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2 July 2010 / Liz Johns

On Being Deaf in One Ear and Owning a Parrot

I’ve recently discovered a new benefit to being deaf in one ear. Until now I’d only been aware of one advantage – being able to sleep in noisy environments. All you have to do is turn onto your ‘good side’ and the pillow muffles most of the sounds making it much easier to drop off. Very handy.

But that single benefit doesn’t really make up for the inconvenience of being deaf in one ear. When someone is on your wrong side and strikes up a conversation, it can cause all sort of difficulties. It’s almost impossible to have a ‘wrong-sided’ conversation with someone on the street due to the noise of the traffic in the background. When someone is talking to you like that, all you hear are the vowels and the odd consonant, so that sounds like – aw oo ear ar ee owls an ee od onsonan. You can understand how this is a hindrance to smooth conversation. And there are those times when someone starts a wrong-sided conversation with you at the office when you’re engrossed in your work. You eventually pick up on the person’s presence when they finally give up repeating your name and tap the desk with a pen. Oh and as well as not being able to hear there’s that incessant hissy tinnitus. (If you don’t have tinnitus and are wondering what it sounds like, get someone to whisper loudly in your ear ‘incessant hissy tinnitus’ – it sounds just like that.)

But enough of the drawbacks, what is this new benefit I’ve found? Well it’s a good one, but if you’re a half-deafy it’ll only benefit you if you’re in the fortunate (?) position of owning a parrot. Parrots can be loud, really loud. And parrots like to sit on your shoulder, right next to your ear. How brilliant then is it that your parrot can perch happily on your ‘deaf shoulder’ and if he screeches (did I say if, I mean when), the sound will literally fall on a deaf ear. You can still hear it of course, but by the time the sound gets around to the good ear, it’s not so harsh. Perfect.

Being deaf in one ear may have some drawbacks, but when a parrot is sitting on your shoulder screeching right next to your ear, take it from me, you wouldn’t want it any other way.


Leave a Comment
  1. Raul / Jul 2 2010 2:19 am

    What a great idea…you can market this! I will have to tell my step-father that he doesn’t need his hearing aid anymore…I’m buying him a parrot!! 🙂


  2. JessieStark / Jul 2 2010 2:25 am

    this is a great article! thank you! you have a really nice, honest perspective.


  3. Geotravel / Jul 2 2010 2:27 am

    Thanks for making a sound point…and for turning something bright.


  4. purrfectpawspetphotography / Jul 2 2010 2:34 am

    Aww, an uplifting read! Very cute!


  5. c2c5e5 / Jul 2 2010 2:36 am

    Had to take a look at your post – so a bare-eyed cockatoo is in your life! A great post!


  6. TheIntentionalSage / Jul 2 2010 3:10 am

    It’s nice to see that you’ve found something positive to an otherwise perceived hindrance. I’d love to hear more people consider their “hindrances” attributes. This is wonderful motivation for the next person to do as such. 😀

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage


  7. X-Evolutionist / Jul 2 2010 3:35 am

    I have a rather large flock of pet birds: parakeets, lovebirds, cockatiels and an African Grey. Yes, it is noisy! I appreciate your sense of humor to see the plus side of being deaf on one side.



  8. Lakia / Jul 2 2010 4:23 am

    Nice post! I think that’s an idea to be further explored 🙂 Also, I really liked the cartoon pic of the men talking lol


  9. hollywwest / Jul 2 2010 4:45 am

    what a great post!


  10. onepillawayfromchaos / Jul 2 2010 4:51 am

    Cute, cute, cute! Thanks for making me 🙂


  11. greenworldpeace14 / Jul 2 2010 5:12 am

    Haha my dad is deaf in one ear too and all of those things you said were true! When we try to talk to him on the wrong side, he moves us to the other side so he can hear. But the parrot idea is really funny!


  12. Evie Garone / Jul 2 2010 5:57 am

    I have to tell you as I get older . . .don’t tell anyone . . .shhh it’s between us I can’t see and I can’t hear . . .so I totally get what you are saying and it’s totally funny!!!!!!!!! So, maybe I should get my husband and I a Parrot . . .priceless!!! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!! I can’t hear if I have my glasses on, I swear!!


