Today is four weeks since switch on. Here’s where things are.
My ability to understand speech has dramatically improved. I still ask people to repeat things and I am still lip reading (I doubt I will ever stop) but the feverish concentration whenever I’m trying to follow speech has gone. It is as if the most extraordinary weight has lifted off my shoulders. I can just TALK to people, with so much less effort. Continue reading →
In late October Nigel and I were on holiday in Ethiopia. It was a group holiday, which isn’t a great idea when you are really struggling with your hearing, but it had been booked and paid for prior to the hearing decline of 2017 described in earlier posts. Overall, we had a fantastic time, but mealtimes were a nightmare. I could talk to one person at a time in a quiet location, but when other people joined the conversation I was lost. Put me round a table with a dozen people chatting to each other and it was utterly hopeless.
One of the best things I’ve read about deafness recently is on the SayWhatClub website. Michele Linder and Chelle Wyatt (Michele and Chelle) write posts about lip reading but, as they rightly point out, you can’t lip read unless people are looking at you, speaking at a reasonable speed, standing in a good light (and so on) and THAT doesn’t happen, more often than not, unless we take charge of the situation and ask for what we need. So their latest post is less about the mechanics of lip reading and more about how comfortable we are (or are not) with our hearing loss and making other people aware of it.
I probably wouldn’t be big on eating out even if my hearing was good (I love to cook) but meals out when you can’t hear certainly have their challenges.
Problem one – Busy, noisy pubs, restaurants and cafes with lots of hard surfaces for the sound to bounce off (tiled floors, tables without table cloths, windows without curtains). It’s hard to believe the difference that soft furnishings make to speech comprehension if you have hearing loss, but it’s true. They absorb a lot of the clatter and make speech much easier to understand. Open plan restaurant kitchens are a particular disaster – all that rattling of pots and pans and the shriek of the coffee machines. I’m picturing Pizza Express as I write this. I like Pizza Express, but the acoustics can be terrible. Continue reading →
Recently I had a check-up at the dentist. Dentists’ surgeries are not hearing-loss-friendly environments. The main problem is the dentist’s mask. Lip reading? Impossible. Then there are all those hygienic hard surfaces, perfect for creating a noisy, echoing environment and disastrous, therefore, for making sense of speech. Also presenting a challenge are the plastic goggles they give you when water-spray equipment is being used in your mouth. Continue reading →
Last week I had my follow up appointment at the Ear Nose and Throat Department, after my blocked ears saga. The outcome of the visit was that I was referred for another cochlear impact assessment, of which more in another post some other time. Today’s post is about the process of waiting and queuing,
I arrived at the hospital incredibly early because parking is a nightmare. Public transport isn’t an option. From where I live it would mean taking two buses and one train, with a probable journey time of about two and a half hours each way. That’s if you ever got there at all. Continue reading →
I used to have a work colleague who complained about people saying “could you just?” at work. Could you just check this over for me? Could you just remind me how to do Y? He complained that the sum total of the “could you just” demands on him made big inroads into his productive work time. One “could you just” was such a little thing – how could you refuse? But they add up.
Sometimes I feel a similar thing about the minor irritants of deafness. One such thing – poof! – it’s nothing, taking no time to sort out. But the drip, drip, drip of a series of minor irritants – well, that can get you down.
My recent example of this is so trivial I’m almost embarrassed to tell you about it, but here goes. Continue reading →
Since I’ve starting reading more blogs, websites and Facebook pages about hearing loss I’ve become aware of a wide range of attitudes towards, and experience of, lip reading and lip reading classes.
Some people seem to think lip reading is a miraculous “cure” for deafness. One organisation selling lip reading tuition online markets itself with the words “learn to hear with your eyes and never miss a word again”. Put politely, this is nonsense. Be assured, you can be an excellent lip reader and miss an awful lot. Continue reading →
This post is an antidote to one posted in May – the one called I Give Up. I Give Up was about deciding that some activity or other had passed beyond the realms of the possible. For the sake of your sanity it was best to give up on it and look for new things that you COULD do. The examples I gave were going to the theatre (I find captioned performances pointless because my hearing is now so poor that I have to watch the captions the whole time, completely missing the visual experience of the play) and attending events at a particular local venue. Continue reading →
Since October I’ve been attending an excellent class on Art and Architecture, run by my local University of the Third Age. The tutor, Ian, a retired university lecturer, is knowledgeable and entertaining. A group of about twenty of us meet in a local village hall. It’s great fun, and I’m starting to be able to tell my Baroque from my Bauhaus. (I was starting from a very low base).
About a week ago we had a morning in Leeds, looking at some of the wonderful buildings there. Leeds city centre is a great place – very vibrant and very little affected by the sixties shopping centre monstrosities that are such a blot on the landscape in other towns. It’s well worth a visit. Ian pointed out to us lots of things I’d not noticed before and I had a lovely time.
It did, though, make me aware (again) that you can’t be a shrinking violet if you want to enjoy this sort of thing when you are deaf. Continue reading →