Hard of Hearing in the world

Can you actually understand anyone with the radio playing?” I ask my roommate.  I have to ask because once the radio is on in her car I am swamped with noise.  I can’t distinguish her voice from the singers and instruments and I can’t lip read her. She turns off the radio and says she’s got no problem talking to another hearing person in the car – they can talk over the radio and understand each other with it on.  I’m baffled.  Later I remarked that if the radio speaker on the right side was off (in the door) and she had the radio coming only from her door (the left) that she’d be closer than the speaker and I might have a chance of hearing her – or not.  We’ll try that next time.

At a store a clerk accidentally rang up one item twice.  I repeat over and over (in what I’m guessing is a normal tone of voice) “You rang up an item twice.” She’s looking at the register and then turns around and says, “It’s not working.  Did you swipe the card?” I tell her twice more about the problem with the double ring up until she suddenly gets it.  At that point I realize I’m not the only HoH person in this verbal transaction – she can’t hear me any better than I can hear her.

One night I was almost t-boned by a police car rocketing out of the Littleton, Massachusetts cop shop.  One moment it was dark and the next second the blue flashing lights filled my visual world.  I jam on the brakes and head for the side of the road (with a day surgery patient in the passenger’s seat) and freak out because I didn’t hear the siren. (I’m afraid I’m losing more hearing or my hearing aid has a problem.)   The passenger says I didn’t hear the siren because there wasn’t one – the police vehicle waited until the end of the driveway to turn on the lights.  A few minutes later another cop car comes roaring up behind, flipping lights and sirens on just before reaching my car and scaring the snot out of me all over again.  If not for the passenger I’d have been convinced both my night vision and hearing were failing.

I realize that when I pull up to a drive-through window everything except the motor in my car goes off.  No music, no AC or heat, no noise of any kind.  I can’t handle any additional noise.  Sometimes passing cars cause so much noise I can’t hear the people inside and I have to drive to a window.  And then I see the offer of a braille menu (for us deaf/blind folks who drive?) and it always causes me to wonder who would use a braille menu in a drive-through.  I got news, if I need a braille menu I have no business driving!


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