hard of hearing

That Voice of Mine


Although my hearing loss is  pre-lingual (18 months old) I apparently had better hearing as a little kid than I have later in life because I picked up speech. I might not have been able to hear everything other people did, but I heard enough that I have a good speaking voice.

Because I have a good speaking voice it seems to confuse people who equate the ability to speak normally with having no hearing loss.

I can’t hear you.”
“Yes you can, you’re talking to me.”

And, no, I don’t have a “deaf accent.” The “deaf accent” is not  an accent but a unique atonality in which the voice sounds “hollow” or “flat” as a result of not hearing normal voice resonance hearing people can access normally.

At any rate, I have two speech modes: soft and loud. What I consider a “normal” tone of voice is considered loud by anyone other than another person with hearing loss.

I’ve been asked why I don’t have a middle volume. Probably because I have no idea what that volume is. When I wear a HA I can hear myself better so I tend not to project as much. We can probably attribute that facility with project on all drama training in high school learning to project to the back of the auditorium. But, even with the HA I’ve been told by a number of people that I still speak too loudly.

At my age I’m not sure that there is a cure for this idiosyncratic way of speaking. On the other hand, HoH people love how I enunciate and project, so that’s the flip side of the issue.

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Wee Little Voices


Ahhh, the voices of small children. Barely audible in the best of cases. The upper part of my “speech banana” is pretty much gone.

While walking the wee little doggie today a young boy was with the horse concession near the beach. (Are they on vacation today?) He asked me something. I might have walked by and pretended not to hear, but I had heard something and I’m not rude by nature.

He might have asked about the dog, many people do comment on the wee little doggie as she’s quite the looker. He might have asked if I wanted to rent a horse. He might have said many things. I had one thing I could say: No hablo español. We will chalk it up to not speaking the language rather than not being able to lip read a little boy speaking Spanish.

The horses, sadly, were undernourished and not well-groomed at all. I feel sorry for the horses I see at the riding concessions. I used to have horses as a child and teen and spent many hours grooming them and making sure they had sufficient food and water. Different cultures, different values.

Down South of the Border


Getting into Mexico has never been a problem. Not for me at least. I don’t bring in much stuff and don’t have to stop and declare things. They’ve looked in the trunk once, shrugged, and waved me on because I don’t keep a lot in the car.

Getting back into the US is always more fraught with difficulty. And depending on the Border Patrol Officer (BPO) one can meet the Incredible Hulk (in terms of the anger quotient) or Officer Friendly.

I find it odd that the more Caucasian the officer the more friendly the officer, at least to date. I’ve actually started keeping a tally on the matter I’ve been so intrigued by this finding.

This makes no real sense to me. The BPOs that I’ve come close to calling for a supervisor over are all either Black or Hispanic. And I’m wondering if they feel, in some way, that they have to be raving maniacs to prove their loyalty. If that is the case then I feel sorry for them because no one should have to feel that way. On the other hand, no one on the receiving end should have to deal with that uncalled for nasty behavior.

I always lead off with my passport, a cheery hello, and the fact that I am hard of hearing and need to be able to read their lips. The same ratio holds true regarding response to that issue which leads me to wonder what creates the nasty attitude since not all of them have it.

Yesterday was a terrible day at the border (hours and hours of wait time) and yet the nice young Officer Friendly with “hero hair” was very responsive to my hearing needs. We didn’t talk more than a minute or two because with several hours of backed up traffic behind me no one wants to contribute to more backup. After two minutes I wanted to name him and claim him as family. Very polite. Very responsive. I’m sure he can be tough if necessary, but it wasn’t necessary.

Then there is the issue of Garita Center, which is a website that gives cross times to get into the US. My mind boggles at its metrics. I now interpret 20 minutes to mean: at least one hour. One hour means: at least three hours, minimum. Probably not worth checking the website any more.

 

When The Dog One Depends on Goes Missing


My wee little doggie is my best pal. She lets me know when someone is at the door (although we are still working on the fact the big bell is the same thing as a knock on the door) and all sorts of things other people take for granted that they will hear.

Yesterday was a busy day at the casa with the property manager and the maintenance guy here a couple of times. Antonio (maintenance) was here twice dealing with the chiminea problem (smoke backing up into house) and after he left I was missing one wee little doggie.

There were options for why I could not find her: 1 – shut in a dressing room or other room where I could not hear her (it has happened before). 2 – jumping in Antonio’s car (this has happened with a friend, so not unlikely). 3 – got out the door and wandered.  After checking the house twice I checked the immediate vicinity, then sent an email to the property manager to ask the maintenance guy if she was in his car uninvited (it was going to be COLD again). Then the house to house search was on with one of my neighbors who has two dogs.

Twenty breathless minutes later one of my other neighbors with dogs walked down the road with the wee little doggie under her arm. Wee little doggie was cold and scared and had gotten way down the end of one of the little dirt side roads here.

Joy!

I have had problems with her slipping through the wrought iron door before and thought I’d closed it off enough to prevent such IMG_3753an incident. After I got her home I got serious with the tape (until I can install a dog gate or something) and there is no way she’s getting out through that! Hey, it is messy, ,but it works! 😀 I’m not sure my heart can stand another panic-stricken event like that!

