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.