While I have a personal belief that 'normal' is a much overrated human parameter, I do understand the desire to be like everyone else. The problem is that if you have an AN you're not like everyone else. You're hanging out on the edge of the statistical bell curve in the land of the single digit percentage. Normal can usually be better thought of as 'normal for me' versus 'normal as compared to others.' Your mission, whether you chose to accept it or not, is to become comfortable with your new normal.
I have some thoughts on parts of your post...not advice (trust me, taking advice from me generally turns out to be a very iffy proposition), just a relating of my thoughts.
Wanting to be left alone... Yep, that happens. For me it's a matter of needing 'think' time. Before the surgery, it was thinking about all the stuff I had read and been told about AN's and their effects. After the surgery, it was thinking about how to meet the various challenges plus plotting on how to overcome those challenges. Plotting takes time, but you can shorten that time by conspiring. That's why these forums exist...so we can conspire to overthrow the challenges (and occasionally a despot or two.)
Venting.... Yep, that happens. And it should. People actually tell you "You're just venting."? If so, I'm thinking one response might be, "Yes, I am. Thanks for letting me vent, I really needed that. You're a good friend." One more reason why these forums exist... a place to vent to folks that know there is a need to vent. Vent away.
Explaining.... Yep, that happens. How I explain, and how much I explain depends a lot on the circumstances. I suppose at one time I was a bit conscious about asking people to repeat things they said..but I've had some hearing loss for a long time and it doesn't bother me anymore. I've adjusted to thinking that if it was important enough for them to say it to me, then it should be important enough for me to actually understand what they were saying and they shouldn't have a problem repeating it. A statement of fact, "I can't hear anything on one side." is not a request for pity, it's simply a statement of fact. Will some folks still pity you...probably, but you can't control what other people think. They will think what they will think..if you didn't explain and didn't try to understand those same people would probably think other equally unkind things. Sometimes in noisy environments I misunderstand what people say and make replies totally unconnected to the subject. Other times I understand what they said and still make a reply totally unconnected to the subject (and usually a bit outrageous) just to see the look on their faces.
Again, none of the above should be considered advice. You should also know that recently a student in the high school where I teach was asked the definition of "eccentric." That student immediately replied, "That's how Mr. Migoi acts." Not only did the other students agree with that, it also was an acceptable answer on the end of the week vocabulary test. So proceed at your own risk in following the above information.
..thanks for being...migoi