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.