  13. featheredfiends / Jul 2 2010 6:03 am

    Great post. 🙂
    Birds are great!


  14. jenniferviola82 / Jul 2 2010 6:04 am

    This totally made my day! I’m not deaf, but I can totally see it being a bit of a plus when it comes to quality time with parrots! One of ours screeches enough to hear him three houses down…the neighbors must think we’re holding ritual sacrifices or something 😉


  15. Elaihr / Jul 2 2010 6:06 am

    I’m SO happy I found your blog! I’m also deaf in one ear, and slightly hearing impaired on the other one, and I know EXACTLY what you mean! People never understand the thing about me only being able to hear the vowels if they’re walking on “the wrong side”, or why sometimes it’s difficult to learn a song just by listening. I do get some words wrong, and sometimes it turns out really funny…

    Also, I just need to ask, have you ever noticed that your eye sight seems better than that of others? Or at least your field of visual attention, or whatever I should call it… I’m just wondering as that seems to be my case, just thought it might have something to do with the deafness, just like some blind people compensate with their hearing.


    • Liz Johns / Jul 2 2010 11:38 pm

      That’s great that your eye sight has compensated your hearing. I’ve heard too that other senses become sharper when one is lost. Unfortunately my eye sight is rubbish so that’s that theory down the pan 🙂


  16. Olivia / Jul 2 2010 7:26 am

    Dear Liz,

    So wonderfully put a challenge across.. I wish we all get to learn from your spirit..
    Elaihr is right. It does happen that one of the other 5 senses become stronger than average; as if to compensate.. Even at times, the sixth also is..



    • Liz Johns / Jul 2 2010 11:39 pm

      Ah yes – the sixth sense. I didn’t think of that, that’s a very interesting point to ponder.


  17. Elizabeth / Jul 2 2010 8:15 am

    So let me ask you then.. why is that you are deaf in one ear?
    I think I may have an idea because I suffer from Meniere’s Disease and I feel your pain with some of the symptoms you are describing.
    I love sleeping on my good ear to drown out the rest of the noise when falling asleep, that I admit is awesome.
    Noisy environments and restaurants are another thing though. I feel bad to keep say “what, what, what” but what else can you do?
    As for being in the office I do notice that when on the phone… the side that can hear, of course I realize that the building could be burning and someone could be yelling and I wouldn’t know until I hang up the phone!

    I can’t wait to hear… no pun intended of course… lol about why you too can not hear out of one ear? It’s hard to connect with others with the same issue!
    All the best


    • Abby / Jul 2 2010 2:42 pm

      I’m not the blog poster, but I’m deaf in one ear and have the same symptoms that he does. (“What what what?”) In my case, I was born with a deformed ear that had the pathway to the ear canal blocked for some reason. It was too difficult to do reconstruction and I’m still deaf.


    • Liz Johns / Jul 2 2010 11:42 pm

      Thanks for your question. I had the mumps when I was about 13 years old and lost one of my ears (so to speak) as a side effect of the virus. Menieres disease must be difficult to cope with. But at least we can both fall asleep easily 🙂


  18. shyexpert / Jul 2 2010 8:35 am

    haha real cool idea, but i still feel its good for a comical side, not the real thing


  19. Mirellarose / Jul 2 2010 9:41 am

    Thanks for the smiles. We need more people like you on this formerly green and happy earth. Love the positive, looking on the bright side aspect.

    I’ve always wanted a parot. Apparently we had one when I was three (or rather thats when we gave it away) and it was brilliant. My mom has a way with birds and is better than a snake charmer with a viper. He was talking and following her around and all. She wasn’t deaf, but it worries me that her hearing might be leaving now… Good time to get the parrot BACK!

    And Congrats on being featured on Freshly Pressed. Love this post, you diserved it!


    • Liz Johns / Jul 2 2010 11:49 pm

      Thanks kindly for the compliment and reading my post. Hope your mum’s hearing doesn’t get TOO bad.


  20. Joe Linton / Jul 2 2010 10:04 am

    I am deaf in one ear, and can hardly fall asleep unless my good ear is down. I sometimes will try to listen to someone speaking on my deaf side, and my neck ends up getting tired from craning it around to try to put my good right ear toward the person on my left.

