My Thoughts

My Thoughts on Christianity and Other Things

God With Us

Orion Spitzerlrot photo by NASA

Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,
“I will never fail you.
I will never abandon you.”
Hebrews 13:5

In my last post, I said I have become the care-giver for my wife. I must say, at first I was a bit over whelmed. I had no idea what was going on. Our lives changed quickly. I was bombarded with questions and forms to fill out. People would call me on the phone, and with the stress, my hearing went down. For those of you who are new to my blog, I have problems hearing. Have had problems hearing for most of my life. All of this that was happening was very stressful, and so of course talking on the phone added to the stress.

Fortunately, we have a fantastic support system. My wife’s brother and his wife are wonderful. Plus a whole lot of people were praying for us, and still are. But to be honest, I still have stress, but it’s not nearly as bad. One night as I laid in bed, worrying, I had a dream. I would like to tell you that dream.

I dreamed there a small house, all alone in the middle of an open field. The house was worn and battered from the weather and neglect. There were no longer any paint on the outer walls of this house. Suddenly I found myself in the living room of this old house. In the living room was a large pile of rocks. These rocks were like stones found in a river. They were smooth and clean with no sharp edges.

I picked up two stones. One in each hand. Both stones had the same writing on them. But I couldn’t read them, because they were written in Hebrew. And I don’t know Hebrew. Under the Hebrew, were English letters. But I still couldn’t read it because it was written so it would sound Hebrew phonetically. Then, one word lit up. Yahweh. At that moment, a single thought came to mind. “God With Us.” That was the end of the dream.

You can have a lot of different thoughts about that dream. Even though God will not leave us or forsake us, we will leave Him sometimes. The Bible is full of people who have done that. The first to do this was Eve. The second was Adam. Since then, everybody has done this. You, me, everybody.

I must remember, we all must remember, “God with us”. Also Psalm 118:8-9 says:
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes.
(Even the government)

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Changed

It’s been over a year since I wrote anything. A lot has changed. Some for the bad, and some good, and none of it was planned.

In 2017 my wife and I decided we wanted to start a ministry for the Hard of Hearing (HOH). Also about the beginning of the year, 2018, I read a book on hearing loss: Odyssey of Hearing Loss by Michael A. Harvey. It was the best book I did not like. It was a good book in that it told the truth about hearing loss. However, I did not like the book because it told the truth about hearing loss. It brought up memories and put me in a bad mood. I wrote a post called Audism. (Not Autism, but Audism) After I wrote the article, I realized my bad mood was in my writing. So I never published it. But my wife and I were still going to different churches and even a Christian camp to talk about the needs for those with hearing loss.

The HOH ministry was not for the Deaf because the Deaf already have churches and social gatherings. The hard of hearing often don’t have churches or social gatherings. Imagine having difficulty hearing. Now imagine being in church. You can’t hear well. You use an amplified system and that helps, until they show a video. You understand maybe only a little of what the video says. Now let’s say your hearing gets worse. You can no longer function in the hearing world. But you also don’t know ASL, (American Sign Language) so you can’t function in the Deaf world either. You become alone, so you stay home. You start avoiding friends and family. My wife and I wanted to change that.

Another thing I wanted to do, was to go back to school to learn computer support. Years ago I was trained in computer networking. But since they don’t use Windows 98 anymore, I decided to be retrained just in the basics, so I could get a part time job. Most people only know me as a mechanic. But I also have a degree in computer networking and was certified as an electronic technician.

Then my wife’s health declined. I became a caregiver. The whole dream of starting a ministry stopped. I dropped out of school. Everything changed. I might write about this someday, but I might not ever write about it. I haven’t decided.

There is another thing that has changed. Something I can’t explain. I can’t explain it, because I don’t understand it. But I know it’s happening, and I believe it is a good thing.

A few years ago I studied and wrote about the book of Revelation. It took me a year to get through it. Many times I wished there was a Jewish rabbi sitting right next to me to explain Revelation. There is so much of it that links to the Old Testament. For example, the altar in Heaven mentioned in Revelation 9:13, is the real thing. I believe the altar in Exodus 27:1-8 is only a replica of it.

I know God is absolute. His love is absolute. His judgment is absolute. His word is absolute. He is absolutely trustworthy. His Holiness, and His might, is absolute. I have seen evidence of this.

So recently, this thing that has changed, is that I have an increased love for Israel. It makes no sense. Or does it? Many of you have heard that Israel belongs to God. Many people, including myself, are developing a growing interest in Jewish roots. If it wasn’t for the Jews, there would not be any Christians. I believe that the present day Israel is the Israel of the Bible.

