I wear two fine hearing aids and still can’t hear all the sounds and conversations going on around me or directed at me. Living in a lessened- hearing world is a constant challenge. I have done what I can to meet that challenge.
I bring helpers on my adventures. One of my most valuable companions is humor. Sometimes I can say, “I don’t hear everything people say, but I hear things people didn’t say!” This usually elicits a chortle, which might ease others’ nervousness about how to communicate with me.
Another valuable helper is nerve. I often need to ask for repetition of the phrase or words I miss.
I am equally appreciative of my other traveling companions: resourcefulness, courage, strength, persistence, patience and wisdom.
I need courage to ask a question or for repetition. Pretending I know what was said has gotten me into more trouble than asking for clarity.
Strength and resourcefulness have been wonderful companions. Both remind me to use old ways and learn new ways to find solutions I might not have previously had in mind.
Patience: In many situations I hear some of what’s being said and can get the main ideas so I can ask my friends to fill in details later.
Wisdom is a great friend which helps me sort out what to worry about and what not to.
Persistence has been wonderfully useful throughout my lessened- hearing adventures. Recently audio guides were available at a museum. My heart sank. Other guides I had tried hadn't worked for me, with or without my hearing aids, but I thought I would try one more time. Success! They worked.
When I go to a class or an event, I come early to get a seat up front or near the speaker so I can lipread. I choose not to go to most plays and lectures, but I love musicals. Before going, I Google the production and read the plot summary and sometimes the lyrics so I know what to expect and can enjoy the show.
Hooray for closed captions! Cinemark movie theatre has a device which attaches to the chair arm; I can read the dialogue on a small screen and watch the action.
My CapTel telephone has a small screen. A caption operator types the dialogue of incoming calls so I can read what’s being said and get messages.
Yes, I miss a lot. My pet peeves are low-volume speakers and those who don’t seem to care whether listeners hear them. Do they realize that communication is a two-way street? And I often miss punch lines of jokes; everyone else laughs, and I wonder what they’re laughing about.
I hope to raise aural consciousness. Baby boomers might be in their own lessened- hearing worlds. They’ll find technology of some help but not the entire answer.
I truly wish that these challenges weren’t part of my life — but they are. So I stay positive and do the best I can to meet them.