Amazingly, it is a year since I started blogging. The first post on More Than A Bit Deaf was on 22 February 2016. I’m still enjoying it hugely. And I’m learning. The more I read about deafness (other people’s blogs, Facebook groups, things I look into to research the topic of a post) the more I realise that everyone experiences their hearing loss in a different way. We have different stories to tell, different preferences and different ways of coping.
Some of these differences are big ones, like the “Deaf or deaf” differences talked about in last week’s post. Some are more trivial. For example, I’ve learnt that some people take their hearing aids out to relax. They write about getting home after a busy day, or after some stressful deafness-related experience, and they whip their hearing aids off. “Phew”, they write, “what a relief. What bliss to sit there in the peace and quiet.”
I can’t conceive of doing that. I might occasionally switch mine off to avoid a very loud sound (babies screaming on the train, our food processor grinding nuts….) but normally my hearing aids stay in from when I wake up in the morning until I put my head on the pillow at night. Without them I feel disoriented. I feel as if I’m not really me.
As I’ve written before, I consciously do things that don’t involve my ears when I’m having a bad day in the hearing department. But I leave my hearing aids in. I want to still hear cars passing and the dog barking (yep, even the dog barking makes me feel part of things). The noise I hear through my hearing aids is not the sound hearing-people hear but I’m used to it and I rely on it. Indeed, I LIKE that noise.
But we’re all different and maybe I’m the odd one out here, rather than everyone else. For example, Nigel and I have recently been participating in a programme assessing how people with hearing loss and their partners cope. This involves both of us filling in periodic on-line questionnaires the most recent of which (for the hearing loss participants) had many, many questions about how often we take a break from sound to relax. Tick box options ranged from “very frequently” to “seldom or never”. I was constantly in the “seldom or never” category, however the question was posed. It will be interesting to find out eventually what the conclusions of the study tell us.
So how about you? Do you take your hearing aids out to relax? In what circumstances? Does it help?
(Quick PS – I was amused to have my hearing-aid-wearing-hours confirmed by an audiologist once, when he was adjusting the settings on the computer programme for my Phonak Nathos aids. “Well done”, he said “you are wearing your hearing aids 16 hours a day”. I can see the point of giving audiologists the facility to do this. When I worked in retirement housing I was constantly encouraging people to actually wear their hearing aids and not leave them in their bedside cabinet. Just don’t tell the privacy campaigners.)