It seems like there are Gentile believers in Christ, that are being led by God to love Israel. There have always been Gentiles who love and support Israel and the Jewish people. But I believe their numbers are growing. It’s a sense I have. I am finding ads on the internet to learn Hebrew and other things. I am finding many ministries of not only Gentiles reaching out to Jews, but also Jews reaching out to Gentiles, for Jesus or Yeshua, as He is called in Hebrew. There is a Jewish ministry that is translating the Bible from the Hebrew point of view instead of the Gentile point of view. They are doing this to help both Jew and Gentile believers in our Lord, our Messiah, understand the scriptures. I already ordered one of these Bibles. It will be a while before the first one is published.

I know this a little ‘disjointed’. I have a lot on my mind. I’m hoping to start writing My-Thoughts again on a regular basis.

Jesus

Who is this Jesus? What is Christmas all about? Does anyone know anymore? If you watch a modern Christmas movie on television, you get romance and… something. I don’t know, they often talk about some kind of ‘Christmas magic’. Whatever that is. But you never hear about Jesus. Is there anyone out there that knows anything about Jesus? Or even knows His name?

What is interesting is that some people who have heard the name of Jesus, are angry about it. They are angry with not only God, but also with His Son, Jesus. They say with much anger, that there is no God, and they mock the name of Jesus. What is even more interesting is they say that since they do not believe in God, or Christ, the Lord must not ever be mentioned. Not even for Christmas. Often they say they are too smart to believe in God.

Brain dead hypocrites! They place Santa Claus at the highest place of honor at Christmas. Are they saying that they are so smart as to not believe in God, yet they believe in Santa Claus!?

But who is this Jesus? What about the angels you might hear about for Christmas?

Luke 2:8-12 talks about how the shepherds were terrified by just one angel.
In Matthew 26:53 Jesus said He could ask for thousands of angels for protection and it would happen.
In Genesis 19:21 an angel agreed not to destroy a whole village for a little while.
All through the book of Revelation, it talks about angels going to war, destroying all kinds of things and killing people. Also in Revelation 21:10-14 there are twelve angels guarding the the gates of New Jerusalem.

Angels are strong powerful creatures, who can do great harm and destruction, if they choose. They can be very scary beings, not cute wimps like in some pictures.

Now for Jesus. John 3:16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

When Jesus was born in the manger, He wasn’t surrounded by cute smiling cows. These were big beasts with cow snot dripping from their nose. And the sheep were not cute little cuddly fuzzy things. These too were farm animals that may be dirty and smelly. Also don’t forget the rats. I’m sure there were rats. This is what I believe Jesus was surrounded by, when He was born.

Yet these very great and mighty angels bowed down and worshipped this small new born child. Why? Because as great and mighty these angels are, they knew this small child named Jesus is greater and mightier than any of them. Jesus is LORD of all, and nothing can change this fact.

John 1:1-5 says the Word was with God, and was God, and created everything. John 1:14 adds, the Word became human and that He is God’s one and only Son.

No wonder the angels bowed and submitted themselves to Jesus. Jesus is God! And yet He loves us so much, He became flesh just so He could die for our sins. Then He rose from the dead, with His own body, breathing and eating with others, then went up to Heaven.

Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth. I know some will say that Jesus was never born in December. I know. So what? It doesn’t change the fact that on December 25th we still celebrate His birth.

Christmas is all about Jesus, our Lord.

Mercy for the Hearing

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” Matthew 18:21-22

Hearing Loss Symbol

A few years ago I was in a coffee shop when I noticed a Deaf woman signing to a friend on a tablet. After she finished, I was able to start up a conversation with her. This was before I learned American Sign Language (ASL). We communicated by way of a few signs and a lot of typing on the laptop I had with me.

I learned that she was born deaf and her sister was born hard of hearing. Both have been mistreated by the hearing community. However, she has been accepted into the Deaf community because of her deafness and because she was able to learn ASL. And there she made friends. (There is a difference between Deaf and deaf; Deaf is for those in the Deaf culture and Deaf community, whereas deaf is anyone who can’t hear.)

Her sister, however, was determined (by hearing people) not to be deaf enough for deaf school or for learning sign language, and therefore was neither deaf nor hearing and had very few friends.

The problem is that hearing people can talk and understand each other. Deaf people can sign and understand each other. However, the hard of hearing can speak but not hear well. This isolates us from many hearing functions. But most hard of hearing people do not know any sign language. This isolates us from the Deaf.