I bet you thought I died


Its been awhile.  That’s what happens when life runs away with you.

I lost my HA in my travels and need to get a new one. I’ve finally determined after an arduous search that it is not between the seats in my car. 😦  I hope my insurance is still in force, although even with that it is $750!  If not – there’s no way I can come up with another $3k.

Yesterday I took a friend to a major medical center in a major metro area I’m not familiar with. The ER was not private vehicle friendly and my friend is in a wheel chair. I ended up having to use the ambulance area because that was the only way to get her in and time was of the essence.

Thankfully, someone came out to help her while I darted inside trying to get help. The problem came when I got boxed in by ambulances and could not go out the front or the back. I had one in front, two to the sides and one behind.  Unfortunately, the car does not have thrusters like a Harrier Jet and cannot rise straight off the ground. Need to look for that option next time. (right…)

A guard asked the (no lights/no siren) ambulance behind me to move. This made no sense as that one had a passenger it needed to drop off and the one in front of me did not.

Let us add to that a winding drive going down a hill with huge curbs jutting here and there. And a passive-agressive ambulance driver who moved barely enough to let me out. I’m sure he was irritated, but really…it made me take longer.

And then the fact I couldn’t understand – or sometime see – ear
the guards who stood behind me to yell at me which way to move. I kept saying, “I’m Hard of Hearing! I can’t hear you!” So a bunch of them gathered – behind me.  (sighing)  On my deaf side.

It was a mess. And my wee little doggie was still alerting about how sick my friend had been.

I did get out without hitting the curbs or the ambulance. Whew!

I acquired a few spectators who stood around shaking their heads and shaking their fingers including a guy who looked like Santa in a wheelchair with hair almost down to the ground who was very condemnatory. What? There’s nothing on TV? No reality show?

I wanted to jump out of the car and yell at them – you try doing what I did – crossing an unfriendly border with a sick person in your car who is having problems breathing. And do it while remaining calm and chatty to keep the person more at ease. And then drive to a major hospital in a part of a metro area you’ve never been to before. Where there is no non-Ambulance drop off point. See how well you figure things out.

I did not get out. I did not yell. You’d have thought the half-dozen guards there would have done some crowd control, but nooooo.  I drove down the block, stopped at a fast food restaurant, let the dog out and calmed her down before our long drive back.

Just another day in the life of the HoH woman engaging in random acts of kindness.

I hope my friend is okay. I haven’t heard anything yet. No news is good news?

To wear or not to wear – that is the question.


I’ve been battling ear infections for a good six months – mostly otitis externa, but some otitis media. I never had an ear infection before I got hearing aids (HAs). I’m tired of oral and external antibiotics, drops for dermatitis in the ear canal, and oral pain meds.

For the past week I’ve been unamplified. On purpose. At first my HA fitted ear was sore to the touch. Then, over time, with no medication applied to it, it started to clear. It is starting to heal from the inside out. The itchy, flaky skin is turning supple. I no longer have oozing lymphatic fluids leaking from the ruptured skin.

I don’t hear worth a hill of beans, but I’m not in constant pain.  I plan on cleaning the ear mold exquisitely well before using it again. I may go back to only using it when I need it rather than wearing it all the time. My body doesn’t like plastic, particularly in the confined space of an ear canal.  I’m not sure I am a candidate for a CI nor that I want one. Maybe. Someday. Or not. I’m not sure.

I wish I knew more deafies locally.  But I don’t. And there won’t be any where I’m going – to the best of my knowledge.

I often wonder how many other people are also allergic to their “non-allergenic” ear molds.

The Little Red Sweater


The story outline:  Once upon a time, in a Town Common far, far away in a little New England town, a woman with a riot of curling silver hair that bobbed around her face like kazillion little metal Slinkies, sat on a bench, knitting a little red sweater. Two joggers, one a man wearing a nice tracksuit, and the other a woman in an old t-shirt and shorts, trotted up the cracked sidewalk together. The man looked down at the knitting woman and burst into tears. The woman leaned down beside the woman and spoke to her.

Emily Pigeon stuck her little pink tongue between her teeth as she muttered under her breath, “Perl one, Perl two, Perl three. Knit one!” Making a dog sweater for her sweet little Mitzi was turning out to be more trouble than it was worth. She’d never used double-sided little needles before and she was seriously considering trashing the lot and buying a dog sweater at the pet store.

James Kravetz was content with his run so far. He’d been able to keep up with his new jogging partner all the way, despite being out of shape. It was more than he could have hoped for and he smiled with joy. Looking right and left he saw an older woman knitting a little red sweater. For some reason the color red reminded him of so much – his heart attack three months ago, the fear he might die, and the fear he might never run again. Suddenly, he burst into tears of joy.

Babs McCarthy’s co-worker James was running her into the ground. She didn’t want to complain, but who thought some guy who almost died three months ago would be going strong after five miles? All of a sudden, James burst into tears. Thankful for the respite, she stopped near an older woman sitting on a bench, knitting a small, red dog sweater. The little red sweater reminded her of her Yorkie Sweetie. She leaned down and said, “I wish I was as talented as you are. I’d love a sweater like that for my dog, Sweetie.”

Unfortunately, Emily was very hard of hearing, and said, “What did you say, dear?”

One incident – three points of view.