Yes, thats right, you did read it correctly! I hope,with this Op, to help those of you with good hearing to understand a bit about what its like to live with less than perfect hearing and how you can help us. I have been partially deaf for most of my life and my hearing has gradually deteriorated. No need for me to go into the medical stuff, but hearing loss does involve so much more than just "not hearing" for many of us. First I will tell you about some of the hidden problems that we suffer that you may not be aware of. 1) Tinnitus - not always bells ringing in the ears, but often scrunching noises, or sounds similar to rushing noises. Sufferers often get this at night when the rest of the house is quiet as they are more aware of it when there is no background noise to distract them from "hearing" it. Whilst it is not painful in the accepted way, once you are aware of it, it is almost impossible to stop being aware of the noise in your ears. It is possible to buy a masker, which provides a distraction technique, but I have found leaving the clock radio on works just as well. 2) Balance problems. Often goes hand in hand with hearing loss. Balance problems are different from vertigo, where the room spins and you feel nauseous. There is medication to help with vertigo, but it causes chest problems if you have Asthma. Balance problems can be made worse by cold and/or windy weather. Vertigo means that the person who faints or weaves about in front of you is not necessarily drunk!! Contrary to popular opinion a hat does not particular help, since the link between the nerves of the eyes and the ears means that balance is affected by looking at such things as the sea moving or gusts of wind. Balance problems mean I cannot reach to that top shelf or stand on chairs, which creates more hurdles on a day-to-day basis. 3) Confusion: to explain the title of the op! Generally speaking, when the nerves of the ear get damaged it become difficult to distinguish between the soft consonants, such as f, v, and s, and the hard consonants, Bee Dee and Vee. hence it is possible to hear soil as foil or boil!! Whilst this can be very amusing at times, it does lead to a lessening of confidence and the problem becomes worse in a noisy environment where you are struggling to hear anyway. 4) Hard of hearing folk tend to either speak too loudly or too quietly. This is because we can not work out how loudly we are speaking. It is very helpful if you discreetly and politely find a way to mention this. My best friends often act as my "ears" in difficult situations. 5) Nerve damage sensitivity. This means that certain pitches become literally painful for us. Deafness does not mean you do not hear these pitches, but that they trigger a form of "feedback" which can be excrutiating at times. 6) Isolation. Deafness is, by its nature, an isolating problem. There is not much sympathy for the hearing impaired because of its invisible nature. Pubs and clubs can prove to be very frustrating places for us, because the background noise makes it very difficult for us to join in the conversation or to hear what is being said. 7) An addition to the above, courtesy of another Ciao member. Magnifying aids, be they hearing aids, or infra-red devices to assist with hearing televisions etc, only help if there is no other noise in the room, otherwise they magnify every thing else making a noise, even other people! I had forgotten sitting on a bus, with my brand new hearing aid, convinced there was a bomb ticking away on the back seat - not realising it was the engine noise!! How yo u can help. 1) Make it easier for us to hear you by keeping your hands away from your face. People with face furniture and beards are particularly hard to lip read. 2) Position yourself where it is easy for us to read you. If light is in the wrong place we cannot see you properly and we learn to lip read subconsciously. Keep your hands reasonably still so that you do not distract from what is being said. 3) Speak clearly, but not loudly or with undue emphasis or particularly slowly. We are "deaf not daft". Please don't say "Oh never mind" because it is humiliating and makes us feel more isolated. Precluding us from your conversation is unkind, if understandable. 4) Most of all, be patient and understanding. We know how frustrating it is for you, imagine how much worse it is for us! I hope that this has helped a bit. Thank you for taking the time to read.
