Everyone has good days and bad days; we probably all have strategies for coping with that. I’ve found it useful to have specific strategies for bad hearing days – those times when there has been an embarrassing misunderstanding or some other depressing hearing loss-related event. Mainly I feel (about my hearing) “I can cope with this”, but sometimes I wobble (I’m sure everyone does). Over time I’ve learnt that the best way to recover my equilibrium is to do things I love that don’t involve my ears.
I lose myself in a good book. I cook. I watch a favourite TV programme or a DVD (with subtitles). Curled up on the settee with my husband, watching a subtitled film, is a great way to remember that life is good. I write – this blog for example – or do some more research into the history of our house (nobody talks online, or in the library).
Or – a favourite – I take our dog for a long walk. Our dog, Izzy, is not a specially trained hearing dog for deaf people. She’s just a normal dog. But she is great company, as a hugely enthusiastic walking companion. And she never says anything! So a walk with her is just what I need on a bad hearing day.
For one of my favourite walks you leave the house and head down the hill to the bottom of the little valley we live in. There is then a steep climb, through fields, up the other side. It is steep enough, and long enough, to get your heart pounding and lungs working (if you are me anyway, Izzy trots along easily, breathing normally). Nearly at the top, when you think you MUST have a rest, there is a bench to sit on. The views from there are tremendous and you get your breath back.
A little further on, you reach a track across a wide expanse of rough moorland pasture. This leads eventually to a quiet lane, heading back down hill to another village. I love this lane. You’ve done all the hard work of the walk now and can just stride along, admiring the view. On a clear day you can see Ingleborough (one of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks), some 20 miles away.
Back at the valley bottom a disused railway track leads back to our village. Izzy has been on the lead all the time so far, because of the sheep in the fields and the (very few) vehicles on the lane, but now she can be off the lead and have a good run. We usually divert into her favourite field (no livestock) so she can charge about, chase balls and have a drink in the stream.
Then back home, feeling massively better. I find it impossible to feel fed up after a good long walk in beautiful countryside. My “I can cope with this” programme is thoroughly re-booted.
Do you have survival strategies for bad hearing days?