The term “selective hearing” and why it’s problematic when applied to Deaf and Hard of Hearing people and with people with Central Auditory Processing Disorder. For us it’s not a choice. Selective hearing implies one can choose whether or not to pay attention to what they’re hearing, which, from my experience, seems to be a hearing person thing, not a deaf person thing.



I really hate the term “selective hearing” being thrown at people like us because it implies that we actually have a choice in what we can and can’t hear. And by ‘people like us’ I’m talking about Deaf and Hard of Hearing people and people with Central Auditory Processing Disorder. It’s almost as if it’s inconceivable for some people that some of us hear differently. Like they would rather believe that we’re just ignoring them or being an asshole as opposed to, I don’t know, having a dialogue or a discussion about hearing loss or hearing disabilities and hearing differences and Auditory Processing Disorder. You know, people don’t want to hear that. They’d rather believe that you’re just ignoring them. And that says a lot about the society that we live in. Okay. So, the other day I was at work, and I was up front and I don’t normally work up front because I don’t interact with customers because people get on my damn nerves. And I was up front slicing the meats and cheeses, and a customer had walked up to the counter. And this customer also happens to be a friend of mine. And she said my name and I didn’t – I think I might’ve heard her but my brain just didn’t register it at the time. And so my coworker, who was standing next to me, said my name and was like, “He has selective hearing today.” And I looked at her and I’m just like, “Really? Did you really just say that?” And of course, you know, because I don’t have a backbone I didn’t say anything at the time because it’s just like, “You know what? That’s just how she is.” But you know, I’m sick of saying that. I’m sick of justi – I’m sick of saying, “That’s just how they are.” Because it’s not fair. It’s not fair and I’m sick of it. Okay? I don’t give a fuck that you were born in a different generation. I don’t care that you grew up in a small town and you haven’t had a lot of exposure to different people. I don’t care that you just don’t know any better. That’s not an excuse. You shouldn’t have to “know better” in order to have respect for other people. You shouldn’t have to know somebody going through something in order to have compassion towards them. That shouldn’t even be a necessity. Okay? It’s called being a decent human being. Educate yourself. Alright, like, I’m tired of making excuses. Selective hearing? WE have selective hearing? Right, right. We have selective hearing but yet somehow we’re the ones that are constantly having to explain to all of you why hearing aids and cochlear implants are not a cure-all for all people. We’re the ones that constantly have to explain how saying “Deaf and dumb” is inappropriate. We’re the ones that constantly have to express our discontent with hearing people constantly playing the roles of Deaf people in plays and movies and TV shows. We’re the ones that constantly have to explain to you all about the diversity of hearing and deafness and how we all don’t hear the same and we don’t all know Sign Language. We’re the ones that constantly have to explain that, but you’re the ones that are not listening. THAT’S what selective hearing is. That’s the definition of Selective Hearing right there. The ability to choose whether or not you give a damn what somebody is telling you. That is selective hearing. That is ignorance right there. I don’t have selective hearing, okay? We don’t have selective hearing. YOU do. Educate yourself.

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