Imagine living in a world of silence… you can see the mouths move… the cars go by… the cats fighting but the sounds that go with it all elude you. You go to the cinema and again you see the action but how do you follow the plot without being able to hear the words? Even in your own home, you see the expressions on faces but do they really tell you the whole story? Can you tell when someone is sad or is their face just relaxed? Are they really angry or are they simply rushed? You see people laughing but do you assume it is at you because you can’t hear the joke? My experience of deafness began a few years ago when we were asked to care for a profoundly deaf child (in case you don’t know my husband and I are foster carers) and this was really the first contact with a person unable to hear that I’d had. I will call this child ‘Danny’ through out this op. I’m not talking about suffering from lots of ear infections or a build up of wax I am talking about profound deafness. Danny has been deaf since birth but don’t be fooled into thinking that this means he doesn’t miss hearing as I know he does. He feels cheated and has a strong sense of the unfairness of his plight, granted he has had other family problems which have caused him to come into the care system, but the deafness itself it so frustrating. Danny is educated at a fantastic school, which teaches only deaf children and uses BSL (British Sign Language see separate op!) as it’s first language but at the same time helps them to vocalise and to begin to lip-read too. So in his school environment he is safe and secure, no one will think he is odd or look at him strangely at the sounds he makes, he is normal! One step away from school and the world is a very different place for a deaf child; people do look at Danny, sometimes as though he were from another planet. Now I know that this is generally not meant in any unkind way it is simply that people's eyes are drawn to anything or any one different. I know I have been guilty of similar actions, I remember clearly seeing a chap at our local market, he had a hole right through his nose that you could have put your finger through, now I know I looked longer than I should!! I think what we all need to grasp is the fact that different does not mean inferior, or superior it means just that…different. So if we can all learn to respect and value people for what they are, white, black, yellow, able bodied or paraplegic, beautiful or plain, hearing or deaf and the list could go on and on, then we would all benefit enormously. Danny just wants to be accepted, not as special or weird but as himself as Danny. A young person with loves and hates, with emotions and with fears like others his age, he just can’t hear that is all. I quickly learnt when Danny came to live with us that sharing your life with a deaf person is very time consuming! Think about it, if you are busy cooking dinner or playing on the computer and someone comes and chats you do not necessarily stop what you were doing. With Danny I have to stop, (until I can master sign language whilst peeling spuds) I have to give him my undivided attention, of course he can take advantage of this too! So much of what Danny does is more difficult because of his deafness, simple things that all kids love to do. Playing with friends is an issue however hard they try (they do try too!) he often feels excluded and gives up on them. Even a game of football when you are the only one that can’t hear the shouts of “over here” etc. Danny comes to church with us where with our other foster children he goes into the Junior Church but again he so often feels excluded. People have really tried and some have gone off to learn sign language but still Danny misses so much and again often misinterprets people looks or faces. Education is another issue where deafness makes his life more difficult. He does attend an excellent school and is doing very well indeed; he is a very bright and hard working child, well most of the time! Think about it though for those of us that are hearing we have had a lifetime to learn about sentence structure, I’m not talking about split infinitives I mean your basic stuff! But not so for Danny as in sign language things are very different! On meeting we may ask, “What is your name?” the equivalent signs would be “name, what?” Now that is fine until you are writing it down and studying for your GCSEs which she will be judged the same as a hearing child. Follow that through to every subject studied and you will begin to see that life is tough. Now just supposing someone reads this who is sitting with a baby on their lap with real fears about their hearing, should they think that if they are found to be deaf their life would be a disaster? NO! It will be harder, it may well contain more frustrations but Danny’s life is not all doom and gloom. He is very focused and I attribute this to not having so many distractions, she knows she must work harder to attain the same as a hearing child but he has determination enough for two. At least a deaf child knows that they may need to chose a career with care, it isn’t as though it will came as a shock that they can’t get work in certain fields. There is also a very strong sense of solidarity in the deaf community, they tend to be very close knit and supportive. Personally I feel that for Danny he has to live in a hearing world therefore he needs to forge his way through and not be protected too much, even though that may seem the easier way while he is young. It is hard to know what to include in this op and what to leave out. I could have written of the sadness I feel that Danny cannot enjoy music in the same way that we can but also to tell you that if it is on loud enough she can feel it. I have a lovely