Month: August 2013

But…I don’t know what you can hear


Today at physical therapy I was getting electrical stimulation at the same time I was getting ice packs.  Of course, I know when the stimulation goes off because the current goes away.   I do know that the machine beeps because if I’m close enough and it is on my “good side” then I can hear it.  However, it is quite often noisy there and that masks small, high sounds. Many times I don’t hear a thing, even though the machine stops zapping me.

After a few minutes of waiting I started divesting myself of the ice packs, which I found particularly frigid today.   Brrrr!  I finally asked my PT – who was working with another patient – to please unhook me as I had no idea where to find the clear plastic thing the electrodes stick to.  She and another fellow who works there told me I should tell them when the machine beeps because they might not hear it.

I responded that I have no idea what they can or cannot hear.  They tend to forget that just because I speak “normally” doesn’t mean I can hear what they hear.  When I do hear, I frequently make assumptions about what is being communicated to me.  When I leave the PT I know they are wishing me a good night or good weekend when I go out the door and I hear the sounds of voices.  So I wish them the same.  We early deafened HoH people are generally quite good at piecing together various bits and bobs of sound and making sense of them, but it doesn’t mean I can understand what someone else hears.

Reminds me of the Christmas song, “Do you hear what I hear?”  Um, no, actually, I don’t.  So if you are fully hearing, realize that those of us with less than perfect hearing really have very little idea what you can and cannot hear.  We guess a lot.

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It’s all perspective in the end


I “hear” hearies railing about how deafies don’t listen and deafies railing about how hearies drive them nuts – and then there are the HoH who consider themselves “hearing impaired” which the Deaf find offensive since they are merely deaf, not impaired.  There are the Deaf enough to be Deaf Culture and the deaf who are not Deaf Culture and then the Deaf who are idolized for coming from generations of Deaf parents and grandparents.  The Deaf find the deaf annoying and usually are totally anti-CI and then the CI crowd finds the Deaf who don’t believe in CI’s to be old sticks in the mud.  So there!  Sounds like life happening.  🙂

What brought up this stream of consciousness is Baby Dog.  I take ‘Kinley out to “potty” several times a day.  Unlike some areas of the country, we have lots of bugs – honey bees, wasps (some absolutely gigantic!), and also bumblebees.  Now, bumblebees are the giants of the bee kingdom, in general.  And when they are bumbling from one clover flower to the next they can give Baby Dog quite a start.  I got to thinking.  That bumblebee is as big as her nose.  Maybe a bit bigger.  Can you imagine a bumblebee as big as YOUR NOSE flying up to say “Hello!“?

Yeah, me neither.  No wonder she jumps and runs.  If I had a bee that size come over to bid me a good morning I’d probably wonder if this were Jurassic Park or something.  It is bad enough with the wasps that are the size of half-dollars (I kid thee not).  They occasionally terrorized the 17 year old granddaughter when she tries coming in the front door.  I didn’t believe her until I saw one myself.

So, as with virtually all things, it is all a matter of perspective.  From my perspective she is just perfect, but I think from her perspective she’d like to be a bit bigger than the bumblebees.

Note:  Follow the link to learn more about the bumblebee.  They are really quite remarkable creatures!

Dog Talk


I think I mentioned a time or two before that my daughter has a mental health therapy dog who is very productive for folks who are depressed or suffering from stress.  However, she’s also a very bright and adaptive little gal and she’s figured out that I participate in Dog Talk, also known as Speaking Dog.  Her Mom hasn’t really seen us in action before and was flabbergasted when she saw “Baby Dog” (my pet name for her) and me Dog Talking.

When I came in the door I instantly knew Baby Dog needed out.  Her Mom said she’d never seen her that totally focused on anyone. Not long after Baby Dog started talking to me by first lying in front of me to catch my eye, staring at me, and then, when I acknowledged her, doing a very energetic dance to let me know she had to go out NOW.  She’s never done that with her Mom or anyone else.  Just me.  Why?  It’s Dog Talk.  Dogs talk with bodies – they’re largely visual communicators, although they pant, leave scent trails, whine, bark, and make other noises.  Baby Dog (aka ‘Kinley) knows I can’t hear her half the time, but I’m the visual one in the house.

