Bumping Into People With Hearing Loss

By Kathi Mestayer

Recently I was backing out of my parking spot in the Barnes & Noble parking lot. I noticed another car in my rear-view mirror, backing up right behind me, approaching my bumper with apparent disregard, and so I finally beeped my horn. A couple of times. Loud. Well, that bumper kept coming, and then hit mine, not hard, but a definite impact. The car pulled out and drove away.

So, I do what anyone would do in that situation—I make a note of the licence plate, and followed it. After a couple of blocks, the car turns into another parking lot. I park behind it, knock on the window, and when it rolls down, said, "Did you know you just hit me in the Barnes & Noble parking lot?"

"No! Oh! I'm so sorry!" said the driver. She lifts up the back door of her SUV, showing me the cute little toys (including a tiny toy stroller) she had bought for her grandchildren. She thought the impact was one of them hitting the back window, or just falling over.

"Didn't you hear me blow my horn?"

"No! You blew your horn?"

"Are you hard of hearing?"

"Yes! I had my hearing tested and they told me I have a hearing loss, but to come back when I can't hear anymore."


What ensued was a few minutes of conversation in which I shared this information:

1) Go back now to get your hearing loss treated. If you didn't hear my horn when our cars were 12 inches to zero inches apart, that's not a good sign.

2) You can't locate sounds because you have a much worse loss in one ear. The driver acknowledged she was almost completely deaf in one ear.

3) Go to a good audiologist, not a testing closet in the back corner of your pharmacy (really!).

At the end, she said, "I just know there's a reason we were brought together! Give me a hug?"

We had a big, warm hug and went our separate ways.

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