Advantages of disability

Peter Leith is 89 and describes himself as ‘half-deaf and half-blind’, but he has never been one to dwell on his challenges. Advantages of a disability continues his series of true short stories and observations titled Aspects of Ageing.


Once you start to get over your natural ‘Why is this awful thing happening to me?’ reaction, you will find that failing vision and hearing can have their advantages.  

You are forced to look, listen and think more carefully.   

As far as seeing is concerned, most of us, most of the time, just glance at things long enough to get an impression of them. A vision-impaired person has to look carefully and concentrate to see things at all.

In any case, seeing, unlike talking, is not a competition sport.

When you have to listen hard – and carefully – to hear at all, you soon realise that most people, most of the time, listen to each other just long enough to get their own breath back and have their say.

You will also find that people enjoy conversations with you more than they did before because they are doing most of the talking!


This is one of a series of short stories in a growing collection called Aspects of Ageing.

Do you have a story or an observation for Peter? Send it to [email protected] and put ‘Sunday’ in the subject line.

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