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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Reflection on Hearing Loss

I've Forgotten What It's Like...

to hear the phone ring from another room.

to unintentionally overhear a conversation.

to comprehend the lyrics of a song heard on the radio for the first time.

to sense someone's presence behind me.

to catch the punchline of a joke at the same time as everyone else.

to understand an urgent whispered secret.

to choose a seat in the back of the room.

Hearing people have so many abilities they simply take for granted, but I've forgotten what it's like to be a hearing person.


Jacki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ms toast burner said...

I can relate to this very well, Sarah... It's a real bummer but at least you're not alone in thinking and feeling these things... though, at times it sure feels like it.

I hope that you're feeling ok...

P said...

Nicely put. It made me pause and NOT take these things for granted.

MM said...

I seem to have the reverse of that, I can't get with the deaf thing and carry on my life as if I could still hear....:) OK the hearing clock stopped 20 years ago, but I have enough hearing memory to carry me through the rest of the time... go figure. Forget what it is to hear ? I Know what I will not ! it depends I suppose on WHEN you lost it. It's only when you go deaf you realise lyrics were always written by those who who can only read with their fingers following it one letter at a time lol. You could sell the lords prayer to teens so long as the music was danceable, because kids never listen... probably because they have half-deafened themselves already...

Glenice said...

Thank you for sharing those reflections Sarah. I know how you feel and I know that writing the words whether in a poem or a story helps me.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Thanks for the comments. First let me reassure Ms. Toast Burner that I am OK. I jotted these lines down on a train schedule when I was traveling alone recently and I've finally got around to compiling them.

This is my reality: There's always a frisson of surprise when someone abruptly leaves the room and I realize they're going to answer a phone or doorbell I didn't hear. Recently my dog reacted to something and when I asked my husband he said, "Oh, it's the bugs." Then a beat later, "Can't you hear them?"

The surprise shows on others' faces too like when I'm at a restaurant and completely unaware that a waitress has asked me a question. My friends point it out to me but there's a look on their faces that betrays their surprise. This also happened to me when I dropped some change while paying at a cashier in a noisy cafeteria. I was completely unaware of it until my friend pointed it out with that same look on her face.

I wonder if I've had some measure of hearing loss for far longer than I realize because I can't remember when I was able to do these things. Surely when I was a teenager I knew the words to the popular songs but after that I'm not so sure. Unlike MM, I really don't remember being able to do the things I mentioned and I seem surprised now when others can do them. Perhaps my mind is going as well or perhaps it's part of my personal adjustment to a new identity as a deaf person.

Thanks for letting me share these thoughts with you.

All the best as always,

ms toast burner said...

Good to hear that you're OK Sarah.

MM said...

Well Sarah it is said the reason I don't forget I was hearing is because I have never fully adopted the deaf aspect. In mitigation, not that I need to do that ! I have always maintined as much link as possible with hearing 'peers' and they ARE peers because I was hearing at one time too. I accepted my deafness, but never capitualted to the whole concept of it. i.e. the deaf sign/lip-reading thing and 'community' aspect never took precedence. MY own view at pretty much day one, was if I did that then I would be completely divorced from the things that made me really happy. I would become insualr, stop meeting with friends I had know all my life, started using communications they wouldn't understand, go to places they have no desire to etc. So its been a fine balancing act. Acquired deaf sit in the middle, we can't do anything else. It depends what you want to settle for... I'm 'deaf', in most aspects, as per hearing, and I'm 'Deaf' and I am the hybrid of the three, it happens ! The isue of not hearing is accepted ! but, there are other ways one can access the hearing side of things. You have tohave the desire to do that, I think many simply cannot summon enough energy to do it, and let the deafness control them.

Anonymous said...

On the other side, I am constantly surprised by what hearing people can hear and what I have never realised makes a sound, such as my dog's metal collar tag clinking - people tell me they know when it's me coming as they hear that sound - which just staggers me.

Good observations!

deafdude said...

Hope this helps:

Can you use a different ringtone? On my cell phone, I hear some ringtones better than others and some I don't hear at all.

When there's a converstation, I simply read lips and if I miss anything I ask them to give me a summary of what they said.

Im sure you hear so many things that other hearing people can't. I looked at your audiogram and your hearing is better than my mom, dad and many other people I know. You are able to hear at 5db in the lows, 10db in the mids.

My mom's always turning the volume on the TV up and it sometimes becomes too loud even for me! I hear the lows with HAs louder than my mom does unaided. Youd hear louder than most people. Youd also be able to pick up very faint sounds(2000Hz and below) before others can.

I can pick faint sounds(250Hz and below) better than some hearing people since my loss in the lows is alot less than in the highs and my powerful HAs have enough amplification.

Thanks again for your post. I love reading your blog and learning about different degrees of hearing loss. Have someone say "S" and "F" are you able to hear the differences? My parants can, even my dad despite an audiogram similar to yours but a little worse. I have no idea what it's like to have better hearing, even with HAs my hearing is poor above 500Hz and pratically zero above 1000Hz. Even a CI won't give me hearing close to you nor my parents. For that, ill have to wait for stem cells(3rd, 4th, 5th generation at that)

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Deaf Dude,

Thanks for your comment. With this post I was trying to express where I'm at with my adjustment to my hearing loss. I enjoy reading blogs of those who have received cochlear implants and are able to hear sounds they had either never heard before or haven't heard for a long time. However my journey is in the opposite direction. My words were a reflection of my surprise at how "deaf" I've become...not exactly in terms of hearing ability but in terms of my own behavior in these everyday situations.

I appreciate your comment very much, especially the part about hearing sounds that hearing people can't. I have honestly never thought of that. As for s and f, I can distinguish between them only under the most ideal circumstances (i.e. with new ear tubes sitting in a quiet audiologist's office).

All the best,

Anonymous said...

As well as some of the things you mention, I also ask myself what is loud now. Because what is loud to one person is different to how I hear. This question I ask myself as it sometimes upsets me when I'm told I'm speaking loud when to me it sounds ok. Yet another time I'm told I'm quiet, which I reply back well I ain't going to shout. (confused I am)