Lost in music trivia

Have you ever played music trivia games? You know, where you go to some bar that’s hosting a music trivia night, and they have a really loud announcer there barking out orders, and people sit around and listen to the song that’s being played and try to guess who sings it? Yeah, me neither…

Well, last night, a friend of ours wanted to go play music trivia with his girlfriend. So my boyfriend and I decided to go with him. We figured we’d eat dinner with them and chat for a bit and then leave when they started to get into the game. I knew this, and I thought I was mentally prepared for the evening. I was thinking, “Loud, noisy bar. Check. Lots of screaming people. Check. Music in the background I may or may not be able to hear over all the other ruckus. Check.” I was ready for it.

Apparently I wasn’t ready enough. We had a horrible waitress and by the time we got to order drinks we were already irritated with her. I asked if they could make a mojito, to which she replied, “Sure! But not frozen. On the rocks ok? With salt?” Out of the corner of my eye I saw the other people at the table react to her statement. So I repeated what I said: “mojito” not “margarita.” She goes “OHHH… Got it.” When we ordered food, I ordered a cheeseburger, with cheddar cheese, and fries. She responds, “you want fries AND cottage cheese??” Everyone else at the table said they understood me perfectly, so they didn’t know what her problem was. But I felt… a whole mixture of emotions, I guess. Thoughts like this were running through my mind: What was wrong with me? Was I not speaking clearly enough? Can people not understand me like I thought they could? It was not a good start to the evening.

So, the bar becomes increasingly louder as we eat. I’m attempting to lipread around mouths full of food, glassware, and napkins. I catch less than one percent of what people say. I start watching the televisions. They’re showing the Pro bowl game and the Winter X games. None of the televisions have captioning on them. My boyfriend is nicely trying to draw me into conversation and keep me in the loop. I appreciate his efforts, but last night it just wasn’t enough. It wasn’t him, by any means, but I just wanted, for once, to just understand.

Finally, the music trivia game starts. ALL the televisions are still going, ALL the conversation is still going, AND the guy gets on a microphone and starts yelling through it. It was the most ridiculous thing ever and my hearing aid absolutely rejected it all. It was one loud mass of noise. Pure static. No comprehension anywhere. The guy on the mic stops speaking and every single head at my table cocks an ear upwards and gets that faraway look on their faces as they listen to the song being played. I cannot hear the song over everything else that is going on. So we sit there, locked in place as the seconds drag by until one of them bugs their eyes out and shouts “{unintelligible name of band}!”

Oh. I hadn’t thought of that part… they are all shouting out the name of the band they think is playing the song. Yeah, that’s real easy. Lipread the crazy made-up name of some band you’ve never heard of. I can do that in my sleep. (Yes, that whole line is dripping with sarcasm there…)

At that point, I just had it. I couldn’t take it anymore. I looked at my boyfriend and basically demanded we leave. It wasn’t a very nice exit, but I had to get out of there. I was just drowning in static and lost in noise. My brain was being suffused with noncomprehension. I HAD TO LEAVE.

Walking out of that bar into the cold silence of the winter night was the highlight of my entire weekend. I could breathe again. I could hear the wind whipping around my head. I wasn’t lost. I knew exactly what was going on around me. I could feel the ground under my feet again. I knew who I was.


Despite preparing myself mentally for that night of music trivia, it’s really hard to prepare yourself for the unexpected things that can break you down. It’s hard to know what to do in a situation like that. It’s not like people could interpret music. And if they don’t know what the song is, because that’s the point of the game, how are they going to inform you of it? I thought about it afterward, as my boyfriend asked what he could have done to make it better for me, and I really had no answer to give him. I couldn’t think of anything that would have improved the situation. Sure, there could have been captioning on the televisions. We could have had a nicer waitress. But when it comes to playing music trivia, there really isn’t anything that could be done.

Have you ever been in a situation like that, where you just couldn’t handle the “being hard of hearing” aspect of yourself? Where the situation was harder than anything you’ve been in before and you just didn’t know what to do? Please share!



8 thoughts on “Lost in music trivia

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Lost in music trivia « HLAA – the Kansas City Chapter -- Topsy.com

  2. Sarah – Good post! A few years ago, my family went to a restaurant where the server struggled to keep up with orders. He brought people the wrong food and explained that it must have been the cook’s fault. This happened at every table in his section. I could tell the server was embarrassed with himself, but trying to put on a brave face despite his flushed cheeks. Years ago I waited tables, so I went easy on the guy. It’s a demanding job. But it also got me wondering. Could that server hear well? Was he trying to cover up for his compromised ability to hear his customers? What if the waitress, who thought you said “margarita,” was trying unsuccesffuly to lip read you in the noisy restaurant?

    • I suppose it’s very possible that she did have a hearing loss, but it seemed to me it was more that she was just a lousy waitress. Of course, I wasn’t really paying much attention to her; I was too busy analyzing myself. As for your experience, someone who messes up every order DOES seem to have a possible hearing loss. It’s amazing how many people just don’t realize, or maybe are in denial, about their hearing loss.

    • Dan – I actually have an absolutely WONDERFUL boyfriend of six years. If you had read the entire post, you would have seen my comments about him asking me what he could have done to make the evening better for me. Yes, he is hearing, and therefore doesn’t always realize what things may or may not affect me. BUT, he is very willing to do what I need to make communication better. As I said in my post, I honestly don’t know how a night of music trivia could have been improved upon for someone who cannot hear. He left with me when I asked. What more could I have asked of him?

  3. About six months ago, I went to a silent auction at my church. I brought a $25 item to contribute. I did not go with a friend, but just thought I would try to meet some new people in the ladies group as it was a woman’s function that night. I went around the room just looking at the items at the beginning of the night just to see what was there so I would know which I wanted to make a bid on. In the church newsletter, it said bidding would close at 9pm. So I sat and talked with some of the ladies till about 8:25 and decided to use the restroom and then I would go put a bid on what I wanted. When I came out, they were pulling all the tags on the items and calling the winners. I asked someone what was going on. They said they announced that the bidding was going to close at 8:30 instead of 9pm. They had been yaking at the mic on and off so I did not ask what everything was being said. They apparently announced it earlier in the evening. It was a bummer. I felt just like you did. I just wanted to leave. So, I left with nothing. I did not want to be rude to the ladies, but went home and told my family what happened. I just tried to chalk it up to leave happy that I gave the woman’s group an nice donation.

    • Thanks for sharing Terri! Microphones are the worst… I totally cannot understand speech through microphones. I don’t know how hearing people do it! I hope you were able to meet some of the ladies while you were there. As you grow closer to them, maybe they will understand better and you’ll have an easier time at the next silent auction. I find it so hard to communicate things like that with a new group of people. It’s scary too… 🙂

  4. Pingback: Guest column: Lost in Music Trivia « The Hearing Blog

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