A real hatred for the hearing had grown between the two sisters. So why did this woman seem so pleasant? Jesus! The Lord had shown her mercy and now she can show mercy to the hearing people. She no longer hates them. Last year, when I was studying ASL, I was amazed at how well our Deaf teacher put up with some of the stunts the hearing students pulled. But then, I do believe she is a Christian. And I hate to say this, but even though I am also a Christian, I don’t believe I could have kept my cool like she did.

I have been going occasionally to a Deaf church in a near by town, not a translated service but a Deaf pastor signing for his Deaf and deaf congregation. This church service is in an upstairs room inside of a large hearing church, but all are welcomed, and often there is someone who will speak for those who do not know ASL. How does this Deaf pastor explain to hearing people the needs of the Deaf?

Since I am trying to start a ministry to bring the hard of hearing back into church, I thought I’d ask. However, my ASL wasn’t too good, and when I did ask, I realized that I may have insulted the man. He thought I wanted to help him, when instead I was asking him for help.

I remembered all the times over the years that I was misunderstood. Being thought of as lazy or stupid because I didn’t hear properly. Being looked down upon. Many people have the misconception that the deaf and hard of hearing are helpless, that we don’t know what we need, or that only hearing people understand our needs. Of course, this is not true. To make it worse, sometimes hearing people don’t believe us when we tell them our needs. A few people have even looked down on the deaf and hard of hearing with pity or contempt.

Thinking about all this, I knew I had to make it right with the pastor in Everett. So I wrote a long letter asking for forgiveness.

I am a hard of hearing man, between both hearing and Deaf worlds. When I get this hard of hearing ministry going (God willing), I will be working across culture and sub-culture lines. I will need to give and receive a lot of grace, mercy and prayer. It is my hope that through the ministry, and through showing mercy, I will also be able to make church more accessible to the hard of hearing.

What Is Going On?

Democrats are against Democrats. Republicans are against Republicans. And of course they’re against each other. What is going on? Why is this happening?

It seems like there are Americans who want to tear America apart. Why? I believe I know why. And what’s more, I believe God even warned us about it.

“I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3

The nation of Israel belongs to God. Yes He has punished that country from time to time, but He also said He would curse any who shows contempt towards Israel.

The Lord your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate and persecute you. Deuteronomy 30:7

I was amazed at how people were reacting about the presidential election back in November 2016. When Trump won the election, many people were very upset. On the west coast of the United States, people in Washington State, Oregon, and California said they wanted their state to leave the nation. Why? If you ask them if they love their country, they would most likely answer ‘Yes’. So why would they want to tear their own country apart?

Many if not most of these people believe that Israel must be divided into Israel and Palestine. Many of the same people as well as government officials work hard for this ‘two state solution’. Some will do whatever they can it seems, like to make Israel the bad guy. They may say they support Israel. But their idea of supporting Israel is tearing that small country in two. So now The Lord God put it into their hearts to tear their own country in two. And it seems they don’t understand.

I heard that before the election Trump was the only candidate who signed a paper claiming he supported Israel and will move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying that all of Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. I don’t know if this is absolutely true, but if it is, it would explain why Trump was elected. God kept His promise. “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:3

The way the United States has been treating Israel, I’m surprised we haven’t fallen yet. I’m glad we haven’t. But from what I’ve seen from the presidential election in 2016, I wonder if when God does judge us and we fall, how many Americans who claim to love America, will be OK with this. How many will not understand.

God may seem slow in keeping His promise, but He does keep them. The God of Israel is God. He is Lord. I believe in the God of Israel and His son Jesus Chirst.

Flag of Israel

Their Loss

Matthew 7:13
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.

Years ago I knew a man who at first was a nice man. At first we were friends. Then I told him about the Lord Jesus. This man’s then showed me hate. Lots of hate. Hate for most anything Godly. What’s more is he seemed proud of his hate. I finally broke all contact with him. A few years later, he died of heart problems.

I find the end of his life, very sad. He proudly mocked Jesus and all who believes in Him. He would insult and down grade us with much pleasure. Now he’s gone, and not only that, he even lost his soul. Sad. What a waste.

I also known another man who was a Buddhist. He was telling me how great Buddha was. So I told him about Jesus. He was interested and asked me questions. I did the best I could to answer them.

Finally he was telling me that Buddha was every bit of a holy man as Jesus. I told him “No, Jesus is Lord. He is the Son of God.” Then with ‘great authority’ this man told me that Jesus never told anyone to do anything.

