Posted in Agoraphobia, Hearing Loss, Music I Like, Technology and Software

Being Optimized by Software

(As if it wasn’t bad enough having to say “sorry, my batteries have run down.”)

We went to the big neighbouring town and managed to do things despite my dromophobia and related… actually we had to go to the outpatients clinic for hearing-aid maintenance.

They used ‘special software’ to optimize our hearing-aids for us, but I can’t say I noticed much difference.
“Is that better?”
“Er…”

The audiologist said to me all the higher sounds have gone from my hearing and there’s not a lot they can do to replace it or make it better… I don’t know if you’ve done those puzzles showing just the bottom half of a word or sentence, but that’s what it reminded me of.

I already knew this and I wasn’t expecting miracles, but Mum says it’s driving her mad having to repeat everything three times. I think it’s because it’s hard for everyone else that we’re trying to optimize what I do hear — personally I think we’re on a hiding to nothing; there might be a slight improvement but that’s all it will be — slight.

Still, I don’t like being told bad news even when I already know. “You just cannot hear high sounds any more — they’ve gone.”

She said I could try other hearing aids as new ones have come in, and they might sound better. At first I was dubious — this whole palaver of coming to clinics (in a town that’s not my own) and sitting in waiting rooms for someone to call me (when I can’t hear whose name they’re calling) is not my idea of fun; I was thinking if I had to come back again, they would have to transport me in a cat carrier and sedate me. Unfortunately they need me conscious… able to say “nope, that doesn’t sound any different.”

As it happened, they had new hearing aids there today… so we are trying them at home for a while to see how we get on.

I started babbling nervously at the clinic, when I’m normally completely silent (“hmm, that seems a little better, yes, it’s got a lighter sound, I think, ha ha… what do you think, E?”) Though I suppose most people wouldn’t consider it babbling; it’s just communicating! I found it helped; I’m not just listening to my own breathing and thoughts, and the audiologist seemed to warm to us, and chuckled.

E said she personally was keen to try the new aids, as her old ones (the same as mine) just weren’t working for her. I got all babbly again and said I had been thinking yesterday that the old ones weren’t achieving sounds they should have been capable of… it was as though they hit a brick wall. Though that could just be the cut-off point of my hearing.

The audiologist said those ones have a habit of cutting out when a sound is too loud, and they’re quite crude. As technology develops, hearing aids should become more intelligent. (Will they come when I call them?)

I’ve noticed their tendency to ‘damp down’… though when I was listening to the Malaysian singer ‘Djingga‘ (?) yesterday, I didn’t think the aids were cutting out — they were almost avoiding certain notes… sort of “we don’t go there.” Or maybe it’s just me, comparing what I used to be able to hear to what I can hear now. I don’t know.

I’ve noticed a difference already, though — I picked up a magazine and it rustled, which seemed to add something to its own presence. I dropped it and picked it up again. Wow! The windscreen wipers sounded like the backbeat of a slow song… like Headlights by Runrig, actually. They were really thrumming. Normally I don’t pay much attention to their sound; I just watch the light and colours shining through the raindrops while they are swept away.

Trying ol’ Djingga again. We’ll see…

PS: I couldn’t find a YouTube video clip for Runrig’s Headlights, which was very disappointing… so here is a link to another favourite of mine… Chi M’in Geamhradh (I see the winter). The clip shows the lyrics along with their translation, which is good for lyrics junkies like me.

Posted in Blogging, Hearing Loss, Writing

Answering a Writing Challenge II

Part II of a writing challenge by Elizabeth at 1sojournal:

I hear: nothing… just a vague rumble. I can feel the house buzzing under my feet; it feels as though a wind is hitting the side of the house and getting underneath the floorboards. But it could be pipes or the water tank… I don’t know.

I removed my hearing aids because my ears were tired. Sometimes they get sore and I have to rest them for a day or two.

If Mum comes in behind me and wants my attention, she will stamp on the floor or thump the desk so that I feel the vibrations.

I regret: breaking things. Hurting feelings. Mishearing or misunderstanding things, or expressing myself poorly, especially when it leads to missed opportunities.

I always: support myself when going downstairs. When you live with cats, it’s sensible to be prepared!

I cry: as privately as possible. I hate funerals for that reason… I will never go to anyone’s funeral ever again if I can avoid it… but I will find my own way of remembering people. I read about those who fear people won’t come to their own funerals, and I don’t understand at all. I wouldn’t care. I will have escaped!

I don’t always: know what’s going on. In fact that’s such an understatement it’s almost funny. You miss cues and information about what everyone is doing and where they’re going. You wait for people to say goodbye to each other so that you can say goodbye too at the right moment. You wave when everyone surges forwards, only for the conversation to continue… or for those people to reappear (seemingly as arranged) at the next place. Then people finally leave, rushing off just as you’re looking the other way.

I fight: when I’m angry.

I write: more than I speak.