First Person

Dating: Mixed Signals

Audio: Read by the author.

How I’ve Dated

Having hearing loss and online dating can be tricky. Swipe left, swipe right, and BING – you’ve found a match! On my dating profile, I never included my hearing loss. I don’t even mention it when messaging my potential. I’ve convinced myself that I can fool anyone so I don’t have to start the awkward conversation. People online tend to make their assumptions about you, especially when you provide information too soon.

Meeting someone new requires extra energy and effort to listen. People with good hearing ability have the benefit to store their strength and use it elsewhere, but I can’t. In the process, I have to familiarise myself to their voice and study their pronunciation. Why can’t I just have subtitles following me all day?

A date is usually scheduled after a long day at work. I would meet him in a public place – a bar, pub, or restaurant. These venues require extra effort but it’s a good excuse to move closer to your date. One of the best advantages I have is that my hearing seems miles better than the non-sober. I would put that down to the fact that I can lip-read.

The Date

A few years ago I was on a date with a short, dark, and average lawyer. I met him in an old East-end pub where we sat on a brown torn leather sofa and chatted over a pint of ale. There wasn’t any chemistry and he was boring but I still tried to appear engaged. Halfway through the date he bravely told me…

“I see you’ve been dying to kiss me all evening.” 

He proceeded to lean over for a KISS and my body instinctively ducked! 


“You’ve been watching my lips the whole time!”

“Sorry you’re mistaken, I lipread because I’m hard of hearing.”

No happy ending here!

Although my lip-reading method has been misinterpreted throughout my life, it has also benefited me greatly. I don’t want to brag but I believe I have an advantage, I seem to read people’s emotions better than the average person. I think it comes down to the fact that I look at the person when they speak and I believe hearing people take that for granted. I wouldn’t say that this dating story shows off my skills, but I was either tired or uninterested… Honestly, it was probably both.

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About Author

Growing up as a second-generation immigrant with severe to moderate hearing loss, Sabrina has gained unique insights into being in-between both the hearing and deaf communities. After years of struggling with her invisible disability, Sabrina has turned to blogging to open up a dialogue about being D/deaf or Hard of Hearing. Her writing resonates with those who share her experience and also aims to raise awareness amongst hearing allies.