Need food?  Walk to Grandma, walk to the dish (which can be out of my sight in another room) repeat until the old lady gets up to see what the message is (anyone remember Lassie doing this?).  Water – ditto.  Go out – catch the eye and do a dance – the level of desperation in the dance tells me whether to run for the door or wait for the leash.  She also does a more energetic dance if I need to take the dog poo bag.  And Baby Dog can do no wrong so it a very positive feedback environment for her.

Her Mom was highly entertained and wondered why only I get this very focused and full body communication treatment.  Because only *I* pay attention to her in an almost totally visual way.  Her Mom wishes Baby Dog ‘Kinley would communicate with her as well when she needs to go out.

In addition, she lets me know when someone is at the door with a bounce off my leg (at her weight a little dog bounce is no problem) and, of course, I can hear a modicum of her bark.

She’d make a fantastic hearing ear dog.  But she’d miss her other family pack members too much if she got certified as a hearing ear dog and left with me when, someday, I move on.  But it just goes to show that the size of the dog is irrelevant unless one needs a dog to help steady the hearing impaired person – as in the case of Meniere’s.

Spy vs. Spy – Hearing versus Hard of Hearing


Recently I determined that I’d had another hearing loss milestone – I can’t find the “click” associated with a turn signal. So when I had my new fancy-schmancy earmold fixed I had my hearing aid sound levels tweaked.  It got raised a couple of notches.  In a quiet environment it was about the same, but I knew once I was out in the world it would be quite different – and it was.   I’m not sure I hear the “click” any better, but I do hear a lot more than I did before.  Maybe I’ll find the click in the noise.

Today I went to a spiritual gathering where about 13 folks congregated.  Hearing during the meeting is always exciting (meaning I miss a lot of what is said) but  the increased sound levels were helpful.  When people talk with their hands obscuring their mouths I simply don’t listen to whatever they have to say – besides, generally they are not talking to me anyway.

After the meeting is always a big pot luck.  Today, as always, the sound ended up being overwhelming.  It is like seeing a tsunami come at you – you can’t outrun it and there’s no point in trying to negotiate with it.  No one else even notices it.  In fact, they’re surfing while I go down for the third time.  Glub.

Being around a big group of hearing people means they will start off talking “normally” (whatever that is), but as time goes on it is as if they’re in a bar – the voices get louder and louder.  I’m always amazed when little people end up bellowing over the entire table –  size has nothing to do with the set of pipes on a person.  🙂

About half way through my head was pounding (noise headache) and I took off my hearing aid and decamped to another part of the “great room.”

I have no idea how hearies do it.  It’s like tossed salad – a carrot shred, a piece of iceburg lettuce, a radish slice, a dandelion green, and some salad dressing – only it is words being flung through the air.  “Iceland blue salt cream whale thank corn pulled rice,” I hear.  “Soft duck bird lamb sale mud zombie blue sulpher potato.”  Urgh.  Word salad.  “You pie want chicken dish salty spa volcanic balsamic pork chocolate gluten.” 

While a dozen signers (ASL) might have six conversations going I can drop into and out of them by paying attention to the signer.  No can do with hearing people – it is all or nothing.  I’m told if I’d always been able to hear I could join up and drop out of conversations by switching channels (sort of), but all I hear is, “Do you bug seven ocean fish butter.”  Oy vey.

And all this being said, hearies are who they are and this is how they communicate.  Deafies and the Hard of Hearing focus so much on communications that we are actually much more skilled communicators in many ways.

A Brief Discussion on C.I. Debate with Jean F. Andrews


An excellent article by Jean F. Andrews regarding CI technology and the Deaf Community.

