The lack of D/deaf representation in media and education is mostly to blame. After all, one can't understand the perspective of a hard-of-hearing person if they're never taught. 

Perhaps if we started teaching accessible communication alongside regional dialects in schools, this would change. Perhaps not. Either way, hearing impairment is something people just don't get. 

And that means there are things no one tells you about losing your hearing. We'll go over three of the most prevalent. 

People Get Angry

There are many ways for someone who’s hard of hearing to inadvertently anger those around them through no fault of their own. For instance, say a colleague needs to get your attention. If they don't know you're D/deaf, they may perceive you as rude or standoffish when you really had no idea they were trying to talk to you in the first place. 

People can also be extremely rude about repeating themselves, as though they were just asked to recite the entire Magna Carta in Latin. 

Even people who know about your hearing loss might get frustrated at having to repeat themselves. And that hurts. It makes you feel stupid, bothersome, or somehow 'less' than what you were when you could hear. 

People Don't Believe You

Because some people think you're either completely deaf or able to hear just fine, they tend to treat the hearing impaired as though their disability is their fault. This is especially true when you have a degree of hearing impairment but can still make out some sounds. Even employers might act as if a hearing-impaired worker simply isn't trying hard enough or is otherwise exaggerating to get out of doing more work.

The judgment and distrust can feel akin to a slap in the face. 

Finding Employment is More Difficult

In a report titled Deaf People and Employment in the United States: 2019The National Deaf Center on Postsecondary outcomes found an employment gap of 22.5% between D/deaf people and hearing individuals aged 25-64. The study also found that 42.9% of D/deaf people opted out of the labor force entirely, compared to a rate of 20.8% among hearing people.

If you've ever tried to find a job while hearing impaired, this comes as no surprise. There are hundreds of reasons an employer might give for not hiring you, but unfortunately, they can often boil down to "you can't hear, you're inconvenient." They'll never say that, of course, but the intent is nevertheless there. 

It's bad enough that some hearing-impaired job-seekers have taken to not wearing their hearing aids during job interviews so that they might be judged on their actual qualifications. 

This remains prevalent even in regions where discrimination laws exist. An employer that wants to get rid of a hearing impaired employee may use all manner of underhanded tactics — changing their schedule without notifying them, reducing hours until the employee quits, or otherwise doing everything in their power to create a hostile work environment that just skirts the edge of discriminatory. 

A Tough Road Ahead

Hearing impairment and hearing loss are both difficult to cope with. And though they might make you tougher than you ever thought possible, that doesn't make up for the rude behavior, the hits to your self-worth, and the lack of career options. It's an uphill battle for many.

This is on society to change, not the hearing impaired. In the meantime, just remember that you need not face these challenges alone. There are people out there experiencing the same struggles as you — and in most cases, they're only a few clicks away.