video clip of Danny dancing with my daughter. Roo with music blaring, showing her and Danny following the movements, both of them thoroughly enjoying themselves. Danny has a friend that learns violin and it was great to see him earlier this year trying to learn too! His friend was patient and taught him well and he picked up a few tunes before he moved on to other things the way all children do. So yes I reckon being deaf is very tough and I can tell you that looking after a deaf child is very challenging too! Especially right now as he heads for puberty and that is bad enough when there are no added issues, so pile onto puberty, deafness and his family history and I suspect there are some rocky times ahead for Millergirl’s family! Thankfully we all love him tremendously and will, I’m sure all survive! Danny recently spent a week camping with a very large group of children all of them hearing but him. He had a fantastic time and I am told he coped brilliantly, I want to end this op by quoting a note he had written that I found in his pocket when doing his post camp washing (phewy!): Danny, “Stop fussing” Friend “I am just trying to include you, I don’t want you to feel left out” Danny, “ Then just treat me the same as you treat every one else”
Didnt you hear me call someone says to you and you think it was because of all the other noises going on around you and you can go on for quite a while like this, making excuses, before you finally realise that you cannot hear so good as you could. You dont need to be old either and it really creeps up on you. A lot of times this happens after you have had a cold. So you still dont do anything about it. This is how it was with me. My hearing was going and I just did not know it. When I had too many people saying "didnt you hear me" for it to be a coincidence I knew I had to do something about it. The first was a visit to the doctors who said I needed my ears syringed. I had this done and it was back to before within 2 weeks. You dont like keep going back to the doctors do you and I didnt but eventually I had to. Then after being sent to a specialist I was told that I would need a little gap put into my ear to let any fluid out. This gap is done by putting a gromit in it. It is a simple operation and you are in and out in one day. After one day even you are telling everyone not to shout. I am not young but then again I am not old but I always thought that if you were say under teenage age you had gromits fitted but if you were older you had to have some kind of earing aid. This is definately not the case. If you wash your hair frequently and dont cover your ears you can get water in them and if you dont dry them out trouble starts. When washing your hair put cotton wool with a bit of vaseline on in your ears. If you feel you are not hearing so good go to the doctors because if syringing doesnt help they will try something that does. You will have tests taken where you are given a button to press when you hear a noise and from that they can tell what your hearing is like straight away and it certainly is not anything to be afraid of. He aring is important and it is a shame to do as I did and not hear when there was no need to have this at all.
When my eldest son was a baby he failed his hearing tests but we were assured this was normal as babies are easily distracted. If he hadn't been our first child we would have noticed something was wrong sooner but I think you tend to trust the doctors more and be less confident with your first. It was only when he saw a different doctor when he had yet another ear infection that glue ear was mentioned. Three months later he saw a consultant who said he needed an operation and would put him on the list. By this time my son was 3 and due to start nursery. When we found out there was a 9 month waiting list my family clubbed together to go private. The operation was done a week later. Although I have never been a fan of private healthcare I felt that this was an emergency. My son would have been almost at school if we had waited for the NHS appointment and he could hardly talk. After the operation in which they also removed his adenoids and inserted gromets he was a different child. We quickly realised that what we thought were normal childhood tantrums were actually frustration at not being able to communicate. It was 2 years before he was speaking normally which caused him a lot of problems at school. We explained to people that he had been practically deaf until he was 3 and a half but they treated him as thick because of his speech. My second son also suffered because of his brother's deafness. As children do, he copied his speech from his brother and doctors at first thought he had problems too but he was fine. They both had speech therapy which helped greatly. My eldest has had several operations and his speech is not perfect but he is very bright and top of his class at school. People don't treat him as thick any more and he seems to have forgotten all about it. The main problem now is that he can't go swimming as he has perforated eardrums and needs an operation to s ort this out. When his class go he has to stay behind which is hard enough as he loves swimming but what makes it worse is that anyone who misbehaves is not allowed to go and must work in another class. Often this teacher has assumed my son has also misbehaved and he gets the same punishment tasks as the others. One big problem with deafness is that it is invisible. If you have a limb missing it is instantly noticable. My son has perforated eardrums and can't hear as well as other people but as you can't see this people often assume he is ignorant or stupid. He may need a hearing aid and is fine about it as people will then know he has a problem.
