Yam Artiklit

Years ago I figured one way to increase my confidence (and reduce panic) would be to improve my speech, so the doctor put me in for some speech and voice therapy. The speech therapist told me I spoke too quickly and failed to give full value to each sound.

The voice therapist (a different lady from the speech therapist) said I had a lovely voice but was too quiet. Folks with hearing loss are thought of as having loud voices because they can’t hear themselves, but I’m completely the opposite. Maybe if you start off with good hearing you know what your own voice should sound like to you, and as your hearing fades, you increase your volume. I never knew what my voice should sound like to me, and it always sounds too loud, even when I’m (apparently) whispering.

Once I muttered something under my breath about someone who was still about half a street away, and he glared at me incredulously, as though he’d heard… so now I’m confused! Maybe it depends on individuals, and on which way the wind is blowing, and if I’m muttering something under my breath, it’s obviously something I really *mean* and so it might come out with more force than something less heartfelt…

It’s annoying not knowing for sure, but I wonder if anybody does actually know, whatever they think they know.

Do you know I can’t say ‘it’ right, unless I’m really concentrating on it? Even in my imagination, I say things like “you’re not showin ick.”
Ick’s frustratin. I yexpex am gablin again, and ick’s probly the mistake ah’ve alwus made. Am suppose to gif foo vayoo to ma wods.

I’ve always written better than I speak and was top of my English class at school (a large university-rated class). I was ahead of my primary class when we were learning to read. When I told a disability counsellor at the job centre that I was good at English, she looked incredulous at first, then sniggered over something clumsy I said… she must have been in a bad mood that day, as she didn’t trouble to hide her thoughts. Or maybe she thought if I was that bad at speaking I was probably stupid and didn’t know what people were thinking. Or maybe she assumes everybody is stupid and can’t read her thoughts. No, she was just in a bad mood. I should stop being such a drama queen!

I’ve been pondering over the word …. uh, would you believe, it’s gone right out of my head! (Bangs head on desk). What word?

Ah… ‘articulate’! People say proudly, “I am bright and articulate.” I’ve seen job adverts for ‘intelligent and articulate applicants’. I searched the internet to see if anybody used the word ‘articulate’ to cover writing as well as speech. There are instances of it, but mostly it refers to speech.

I’m a fluent writer but not an articulate speaker – except sometimes when I’m angry; then my words seem to flow out of me with great conciseness and force. It’s amazing. Most of the time I don’t really want to talk, like when I dreamed about refusing to talk to an executive. Part of the reason I didn’t want to talk to him was because I don’t like talking and probably wouldn’t express myself clearly. I lose arguments even when I’m right… some people never cotton onto that, even when I’m right more often than not in any dealings I have with them. It’s like being voted off The Weakest Link for all the wrong reasons. Funny how that pervades my dreams, more so now than when I was younger. When I was younger I dreamed that I could hear someone whispering, or that I could eavesdrop from another room, and it didn’t seem strange till I woke up next morning. Nowadays my dream conversations are full of frustration and angst.

Well I’ve got this far and I don’t know how to end my post! I’ll just go to bed I think… sweet dreams.

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7 responses

  1. My mum always said if you can’t say something nice don’t say something at all…It was annoying, but my Grandpa would always mutter under his breath when he was annoyed, not realising we could all hear him (his hearing was quite bad). It stuck with her and with me…now unless it’s something I’m willing to let someone else hear I don’t say it to them or about them.

    It would be frustrating to not have a volume check though. I personally think there would be an advantage to writing out what you have to say…another filter before it plops out into the world and you can’t take it back…a wierd way to look at it, but just a thought.

  2. I completely agree! Isn’t it funny that speech is often seen as the most important thing (‘articulate’), and very frustrating. I often get ‘corrected’ by my Mum and partner (they don’t mean it in a bad way tho) on ‘big’ words or long words. I had speech therapy once, but I was so angry and pissed off with the therapist as generally, my speech “passes” (apparently) and she was so horrible!

