

I try to fix this with hearing aids, but they only work in certain circumstances. Specifically, they're not very good when there's a lot of background noise. I've also found they're completely useless when I forget to put them in.

The Covid pandemic and the associated wearing of face masks has made me realise just how much I lip read. I am not a trained lip reader, but I guess we can all do it by instinct to a certain degree if we need to. Either that or I have another superpower to add to the 17 I've already got.

On a one-to-one basis, in a quiet room, I can generally hear another person reasonably well without my hearing aids, although not if they're mumblers or whisperers. Come the revolution the mumblers and whisperers will meet their demise at my hands.

I've found people are quite impatient with the partially deaf. It's understandable because it's one of those things that's equally irritating for both the speaker and the partially deaf listener. There can be a lot of "pardon" and "eh what?" in any given conversation and this gets wearing after a while. Eventually I just find myself nodding and agreeing to various things I would have rejected instantly if I'd heard them.

This caused some problems the last time I was in hospital. They took a blood test to check on my diabetes, which I found quite surprising as I don't have diabetes. I told the phlebotomist I wasn't aware I had diabetes, but she just pointed to the whiteboard behind my bed and it did indeed have "diabetic" scrawled across it. This was quite confusing as I thought this was some new ailment they had diagnosed, but it turns out they'd asked me if I was diabetic on admission and I'd nodded. I probably thought they were asking if I wanted a cup of tea.

Humans should come with subtitles, basically.

So please spare a thought for us partially deaf people when you're speaking through a face mask. Don't slap us in frustration. Insults won't work either, because in all probability we won't hear them.

Please also spare a thought for those of us who have selective hearing problems. I find I never hear "Are you going to mend that wall?" as well as I hear "Would you like some cake?" Deafness is a strange thing.