Deutsche sprache mit kaput ohren lernen
September 16, 2020 6:43 AM   Subscribe

Any tips for learning to speak and understand German when half deaf?

Wife and I have been living in Germany for the last 2 years. We've decided that we want to stay long term. After 3 more years, we'll be able to get permanent residency, but need to pass a level B1 German language exam. I have severe hearing impairment in my left ear, and mild impairment in the right.

I can read German OK, at about an A1 level. I can write as well. I can't speak too well (but I'm told I have a perfect accent). Hearing? Forget about it. I have a hard enough time comprehending spoken English. While I'm not an expert lip reader, I rely heavily on facial cues when listening, and have adjusted to the mouth movements of German (in Bavaria, at least), but masks make that moot. My ASL is awful, so DGS will likely be out.

I have a hearing aid, but really, it often just makes things more confusing for me (I think it was a huge waste of a lot of money).

So, any advice? If I want to stay here, I need to be able to communicate at a reasonable level.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts to Writing & Language (3 answers total)
You could start with german audiobooks (especially children's books with slow audio). Something like this.

My hearing/understanding is a bit off with spoken German ( I live in Vienna and the Viennese accent on Austrian German makes it even more difficult to understand). I am also planning to take the official B1/B2 exam for residency purposes in a few months. You can check what percentage of the official exam requires conversational fluency and just cross the bare minimum for that. (I remember with A2, I only had to have two conversations about a picture on the official exams. B1 requires a bit more of a discussion IIRC. However, you can prep for this from the model exams)

Regarding speaking to the locals, I think that's going to take a lot more time than is needed for the official certificates. So, I wouldn't worry about that for now. Working with cochlear implants, I kinda know how hard it is to converse with auditory cues alone, especially in these mask times, so good luck! If I find anything else I will memail you.
posted by ssri at 9:02 AM on September 16

This is more to take a bit of the stress out of it than anything else, but you may be as well to check whether you would be required to do the test and reach B1 - the law says "Von diesen Voraussetzungen wird abgesehen, wenn der Ausländer sie wegen einer körperlichen, geistigen oder seelischen Krankheit oder Behinderung nicht erfüllen kann." (These prerequisites can be disregarded when the foreigner can't fulfill them due to a physical or mental illness or disability.)

It's possible then that you could concentrate more on improving your written German. I found that reading translations of books that I had already read in English and/or kids books was helpful.
posted by scorbet at 9:04 AM on September 16 [1 favorite]

Here is a page on accommodations from the Goethe institute for B1.
posted by ssri at 9:07 AM on September 16

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