I have been deaf since I was in my early thirties. It is a family thing. I did not start using a hearing aid until about twenty years ago. Why? Because my hearing loss is a mild one and I thought that by wearing an aid I would just become lazy at listening. (Does that make sense to you?)
I had new hearing aids about six months ago and had my hearing checked. It has not deteriorated at all. I was astonished as I would have sworn it had got much worse.
No. What has got worse is my ability to listen. When one is slightly deaf the temptation is to not try and listen very hard, so that eventually one really forgets how to listen. Most information floats over one's head and if one really needs to hear something then a dig in the ribs and intense concentration are needed. Yes, I had still become lazy at listening.
When I was teaching, long before I had a hearing aid, my class in Comprehensive school knew that during the calling of the register they had to sit still - no chair scraping, shuffling etc. or I would get really ratty. As a reward for this throughout the term I would always provide goodies for the last afternoon - sweets, crisps and the like. Bribery - yes - blatant bribery, but it worked a treat.
Now, there are some things which I find very difficult to come to terms with - here is a list. You might find it useful to bear in mind if you have deaf friends or family.
1. Walking down the lane with the dog, it is terrifying if a cyclist whizzes past, just missing me (so far). I have not heard him/her coming and could easily have stepped into the path. Moral here -
why is it not compulsory for cyclists to have a bell on the bike? Sometimes I feel like pinning a large notice on my back saying DEAF, MAKE ME AWARE THAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO PASS.
2. Music is distorted. Hearing all the parts in orchestral music becomes difficult and the real joy of listening goes. I play the piano to a reasonable standard but before I start I have to strike doh several times in all the octaves, so that I establish the key really well. Otherwise I am half way through the piece before I am really hearing it correctly.
3. We have an Aga in our kitchen. On very windy days (like today), when the wind is in a certain direction, the noise of it in the Aga chimney is dreadful. It becomes so very tiring and I have to switch my hearing aid off.
4. In a room full of people a hearing aid is useless. What it does is to amplify everyone's voice, so that nobody's voice can be picked out.
Yes, wearing a hearing aid is certainly an improvement on not hearing, but it doesn't solve all the problems. Still, at least I don't live in the age when I would have had to go around with an ear trumpet. (although - if you have been following my blog and know that I am intent on updating my image for Spring - thinking about it, it might have been rather dashing. Rather like wearing a large purple hat with pink roses on it and sod what people think!)