    Other than sleeping, the deaf left comes in kind of handy as a bicyclist. I ride a lot in the city of Los Angeles, and while two ears is probably safer (as one could hear where sounds are coming from), just one working ear means that I tune out some of the car traffic noise.


    • Liz Johns / Jul 2 2010 11:51 pm

      That’s great – another advantage of being a half-deafy. There must be more too. Watch out for the cars. Cycling in LA!! Mad.


  21. Mike / Jul 2 2010 1:47 pm

    I feel your pain, I have a U2, and she let’s loose at some of the most worst moments. Normally when shes on my shoulder… But she can be better then a watchdog 🙂


  22. 4evered / Jul 2 2010 1:57 pm

    Here I thought I was alone in this world with hearing loss in left ear. Do you ever get tired of saying “huh” when it’s your family talking and not loud enough for you to hear. And they have know for years your half deaf. That’s gotta be my major complaint about my hearing loss. Guess we all need to get a parrot, it may make others talk up for us to hear them over our shoulder percher.


  23. Crissy / Jul 2 2010 2:02 pm



  24. sweetlovelylife / Jul 2 2010 2:08 pm

    Great post…:D


  25. Abby / Jul 2 2010 2:38 pm

    I’m almost deaf in one ear as well. Know exactly what you’re talking about! One of my musician friends is especially sensitive to sounds, to the point where he can’t fall asleep at night. I was happily thinking about the fact that being deaf in one ear means I don’t hear those sounds if I can choose not to. (Ear to the pillow…) Great post!


    • Liz Johns / Jul 2 2010 11:55 pm

      I’d hate not to be able to fall asleep at night – we’re so lucky us deafos.


  26. janili / Jul 2 2010 3:14 pm

    I have fluctuating hearing loss, one ear worse than the other, because of diabetes. I KNOW exactly what you’re talking about. But my sense of smell seems at its best when my hearing is at its worst. At least I could smell burning before I hear the fire alarm!


  27. akari / Jul 2 2010 6:05 pm

    The way you think is so posivitive and I thought I need to be more positive as well.
    Thank you for sharing this.
    It’s how you think that changes the obstacle you face.


  28. Songbird / Jul 2 2010 6:17 pm

    Such a nice post! Thanks for sharing and I love the pic of your Parrot!


  29. alienhippy / Jul 2 2010 6:28 pm

    I love your positive look on life. I had a small Kakariki Parrot for 10 years he only said hello Po-Po, which was his name. He was quite loud for a small bird. Thank you for your post I enjoyed reading it.


  30. Simon Sim / Jul 2 2010 10:14 pm

    great post 🙂


  31. force factor / Jul 3 2010 1:46 am

    clever! i had a friend whose green parrot would sit on his shoudler and occasionally startle him


  32. squirrelsloveacorns / Jul 3 2010 5:50 am

    Very fun to read, glad you are able to find positive aspects to being deaf in one ear.
    Thank you for sharing!


  33. kawanlama95 / Jul 4 2010 11:11 am

    because deaf make themselves into uncomfortable and this serious disorder should be examined just as in the past to let doctors


  34. waleed / Jul 6 2010 7:48 am

    Better to be deaf in one ear to alleviate noise
    This to the only healthy


  35. 2 Guys, 1 Blog / Jul 8 2010 8:32 pm

    Haha pitch this as a movie idea!


    • Liz Johns / Jul 8 2010 11:24 pm

      Good idea – I’ll be writing to Peter Jackson shortly 🙂


  36. watch movies / Jul 10 2010 12:19 am

    Funny post. Thanks for sharing


  37. Diane / Oct 24 2010 4:42 pm

    I really enjoyed your story, I am also deaf in one ear and I always sleep on the good side, so I know exactly what you mean. However I think I’ll pass on getting a parrot for now, lol, but I keep this in mind. I also have a hubpage about my experiences with my deafness, I would love for you to stop by at:

    Thanks alot I really enjoyed it.


  38. Dahlen / Sep 7 2011 4:46 am

    Superb post, please do write more posts!


  39. ginkgo biloba tinnitus dosage / Apr 20 2012 6:29 pm

    Its like you read my thoughts! You seem to grasp a lot about this, like you wrote the e-book in it or something. I think that you can do with some p.c. to pressure the message home a little bit, however instead of that, that is magnificent blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.


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