My First Hearing Impaired LifehackPosted: July 27, 2015
A doctor has confirmed what my wife and I suspected. My hearing is somewhat compromised. I believe that’s what he said, but I’m not sure that I caught every word. But I did catch that the doctor and audiologist both used the word impairment. Looking back on my career, which included more exposure to explosives than most people have, I guess this was foreseeable.
And we’ve already started making adaptations to help make this easier on us. My wife has been great about making sure she faces me when she speaks. And I’ve stopped trying to fill in the blanks when I miss a word or two; I ask questions to make sure that I understand.
I Heard Denial Was A River In Egypt…I Think That’s What They Said
I think saying that I have a hearing impairment is like saying that I’m an amputee because I pulled a muscle in my leg. I’d prefer saying that I miss a word here and there, but the medical folks have science and a cool graph to back them up on the impairment thing. So I’m denying my problem even as I make adjustments to accommodate it.
What makes it hard is that most of the time, I believe that I hear normally. But then we’ll be in a restaurant and my wife will ask “what’s the name of this song?” and I think “what song?”. It is in those moments that I realize there might be something to what the doctor said.
So now I’m looking for things that’ll make life easier and safer for me. The other night, I unexpectedly found my first creative adaptation to this hearing situation.
It was close to lights-out time at my house. My wife and I were reading. Our cat, Boog, was half-asleep at our feet; he doesn’t like to read. Things were quiet and calm. Suddenly, Boog lifted his head, sat up and stared toward the window. “I wonder what that’s all about,” I said to my wife. “He heard that coyote outside,” she answered.
I couldn’t have told you there were coyotes outside our house that night, but four good ears said that there were. I didn’t hear a thing. When my wife said “there’s the howling again…and again”, I didn’t hear anything except the ringing sound I hear all the time.
I Say Lifehack, Like The Cool Kids
My doctor and his staff were great about giving me little tips like “try to be sure the person who is speaking to you is facing you” and “protect the hearing you have left”, but they left it up to me to discover a lifehack that could be critical to people who are dealing with hearing loss. I’m going to pass on what I figured out so that others with my condition can benefit from what I learned…before it’s too late.
Most of the hearing I’ve lost seems to be in the high range of sound. Apparently that range includes the sounds that coyotes make. Even when they howl on a quiet night, I can’t hear coyotes. That means that I’d be easy prey for a coyote…but I live with a cat. A cat who sits up attentively when he hears a coyote.
So, my handy tip (or, what the cool kids call a lifehack) for those like me who are coming to grips with a hearing impairment is to get a cat. While a house cat probably can’t stop a coyote attack, it will let you know when those predators are in the area so you can look after yourself.
My hearing loss isn’t the end of the world for me. I hope that, if you’ve just gotten similar news, you’re ok with it too. We’ve still got a lot of good years left in us. Let’s not be shy about asking people to repeat themselves if we don’t understand. Let’s protect what we’ve got left of our hearing. And for God’s sake, get yourself a cat; coyotes are everywhere and you’re no road-runner.