Words that hurt: why you should not say "never mind" to a person with hearing loss

The following is from the book A Quiet World, by David G. Myers, a psychologist with hearing loss.

“Never mind.” How familiar those words are to the hard of hearing.

“Ted said that the doctor wanted her...”

“I’m sorry?”

“Ted said that the doctor wanted her...”

“Ted said what?”

“Oh, never mind."

Sometimes the information is trivial and not worth the effort of repetition. Sometimes the words are spoken for my ears only, so cannot be spoken more loudly.

Regardless, “never mind” is an acknowledgement of mutual frustration and failure. With these words—among the easiest to lip-read because of their context and familiarity—typically comes a brief flash of pain: a reminder of your deficiency, a twinge of loss, a fleeting awareness that you will never know what it is that, an instant ago, seemed worth saying.

I do not blame those who utter those stinging words, which sometimes are accompanied by a shake of the head, rolled eyes, or a dismissive gesture. What else should people do? What would I do in their place? Still, I am grateful that my sensitive and clear-voiced closest friends—is their clear articulation one reason they are my closest friends?—never utter those words.


Related post:  How Should You Remind People About Your Hearing Loss?

Is our hearing loss skin too thin?

Photo credit:  ©Devonsun


Never Mind...Ugh!

We've all been there. It just shows lack of patience in people when they say that. I don't think they're TRYING to be rude..I think they think that they don't want to add to our frustration of trying to understand. My daughter once said that to me and I said plainly, "honey...I'm trying to grasp what it is you're trying to say. Maybe you can tell me in another way?" She did and loved the lightbulb that flicked on in my eyes when I understood what she was telling me.

Never mind is a newer one for

Never mind is a newer one for me. I make my needs pretty clear when I meet someone. I wear HAs now but can go from hearing to completely deaf in a fraction of a second. When meeting someone new I make my needs as clear as I can. Example: I am deaf but I speech read. Is it possible for you to look directly at me and speak slowly. That way I can understand what you are saying. It only gets dicey when I forget to speak slowly as well. I used to speak rapidly - and often still do. When this happens, the person who is talking to me picks up their pace as well.

Good strategy!

What a great idea to slow down your own speech so that others will too. Thanks for sharing it with us! ~Sandra