Eight years ago, whilst 5 months pregnant with our second child, I noticed I couldn't hear as good as usual. I thought I probably needed my ears syringing or I had an infection. No such luck for me, I was sent for lots of hearing tests and was then told that I had lost half of my hearing. What do you do when you are told something like that, well, I spent around a couple of weeks feeling so sorry for myself, wallowing in self pity. Then it hit me harder, I sank into a depression seeing no way for me to communicate, I shut myself away, thinking that there would be no point seeing anyone if I could not understand them, the truth was, I was scared stiff, I didn't know what to do. Finally I got the kick up the backside that I needed, I had to think about what I would do when my 2nd child arrives. First the television went and a new tele with teletext was bought, then it was social services to see if they could help me in any way, they fitted a flashing door bell and the lights would flash if the phone rang, they also fitted a flashing smoke detector. Feeling rather stupid I went to see about hearing aids, and was pleasantly surprised at how much back ground noise they picked up. I carried on like this and learned to lip read, my husband also learned to lip speak along with my family and my sons, things got better and I was established in my way of life. As the years have gone on, more and more of my hearing has gone. I am now classed as profoundly deaf, on my last hearing test I heard just one sound, when I asked about the sound the audiologist told me it was equivalent to Concorde taking off, I had to laugh, the thought of me hearing concorde taking off. Earlier this year I was given a chance to try some new more powerful hearing aids. There was nothing to loose and everything to gain so I jumped at the offer. They were ordered and finally ready for me to try. I put them in and turned them on, straight away, I could hear everything going on around me, even paper rustling, I cried I was so happy. When I got home the first thing I heard was my youngest sons voice, I just stood there bawling my eyes out. That was the first time I had EVER heard his voice, it is the most amazing thing that will always stick in my mind, my sons also now had to come to terms with me being able to hear them. I still need to lip read to understand the sounds but we really have some fun, they would play games, whispering to test my new ears(what they call them) out testing to see if I could really hear them. They were just as amazed as I was. One thing I did notice was that almost everyone shouted at me, I kept asking "why are you shouting?", some people just laughed when they finally realised what I meant. Others failed to understand me. It's quite simple and goes for all people who are profoundly deaf-- A deaf person will NOT hear you however loud you shout, how can they, they are deaf. Some people who may be slightly hard of hearing, MAY need you to speak up. A person who has the same hearing problem as me, nerve deafness, may well need to lip read. I did ask why my hearing went like this, and I was told I must have bad genes, I know nothing of that subject so won't dwell on it. There are people who really do want to communicate. I've wrote the following just to show how I ask people to communicate with me. How can you help people who are deaf? These are MY ways. First, please ask if we lip read, I always say to everyone "I'm deaf and need to lip read". Always speak slower than normal and move your mouth more to pronounce words. It helps us determine the words better. If we cannot understand you, please do not say "oh it doesn't matter", as maybe it matters to us. PLEASE, don't shout at me, it won't make a difference. If you do sig n language, please don't pressume that all deaf people know it,thats not the case. That’s just how I live, I'm sure everyone has their own way. Now I'd like to finish this by telling you about the things that many hearing people should really think about, I know many of you already do. The most annoying thing for me is people Shouting, very loudly at their children to be quiet, I'm lucky I can now hear my children and I really LOVE to hear them. Imagine how you would feel if you could never hear them again. Music- I really missed music, it's a wonderful thing. Imagine never hearing a tune again. Dancing- my past hobbies included dancing, I went to dance school from the age of 9. Yes, some of you must be thinking I am daft, what has dancing got to do with deafness. The answer, if I cannot hear the music how can I dance. Telephone- I could talk for England, some people moan "oh who's that now". When you don't have a choice it makes it upsetting at times. I have a special gift, I can hear sounds now, not everyone will be able to, but please just stop and think for a moment. We don't want to be deaf and nothing would please me more than to be able to communicate without asking you to repeat yourself. Hearing my sons voice for the first time will remain one of my greatest moments in life. I don't want sympathy I just want to be treated as you would like to be treated. I'm sure you would feel similar if you were in my circumstances. Thanks for letting me share this with you.
