Sunday, 16 March 2014

Hearing.

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!)

16 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Hearing loss is a most depressing and tiresome complaint - or so I understand. No one cares in the least if people wear glasses - but somehow people tend to get irritated when people can't hear.
There is a most interesting article in the current New Yorker about living with a deaf mother. Will send you a link.
We are expecting 'a dusting' of snow for St. Patty's day tomorrow!

Tom Stephenson said...

You have made a huge step forward by admitting that your hearing has become selective in later age. I know many people who say they are a bit deaf, but always hear anything said about them in a whisper.

Cro Magnon said...

I once took my late mother-in-law to a hearing specialist. First he asked her to remove her hearing aid, then spoke to her in a voice that I could hardly hear myself. She heard EVERY WORD.

Sue said...

I empathise entirely Pat. I have worn hearing aids since my mid-thirties. I went out last night to a noisy restaurant and couldn't join in any conversation. It's very interesting what you say about becoming lazy at listening - it takes a huge amount of energy and concentration to hear things so sometimes I admit I 'switch off'. I thought my hearing had become worse but a recent test indicates it's at the same level as previous tests. A condition that's very hard to manage at any age and something I've never really come to terms with.

Willow said...

Thank you for sharing that .
Yes I think an ear trumpet could be the newest rage ! lol

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

It is great that you have the option of a hearing aid - though an ear trumpet, while heavy and bothersome to carry about - might be fun now and then.

jinxxxygirl said...

Pat my husband has worn hearing aids for years or should i say not worn them..... and they are fairly up to date ones. The newer hearing aides can actually help you in a crowd of people . It does not amplify everyone.... but actually lowers background noise... I don't know if those are available to you...... He seems content without his hearing aids.. with what he can and cannot hear....

I get frustrated sometimes that he cannot hear the things i want him to hear... like if the truck is making a funny noise or certain bird sing......

Alot of times its a certain pitch that cannot be heard. My hubby has trouble hearing the higher pitches but does fine in the lower ranges....Hugs! deb

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

Hi Pat,
I have damage to the eighth cranial nerve, and my hearing comes and goes. I agree with you about tuning out. This especially happens to me with cell phones, especially If the other party is using a bluetooth headset, and especially especially if they are driving a car while talking on a bluetooth headset. It's pure mumble to me. After the third time of saying, "I'm so sorry, I can't hear you, I just say uh-huh, uh-huh. Going out for an ear trumpet this afternoon! (P.S. Bicycles behind are terrifying.)

John Gray said...

I have a noticeable hearing loss in my left ear.
Trying to concentrate on a conversation in a pub etc can be hell
My sympathies
X

MorningAJ said...

I think it's possible to stop listening even if you aren't deaf. I know I tune out when my boss speaks!

Gerry Snape said...

I lost hearing last year...went for ages waiting for an appointment at the hearing clinic...five minutes and oh the joy!!...don't know why I put it off for so long...and yes I had become lazy at listening...love the thought of the pink for spring...go for it...welll it's either that or purple you know!"!

Cloudia said...

Thanks for sharing your insights






ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

=^..^= <3

Virginia said...

I thank God I'm living now not 70 years ago. I got my first aid in about 1996. My first aid was "best on the market" When I got my second hearing aid (10 years later) I was told that in that time aids had improved so much that even the cheapest aid was superior to the one I was wearing! And the improvement in the one I've just got is amazing.

Heather said...

I am not deaf but still jump if a cyclist or even a jogger passes me on the footpath suddenly. My husband wears two aids now and can't bear being in a room full of people with several conversations going on at the same time. My mother loved listening to the radio but gave up when music became so distorted. It is sad when even simple pleasures lose their appeal.

ArtPropelled said...

I hope the new hens settle in soon. I have heard of bullying in the farmyard. Our friend was given several beautiful game hens. They were far bigger than the oldies but the oldies bullied them non-stop until my friend decided it would be kinder to send them back. Your hens seem to get along together out in the farmyard so I'm sure they will eventually settle.

lynda said...

I can hear well, but the bikes whizzing silently by, bother me, too. One of these days they will tangle with the dogs leads, and fall and I will raise holy hell...all it requires is a polite wsrning to you....