    She basically said that when I ask questions, my voice doesn’t ‘go up’ at the end of a question. We spent the whole session with me getting more and more angry and she starting to pick on everything! I was around 17 when this happened, so luckily it was fine that I didn’t go again. She later got reported by a mother of another deaf girl as she was so horrible.

    It’s only recently that I’ve started to realise how rubbish this whole speech thing is. With writing, it is like your brain connects to a keyboard and your inner self comes pouring out in text. Perhaps this is like sign language in a way.

    I too get the whole hearing aid thing – people assume that you can hear like them. Which means you get blank looks or stares when you say you need them to face you when they talk so you can lip read. Most of the time though, people can’t see my aids as I have long hair and have it down most of the time, so being deaf really does become invisible for me. Maybe it’s easier for those who sign because people can see that they are signing, but can’t always see that we are lipreading!

  3. Oh yes, that ‘upturn at the end of a question’ thing. 🙂 I suspect the only reason I wasn’t practising that at therapy was that we were mainly focused with slowing down and sounding out all the syllables and word endings. She was a nice lady, my speech therapist, and I sometimes brought her a small list of words like ‘yacht’, and got her to pronounce them for me. 🙂

    The voice therapist was nice too but made me nervous. I think she had less understanding of the deaf than the speech therapist did.

    I have difficulty with other people’s questions… I’m often asking Mum “is that a question or a statement?” I never know if she’s saying “I want to go to the supermarket” or “do you want to go to the supermarket?”

  4. I remember that muttering under my breath thing… it was the day I had a severe anxiety attack and was struggling home from town on my own. I was having problems with crossing roads (I know it sounds stupid, but it was a hot summer day and town was absolutely milling with holiday-makers).

    I had a better chance of crossing a road quickly (and not taking 20 minutes over it) when there was nobody there, but I had got to the third biggest road, and looked up and down, and there were these two guys hanging around, going nowhere. They were just there. So my muttering was more along the lines of “oh, don’t be HERE, not NOW!” rather than a personal insult.

    I know it sounds crazy but it’s all part and parcel of agoraphobia. I was frustrated because I had an appointment at the dentist and had struggled all the way there, only to be defeated by that last big road with lots of people on it. Traffic crawling, women pushing prams, men sitting in cars slurping ice cream, and little boys kicking a football around. I turned round and went all the way home without even being able to tell the dentist (just across the road) that I wasn’t able to make it in. (The thought makes me laugh now but it wasn’t funny then). It was shortly after that that I got Jolly the Trolley out of the cupboard.

    I didn’t blog about that, just grumbled vaguely that I wished it wasn’t so hot and so busy.

  5. I have the same issue with not speaking loudly enough. I suspect you’re right, it may be a difference between being born deaf or losing it later. There’s all kinds of sounds I’m never sure how loud they are, and so I try to keep them muted if I can.

    On the other hand, I’ve been known to misjudge the extent of background noise and go a bit too loud. Doesn’t happen often, though. Most of the time people are asking me to speak up.

    Hated speech therapy too. Waste of time. At least most of them weren’t completely horrible…just tedious. I remember one guy who was adamant that we practice talking while a tape recorder played background noise…so that somehow with practice I’d be better able to hear under these conditions?

    Do you know what I have always done, all my life? If there is background noise, I eliminate it whenever I can, if the conversation is important! So much for that “practice”. How do you “practice” to “improve” your hearing, anyway?? Never understood that.

  6. Blimey, I would have had a major fit of sulks if I’d had the noisy tape recorder session! I imagine it’s one thing saying “let’s practise lipreading,” but we have our whole lifetimes in which to practise. People have had all sorts of ideas about how to bring us up and educate us, and so many of those little theories went wrong. “The way to hell is paved with good intentions.”

  7. […] me afterwards (it’s always afterwards) that I managed to rattle it off the way I described in Yam Artiklit… “Idoont do that wivver […]

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