10 Crappy Things About Hearing Loss

Forgive me when you see me draw back when I would have gladly mingled with you.  My misfortune is doubly painful to me because I am bound to be misunderstood; for me there can be no relaxation with my fellow men, no refined conversations, no exchange of ideas.  I must live almost alone, like one who has been banished; I can mix with society only as much as true necessity demands.  If I approach near to people a hot terror seizes upon me, and I fear being exposed to the danger that my condition might be noticed.
–Ludwig Van Beethoven

1. Almost always being literally the last person to hear about something

2. Poorly captioned television programs and DVDs (We’ve been watching all the West Wing seasons in order – the first 5 all had English subtitles; seasons 6 and 7 only have French and Spanish subtitles.  They’re captioned, but on our big TV, for some reason, the DVD player doesn’t decode captions, so we’ll have to watch them upstairs on the other TV. I don’t understand it, but it pisses me off.)

3. People who assume I’m stupid when I tell them I have a hearing impairment and ask them to repeat what they said

4. Missing important PA announcements on the Metro or at the airport

5. Baby-sitting the Princess and Conductor after bedtime, wondering and worrying whether I’ll hear them if they call for me (This often results in multiple trips to the hallway outside their bedrooms, waiting and straining to hear something and hoping when I don’t that I haven’t missed anything.  And this leads to worrying what I’ll do when it’s my own kids.)

6. Finding myself without batteries to my cochlear implant processor at rather inopportune times (You’d think, after 5 years, I’d never leave home without batteries, but because I don’t carry a purse or bag as a rule – except to work – this happens more regularly than I’d like.)

7. Not being able to locate the direction a siren is coming from while driving, and often not recognizing that the noise I hear is a siren until the police car or ambulance is already bearing down on me

8. That new (read: post-2002) music is, for the most part, just noise to me (This is probably the one that’s the hardest for me to take.)

9. The difficulty I have now in understanding people with foreign accents (This used to be no problem for me, and I’m sad that its become so hard.)

10. The sheer amount of energy it takes – particularly when I’m tired or sick – to focus on listening to and understanding what people are saying, especially in large meetings or settings where what’s going on is not captioned in any way (like at a play)

I’ll be back tomorrow with 10 good things!  Happy 4th!

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