It is true that the hearing impaired can be a nuisance, causing the speaker to repeat words and phrases and often requiring moving around so sound waves are not distorted by walls or distance and may require lip reading and over enunciated spelling of each word. Television is a show stopper; hearing aids cannot focus between sources talking simultaneously.
The hearing impaired are as bothered by this as much as the nonhearing impaired. But the difficulties don’t entirely lie at the ear of the hearing impaired.
Unlike the Germans and Russians who love to pound out soft consonants, the Americans pretend to say their soft consonants. Oh, there may be a lip gesture or a soft noise deep in the throat but the rhythm of syllables is lost as the word becomes a slurred reference to any properly articulated word or phrase. To hear English properly spoken, tune into CBS Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley; odds are the reader speaks three times faster than Jane – on-the-scene reporters perhaps four times as fast.
What follows is a sample or two that emulates what the hearing impaired may hear. It replaces supposedly spoken consonants, words and phrases with an underscore (_). For those who like puzzles, mariner will not provide an interpretation.
The _o_ was caught in _ _o_ _cause of _ _o_. I used _ _o_ to bring a _ow truck.
The _rolu_ is you _int lock _ door this _or_. You _oly were _stract_.
Along with mariner’s lifelong friend, a philologist, together we used to collect some really lackadaisical speech patterns. Here’s a few with impaired hearing added:
_kowe_ skoeet, let’s go eat
Jeetjet did you eat yet?
In addition to word enunciation, many speakers significantly drop their volume on a predicate phrase – whole phrases are not heard.
Mariner hopes this illustrates the difficulties of impaired hearing versus hurried, inarticulate speaking. As the impaired listen, their brains, for tiny milliseconds, must stop listening and do a dictionary search for probable meanings. In that millisecond, a conscious link with the conversation is lost, likely will be halted and require the speaker to start over again.