By BitcoDavid

There appears to be an ongoing debate on the value of Cochlear Implant technology within the Deaf community. Many people see these devices as a threat to ASL. Others believe its an attempt by the medical community and other hearing people to fix what isn’t broken. Still others feel that C.I.s can enhance the living experience of Deaf people with no detriment to either their Signing ability or their community.

Many doctors refuse to implant Deaf children who are not already oral. They believe that the child will continue to Sign, and that the opportunity to learn oral language will be squandered. Often parents of Deaf children are told that once the child is implanted, the family must stop using Sign altogether, hoping that immersion will force the child into speech.

Also raised, is the question of filtering. We learn to hear. We learn…

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The Happiest Dog in the World


So often with advocacy blogs we end up sounding like we are harping on a topic, which can be a turn off to others.

So I thought I’d change the subject and talk about The Happiest Dog in the World.

Thanks to Scarrie24 of Photobucket

Her name is McKinley and she’s named after the largest mountain in North America.  Why?  Because her heart is big as that grand peak that rises straight up 18,000 feet out of the surrounding plain.  Unlike Denali (the Athabascan name for it that means “Great One”), McKinley’s heart is not made of granite, but of joy and love – all 7 pounds of her.

Yup, that’s right, she’s a mix of mini-Doxie and Jack Russell and the mini really went small on her.  She’s both lovely to look at and light as a feather to hold.  Besides that, when the creator of dogs made her extra helpings of love and joy were added to make her extra-special.

Several months ago, ‘Kinley was designated a “mental health” companion dog.  She’s got a vest and everything.  But she’s really missed her calling.  She’s the dog that lets me know there is someone at the door. She’s started acting as my hearing ear dog – she’s got it that she needs me to watch her.  She trained herself in no time flat.  At night she checks on everyone in the house to make sure we’re all safe.  She also breaks up fights when the cats get into it with each other. “No unhappiness in this house!”  But when it storms out, she is a scared little dog – the only time she isn’t happy.

Other dogs might like to play tug of war and growl and play fight.  McKinley isn’t interested.  She wants to cuddle up and give you love.   Now and then she’ll pick up her stuffed dog and give it a shake, but then it is “pals forever” and she lays down with it.  When she’s not being a cuddle bug she loves to go for a walk.  And let me tell you, you’ve never SEEN a happy dog until you’ve walked with ‘Kinley.  Sometimes I let her walk ahead and even her little butt is happy!  Every step is a tail wag and every step has a little skip to it.

I’ve met lots of happy dogs.  I’ve met dogs who smile.  I’ve met lots of really great dogs.  But in all my life, I’ve never met a dog with as much sheer joy in life as ‘Kinley.

Her former “Dad” didn’t like her – at all.  He tried. She drove him nuts. When Mom and Dad got a divorce she ended up with Dad for a long time.  It was sad, because she ended up rejected.  Then one day we were able to have her certified as a mental health companion dog and now she and her Mom will always be able to be together.

Maybe the reason she is so happy is that she lives with 5 people – 6 sometimes – who love her to pieces.  She greets everyone with great joy when we come in the door and she lets us know she’s going to miss us while we’re gone.  If you’re sad, she’s there to make your day brighter.  If you’re hurt, she’s there to soothe your pain (she used to lay her head gently on my broken shoulder) or your broken heart.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why her former Dad didn’t like her – even a little bit.  She’s brimming over with love and joy.  Maybe he likes the opposite?  That would be sad.  But he does have another dog he loves, so I guess it just wasn’t a good fit.  Although, ‘Kinley loves him even if he doesn’t like her.  Dogs are better about that than people are.

She’s right beside me now.  Sleeping on a blanket I told her she could use.  Resting after a nice brushing and a canned food and tuna treat (burp!).

When, someday, I move away and don’t see her as much, I will miss her so much.  She’s my grand-dog and while the grandkids will grow up and go on to their own lives, ‘Kinley will always be a little love bug full of great joy and able to bring happiness to others.

She’d make a great “hearing ear” dog for the Deaf, but she’d miss her Mom and new Dad and the kids too much.  Too bad we can’t clone her “I’m the happiest dog in the world” personality.