This might be the first post of this blog, day 1 if you like, but it’s not really day 1 of my life or my journey of course. So I’m going to take the slightly unconventional route of jumping right in. As for who I am and all those details you may wish to find out, well we’ll figure them out along the way. For now though I’m a 30 something married Mum who’s disabled, an artisan engraver and crafter, an amateur wheelchair racer, a sometime writer, and many other things too.
The past few weeks have been somewhat mad and incredibly frustrating. Almost a year ago I started wearing bilateral hearing aids, I’m partially deaf but I won’t say I’m ‘hard of hearing’ as that conjours up images of the elderly shouting “pardon” continually to me. I’ve had problems with the aids, like so many others do, so I went back to the Hearing Aid Centre to try something else. Fairly simple you’d think? Yeahhh, nothing ever works quite that simply in life somehow does it. Murphy’s Law has to take a step in and throw you completely off balance – in this case literally.
Trying new domes for my aids seemed great, my hearing was much better than it had been for ages – for less than 10 minutes. By the time I’d made it back to the car though I was almost completely deaf in my left ear and my right ear wasn’t up to it’s usual half decent level. It felt like there was a big pressure build up in my ear and it needed to pop, like when you’ve got a large amount of water in your ears after swimming etc? As anyone who’s done that will know, it’s a less than comfortable sensation and not all that great for your balance – which makes being in a wheelchair rather interesting.
Move forwards just over a week (during which the GP had given me a medicated spray that wasn’t helping as much as hoped and she’d also temporarily banned the use of my aids) and it was time to see my own Hearing Consultant. Now that some of the original inflammation had reduced he was able to see what had gone on more clearly:
Diagnosis – I’m allergic to hearing aids!
(Cue the laughter – come on, you have to admit this is funny after all, I’m part deaf and allergic to hearing aids?!!)
OK so not technically the aids themselves, just the rather important parts that go into your ears without which the aids are useless. Some hmming and hahhing later and I found myself with a load of gunk in my ears while he took impressions for hypoallergenic molds which are definitely not the best option for my type of hearing loss, but are the best for my allergy levels. I now have to wait another few weeks for them to be made up before I get back my hearing aids.
This experience has taught me a lot of things:
- Life has a skewed sense of humour – so laugh wherever you can, it makes things easier to cope with!
- People who are hearing really do not Listen to what’s being said a lot of the time.
- “I lip read so I need you to look at me when you’re talking” really is not a simple instruction/request for people to follow after all.
- My lip reading skills are not as good as I thought!
- When people shout/raise their voice a lot it really distorts their lip pattern making it impossible to lip read – talk at a normal volume please people 🙂
- I remember more BSL than I thought – yay! (I’m also really glad I’ve started to learn BSL again!)
- When you hear with your eyes you really need people to slow down, stop mumbling, and not talk with food in their mouths. Also, hands/items in front of their mouths make the previous sentence completely moot.
- Strangers accomodate your needs better than people who know you and remember when you could hear.
- A year is still not long enough for people to remember your hearing is not what it used to be.
- Putting the below reminder poster (Credit: Action Deafness) up at work is worth it – even if it hasn’t made much difference yet.
- Heroes & Villains FanFest are able to accomodate the needs of a wheelchair user who is partially deaf surprisingly well with sod all hassle – kudos and hats off to them and their Disability Services!
- Watching John Barrowman wind up a BSL interpreter and them wind him up in return is incredibly funny – especially when you get the joke that little bit earlier than your hearing friends who are waiting for the vocals!
- Being more deaf than usual is very hard and frustrating – so truly, find humour and the silver lining wherever you can – even if it’s while purposefully ignoring those who seem incapable of remembering you hear partially with your eyes. You may as well have fun wherever you can after all!