So today I woke up about 8:40 and lounged in bed for a while considering silence: Because it is a Tuesday and it was quiet out. The construction has finally turned a corner away from the banging of conduit and jack hammering and general loud clatter. I am relieved for myself. But even more for those poor people (who aren’t really financially poor because they live in a Haussmann style apartment) who share a wall with the site and have had to live with not simply the noise but also the vibration. They must be overjoyed.
Now I understand why some prisons use loudspeakers to broadcast heavy metal rock. Constant noise is debilitating.
And if you are a bit deaf, like me, then I feel even more for those with perfect hearing.
And that leads me to a probable rant. Be warned.
My grandmother on my mom’s side of the family was very deaf. The other grandmother also. The grandfathers died too young to know what their hearing would have been at an advanced age. My father had a hearing aid as did my mother. My brother got one years ago and he was younger than me at the time he got it. My sister seems to have not received the hearing loss gene.
Four years ago I worked for a rather paranoid firm – the executives often seemed to whisper in the executive meetings. And I had the darnedest time hearing. Off to Kaiser for a hearing test. Mild loss they said. Yes or no to an aide. Given that I had section 125 money, tax free medical account, I bought one for the left ear. Does it help? Yes and no. I must say I am much more sympathetic to my grandmother and mother. And I am a bit ashamed of the times I felt like yelling at them to turn their hearing aids up. Because it doesn’t help to turn it up when it is at the max.
Being hard of hearing is a real disability. I have had people say something to me, then, when I either don’t respond because I heard nothing or I ask for them to repeat it, they sometimes get irritated. As I did too, frankly. But really, if you have a paraplegic friend, do you get irritated that they can’t get up and walk to the kitchen themselves? No. I hope not.
Sometimes I catch all the words except one. So I repeat the sentence back to the person using a “what” for the lost word. “The afternoon picnic is going to be “what” because of the weather?” All the person has to do is say “cancelled” or “perfect” or “well-attended.” Instead, they repeat the entire sentence back in an irritated way and often louder. So you can imagine if I still don’t catch that one word! Even more irritated and shouting. I wish they would listen to what I ask and just give me the one word I missed.
Or they talk to me when my back is turned to test my hearing. “Oh you really can’t hear – I just said…..” Well surprise. I know I can’t hear all that well, that’s why I got a hearing aid. And did you know that part of hearing is reading lips? Strangely enough, before I switched to contact lenses years ago and before I had hearing issues, if I was in my office and had taken off my glasses, when someone came to my door and started talking, I had to ask them to wait til I put on my glasses. I know I didn’t have hearing issues – I could hear all those conversations down the hall that I wasn’t supposed to hear!
If you are talking to a hearing impaired individual (see, using that term lends more significance than the term hard of hearing or deaf!), keep in mind that hearing varies with individuals. I can hear certain frequencies just fine, thank you very much. So that explains why I can hear certain people and not others, I am not being selective with those I say I can’t hear well. Try to lower the pitch of your voice. Sometimes just that works and there is no need for increased volume. I had to learn that with my mother and grandmother. And if a hearing impaired individual tells you they heard all but one word, don’t shout the entire sentence back at them. Fill in the missing word and go on with the conversation.
There’s not much more I can do but wear the hearing aid and go back and get it adjusted from time to time. Fortunately for me, I do fine on the phone. I have a relative who struggles with the phone so much so that everyone started emailing instead of having phone conversations. Fortunately, either the phone was fixed or the hearing aid was for now phone calls work again.
The only time the hearing problems might be the fault of the impaired is when they just give up. How many times can you ask for a word to be repeated or ask for the pitch to lower? At some point, the impaired person just has to give up and smile sweetly and ignore everything. Now I get why my grandmother did that. She was tired of asking me to take the time to speak in a way she could understand.
Oops. It did turn into a rant. And not much about Paris at that. But I am off to figure out my four day trip to La Rochelle and Bordeaux. That should take the rest of the day.