After many months surfing Dooyoo, it seems to have become a bit of a trend recently to write ‘Member Advice On…’ ops about members own personal problems. Not one to shy away from such a challenge, I thought it was about time I got a new category added and told you a bit about how I deal with my problem. No yhwman, it isn’t some innate idiocy (although I do suffer from that from time to time ;) ), it’s all about my hearing problems. - Can you hear me? Can you hear me running? My problems all started quite some time ago – it was before I was 10, I remember that, but I forget exactly when it was. I was swimming around in my local swimming pool, and diving for the brick in fact, when my ear exploded in painful torrent of hot wax. Sound unpleasant? Well it was! I forget the specific chain of events, but I later developed a condition called ‘Glue Ear’, where fluid builds up behind the ear drum, and I had to have small tubes called ‘Gromits’ installed in my ears to clear away the excess wax, and later still I had something called ‘T-tubes’ which helped keep the air circulating in my ear. As a result, when all my problems with glue ear had dissipated, I was left with a small hole in each ear drum, of pin prick size, but large enough to impair my hearing. The hole in the right ear drum all but healed up, but I have the hole in my left drum to this day, about 7-10 years later. So I have the problem that I have a hearing impairment – while it isn’t so serious that I need a hearing aid (which I could have if I really wanted one), it’s still bad enough for me to have trouble hearing things! - So what’s up with your hearing? From my experience over the years, it seems my primary problem is with certain frequencies of sound – I can hear some things from a long way off very easily, but other things I have real trouble hearing even clos e by. It’s not a serious problem, I just have to get people to repeat themselves sometimes, and if I’m really concentrating on someone I tend to be able to hear what they’re saying, although excess background noise can be a problem too. - Don’t mess with me punk My hearing problem makes some things really annoying: · I can’t really go swimming without risking my hearing – if I get water in my ears I get an intense headache and wax discharge from my ear. · People get annoyed very quickly – as any mother will know, repeating yourself is really really annoying, and so a lot of people, even those I’ve known for ages, can get very annoyed very quickly. · Oh never mind – there is little more annoying for me than when someone says something, I miss it, and then they just say “Oh never mind” or “It doesn’t matter”. I want to know what you were going to say! · I’m all bunged up again – colds and hayfever bring even more misery to me than most. My ears get bunged up with mucus type fluid impairing my hearing even more. Sometimes I get rumbling noises in my ear continuously, other times things just get stupidly quiet. It makes me want to scream! Oh and sometimes when I sneeze it makes my ears pop and explode like when people are on planes. Urgh. · I want to chat too – if I’m having trouble hearing people, especially when I have a cold, then it’s very easy to get alienated from conversations, because I can’t hear enough to make decent conversation. And when you talk as much as me, that’s a problem! · Can’t touch this – I’m really sensitive about people putting their hands over my ears – if someone cups their hands over my ears completely, then it creates a vacuum in my ear, which hurts a lot when they remove them. · Where are you? – With on e of my ears buggered, directional hearing goes right out the window – so you can shout me from one side, but unless you're really close, I’ll have to look all around me to actually find you. Which really makes me look stupid! - What can I do? So, what if you're suffering from some or all of the same problems as me? While there's little you can do to completely eliminate the problems of hearing loss, but at least you can try and fix things up a little… · Get a hearing aid – if your hearing is unbearably bad, and you really have trouble hearing anything at all, then you few other options but to get one of these electronic devices that fits behind the ear and amplifies sound into the ear. · Tell people about your problem – I know it can be hard, but it's vital you tell all new people in your life about your hearing problem – work colleagues, new friends, etc. – a lot of them will make the effort to help by talking on your good side, etc. · Keep your calm – try not to get too annoyed with people who don't understand. After all, it's not really their fault most of the time, and you can only make matters worse by talking to them in a confrontational manner. · Position yourself – it may sound simple, but it can really help – sitting in the middle of a conversation rather than on the sidelines will enable you to hear it better. I've also been able to get a few of my friends to automatically walk on my right hand side, which helps. · Don't give up too easily – you WILL get alienated if you give up on a conversation straight away – you just have to listen harder, and you'll probably get to the point where you can figure out what people are saying just by extrapolating from their words and mouth movements. Like me! - I can hear clearly now the, um, rain has gone There's not mu ch more to say I think, although it's vitally important that you keep on check on your hearing levels – if it starts to go downhill then get to that doctors ASAP! Other than that, it's just a case of perseverance, good friends, and good luck! Hope you do well!
