Archive | July 2015

A Discussion of hearing

What did she say???? (photo by Timothy Stark)

What did she say????
(photo by Timothy Stark)

I used to think if you develop a hearing loss, all you need to do is buy a hearing aid, wear it and you’d hear like anyone else. Was I ever wrong! Hearing loss can be very complicated and aids can’t always work magic.

When I suddenly lost the hearing in my right ear, ‘Smarty pants’ here visited a hearing aid dealer to ‘fix it’. I wasn’t going to annoy family and friends by asking them to repeat over and over again. Not me….

It was a surprise and a disappointment. No hearing aid worked. Apparently it depends on where the damage is. Although several times since I’ve tried again, it has not yet been possible for technology to correct the hearing in that ear. (I’m not giving up. Have you ever known me to do that?)

Once upon a time, I didn’t understand why friends who had aids didn’t

Speak up!

Speak up!

always wear them. Thank goodness I was smart enough to keep my big mouth shut even when I thought people who didn’t use their aids were being inconsiderate. (Bless my mom, who taught me to be kind.)

A sense of humour can always help. My late friend Hans once laughed and said ‘I know that’s not what you said, but what I heard was just hilarious!’

Still, I now realize how difficult dealing with hearing loss can be and it isn’t a joke. My working ear no longer functions as well as it used to. My family, bless them, have so far shown patience and understanding, but some of my hard-of-hearing friends are not so lucky. Lack of empathy from those around us, especially those we love, can be devastating.

Well, you probably already know there is nothing shy about me. Ergo, I am not reluctant to talk about my hearing loss. After all, it isn’t like having committed a murder or something. Nor do I mind asking to be seated where I feel I can hear best. People usually will cooperate if we explain. I’ve learned my willingness to be honest about my hearing loss is a plus.

Modern Hearing Aid

Modern Hearing Aid

As part of a class I’m so glad I attended at the Western Institute of

Ear Trumpet, 1860

Ear Trumpet, 1860

the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (WIDHH), an organization serving our community for 60 years, I learned we hard-of-hearing folk have certain rights and responsibilities. I find it interesting.

We are entitled to respect, acceptance, safety and security — and access to information. It is our responsibility to let others know we are hard-of-hearing; to carry some kind of communication device; give instructions on how best to communicate with us; and plan in advance when we can. We also need to educate ourselves about what help is available in the way of amplifiers, devices and signaling technology, and which of these can best serve us. (If a class such as the one I attended is available where you live, do take advantage of it.)

Which situations are workable? Which are not? Loud background noises can make hearing

I'm trying, I'm trying...

I’m trying, I’m trying…

impossible for me. Very soft voices are frustrating and sometimes I find myself avoiding friends whom I can’t hear, not because I don’t like them, but because they are so hard to understand it is exhausting. And, accents accompanied by a soft voice are way off the chart.

I like to see your mouth when you are talking to me — it helps a lot. If you face me, it is much easier. Talk to me from the bedroom when I’m in the kitchen and forget it. It’s all sweet nothings. Cover your mouth and I’ll probably ask you to lower your hand so I can see your lips move. I really do want to know what you’re saying.

Patience young man.

Patience young man.

What does all this mean to family and friends? What can you do to help? Know that we love you. Know we want to see you. We need you in our lives more than ever because hearing loss can be isolating and frightening. We don’t want to be cut off or dismissed, you are more important than ever. Let’s work together to create better understanding for all.

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Who, me worry?

Mom, look I'm telling you 2My friend Sandy once said and I quote: ‘Worry is interest paid on a debt you may not owe.’ I’ve repeated it so often to others and myself that I know it by heart. I worried about using it without acknowledging the clever soul who first came up with it, so I searched my ‘Oxford Dictionary of Quotations’ to find out — without success. I still worried about being sued, so I Googled it. They say Mark Twain said something like it. Mark Twain said lots of stuff worth quoting, so maybe that’s true. He’s dead. He probably won’t sue me. Whew!

Worry is on my mind right now because I’m worried about how hot and dry it has been. I live in a rain forest where it hasn’t rained for far too long. Outside the city, our forests are so dry, fires rage unabated. Our air is so unhealthy, they’ve warned the elderly and those with breathing disorders  to avoid going out. I’m worried. Am I considered elderly? I’m also worried that this is the future.

Besides, where I live the weather used to be considered temperate and many local eating spots are not air-conditioned. It wasn’t necessary. Does this new climate mean I will be limited to only restaurants that are artificially cooled? I don’t do heat well. I’m worried I’ll get bored with the few cafes I KNOW are air-conditioned. I’m also worried about getting cranky and mean because of the heat, which I so don’t like. I’d hate that to happen, but it may — and friends kind enough to put up with me now will all walk away. What splendid worry opportunities, it all terrifies me!

I've lost countless hours of sleep through the years worrying

I’ve lost countless hours of sleep through the years worrying

Worrying is something I’ve always been terrific at. If they had Worry Academy Awards, I’d win for sure, hands down. It’s something I’ve always excelled in. I could list hundreds of worries here

If they gave Academy Awards for worrying, I'd win, hands down

If they gave Academy Awards for worrying, I’d win, hands down

which I’ve lost sleep over through the years, but I’m worried you’d fall asleep before you finished reading all of them.

Maybe this ‘skill’ should be put to use. Perhaps my worrying can help others. Who knows, a new career path may open for me in which I can utilize my excellent worrying abilities. Should I worry about the taxes I’d have to pay on all the business I’d get since I’m such a heroic, wonderful worrier? No matter, since like all big businesses, you, dear reader, are important to me, I’ll take the plunge and worry about it later.

Do take advantage of my remarkable ability to anguish. Give me your worries and worry no more. I’ll do your worrying for you — for a fee of course. Whatever the subject, I can worry about it better than you.

Worried about the Stock Market? Worry no more.

Worried about the Stock Market? Worry no more.

Take your pick: Politics? Family? Stock Market? Jobs? Money? Taxes? Love life? Health? The Greek financial crisis? Aliens? Your car? Kids? Global warming? Environment? Dementia?

Whatever your worry, I’m worrying about it already anyway and have years of experience doing so, so you needn’t bother. I’ll do it for you. Maybe with all the money I’ll earn, I can stop worrying about my children’s lack of any possible inheritance.

The best part is that when I worry for you, you yourself can concentrate on finding clever solutions to all your worries. It’s a win-win situation. Satisfaction guaranteed!