For a long time now i have suffered with deafness in both or one of my ears on and off and it is really horrible and disorientating. About two years ago my hearing started to go and i got really worried that for some reason i was going deaf then my partner ordered me to the doctors where i was told to go and see a specialist. I had tried before going to the doctors using ear drops etc with no success and the doctor tried syringing again useless. When i got to the clinic i had to wait two hours to be seen and they spent 4 hours carring out tests all sorts of strange follow the light with your eyes tests and bleep tests then after they had finished they said we will contact you. I was worring for the next three days and then they rang me and told me to use decongestion medicines so off i went and spent a fortune on sprays and tablets,well no joy even after taking all of those so i got back on the phone and could not in the space of three weeks get in contact with the doctor who saw me and his assistant brushed me off all the time. I still have major problems with my right ear and my left is not fantastic. I do plan to get back to the doctors and anybody suffering with any hearing complaint should seek advice straight away but at the moment i am so busy i can't get the time. You really don't fully appreciate your hearing until like me it starts to go and boy would i love to be able to hear fully again. My friends take the mic out of me in the pub because when i can't hear what's being said i just nod apparently with a really stupid look on my face and although they are only having a laugh it does really get to me(very frustrating) All i can say is it is not nice and i'd never wish deafness especially full deafness on anybody,look after your ears and hearing because it is a real pain when it don't work properly.
Sometimes I'm so deaf I have a job to hear myself blow-off! Sorry but I have to start with a joke or it will get too upsetting. I was about five or six years old when I first went for a hearing test that I can remember. It was at this test that I found out that I couldn't hear high pitched noises. For example I don't hear the timer on the cooker, but I know things are done by the smell of smoke. I can't hear my watch alarm, which was a waste of money but best of all I can't hear the wife when she screeches from the kitchen that the timer is going off! I have an alarm clock that gets louder by the second. Unfortunately I can't hear it for the first two pitches but luckily at 6am the wife manages to wake me up with an elbow in the ribs. Could have saved money on an alarm clock there. Seriously though, my hearing hasn't been as funny as I've made out. Most people would assume that my problems would occur with the children but it was the teachers that caused the most problems. At school, some teachers didn't want to know me because if I didn't hear something they didn't want to go over it. One teacher even picked on me for a year, and it wasn't until my mum came in and sorted them out in the classroom in front of everyone, to the cheers of others, that it stopped. The teacher was sacked after the headmaster got involved, and another teacher backed me up. You don't want to mess with my mum! I'm not profoundly deaf but my mum is a lot worse than me and wears hearing aids in both ears. She had it worse than me at school, as did my brother. I managed to stick up for my younger brother but there was nobody to stick up for me. This made me defensive about my hearing and I get frustrated very easily with myself and others. I took more interest in sport because the teacher took more interest in me and said "It doesn't matter that you are deaf as long as you can kick a ball ". I got in to most sports teams at school but my education probably suffered. When some people find out that I have a hearing problem they automatically speak verrrrrry slllooowwwly, and get right in my face. They raise their voices too and I find I shout back that "I'M NOT THAT DEAF!". People tend to assume that I can't do much or that I don't know much and I've found in job interviews that once they find out I'm deaf their face changes and I know I haven't got it. I do have a good job now and the people I work with are great, even one of the managers is deaf so he understands. My hearing does cause problems with the wife because I think she's said one thing but really she said something completely different. We can end up arguing about two entirely different things! It does have its good points though, as I can have selective hearing. I don't hear very well when the wife shouts that the washing up needs doing but can hear perfectly well when she says "Do you want a cuppa?". Also I've learned from mum how to lip read and when people across the room are talking about me I know exactly what they said, which the wife finds an advantage when it comes to gossip! As I get older my hearing could deteriorate but hopefully it won't, luckily my wife doesn't see it as a problem. There is a chance that it could be passed on to our children (don't get ideas dear!) but with the wife passing on epilepsy and eczema the poor little mites going to have enough to think about. We'll be able to get an NHS loyalty card! I think that deafness is only a problem if you let it be and don't listen to other people (excuse pun!) or let them effect you the way it effected me. Pardon, did you say something?