I said, “What? What are you talking about?” He added, “Also Jesus never got mad at anyone. he’s just like Buddha.” I told him, “Yes Jesus did get mad.” He answered back again with his ‘great authority’, “NOT IN MY BIBLE HE DIDN’T!” I then told this man about when Jesus made a whip, over turned tables, and drove people out of the temple because, because they were selling animals there.”
John 2:13-16

I continued, “Jesus is Lord. He died for your sins, but rose back to life again in three days, physically, with His own body. So anyone who believes in him, ask for forgiveness, can go to Heaven. Can your Buddha make that claim?”

Since I would not turn from Jesus, this man wouldn’t have anything to do with me anymore.

A third man, also a good man. However he told me he wanted nothing to do with God.

All three decided they did not want God. I understand that it’s their choice. I also understand when Jesus said, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.” I understand most will not make it to Heaven. Most will not have ever lasting life. I also understand America is turning away from God.

So should we stop telling people about Christ? Should we give up? How much time, money and effort should we use, bringing people to Christ?

In the mid 1970s there were billboard signs saying “I found it. And you can too.” It was suppose to be a way of bringing people to Jesus. Most people will say it was a big waste of time and money and that it didn’t work. But is this true?

In about 1972 or 73, people started talking to me about Jesus. In 1976, I saw the I found it signs. I called the phone number on the sign and agreed to meet with someone. That evening I decided to give my life to Jesus. The next day I told many people that I decided to follow Jesus.

More and more people are becoming hostile to God. But please do not give up. There are still a few people around who will come to know the Lord.

Jesus said “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, (or people) baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

What I Learned in ASL Class

Google

Last year I was reading a blog about the deaf and how many of their relatives won’t learn ASL. I myself have seen this. But as I read farther, I realized they were talking about a different ASL than what I thought. They were talking about Australian Sign Language. I was thinking American Sign Language. Interesting that two countries in different parts of the world have the same cultural problems. Of course since I am an American I’ll be talking about what I learned while taking American Sign Language.

I was talking with a couple of people once about why people who loose their hearing will often drop out of church. I explain that once that happens, that church could loose a valuable resource. The people said something like, “Just crank up the sound.” I told them it doesn’t always work that. Much of the time captioning is needed or other technology. They had a hard time understanding this.

Google

So I explained that for me and many others that are hard of hearing or deaf use captioning when watching TV. One of them finally spoke up saying, “I never thought of someone who can’t hear, needing to rely on sight to understand what’s going on.”

There is a joke that goes around the deaf community as while as the hard of hearing, is someone being on an airline and telling a stewardess that they can’t hear them saying airline safety speech. So the ‘helpful’ stewardess brings the manual written in braille for the deaf person to read. So often people are either clueless or simply don’t think.

And this brings me to the American Sign Language course I’m taking. My teacher is deaf, and I’m sure she gets tried of some of the stupid thing her students say or do. I shouldn’t say stupid if someone doesn’t know any better. But after awhile, I believe I would go nuts with it all. How does she put up with it all?

One day I decided to ask her. But I wanted to ask in the correct American Sign Language grammar. (It’s different from English) So now I’m thinking, “OK. With people, you have patience how?” Then the answer came to me. I don’t need to ask my teacher. The Lord just told me. I instantly thought patience = love. Love = patience.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.

Often our teacher says she loves us. Before, I thought it was just her personality. I still do. But now I also believe that maybe she says this, so she will remember to love others the way the Lord wants us to. (I believe she is a Christian)

So the most important thing I learned in ASL class love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 And if I want to bring non-hearing people back to church, I need to remember
1 Corinthians 13:1-7
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

And those are my thoughts.

I Have Been Busy

It’s been a long time since my last post, and as you can see, I haven’t prepared anything for our Lord’s Birthday.

All I can say is, “Lord Jesus, Happy Birthday. I can only give myself. Nothing more. You know what I’m trying to do in your name. Please help me succeed and bring glory to you. Amen.”

I am going to cheat a little (Did I just say that after praying?) and insert a link to a post I did before. Here’s the link. I decided to add another link here.

Now I will tell you what I have been up to. I’ve gone back to school. This is my fourth time. (Last year didn’t count as I soon had to drop out due to health reasons.) I started out taking an automotive repair class, then electronic technology, then computer networking, and now American Sign Language. Since most of my life I have been repairing cars, trucks, (both military and civilian) lawns mowers, generators and many other things, I call myself an old mechanic.

Many of you know I don’t hear well. A few of you know because of the type of hearing loss I have, no hearing aids can help me. And my wife and I believe it may be getting worse. Then again maybe it’s temporary. I wrote about this a few months ago. Rare Hearing This is why I decided to learn ASL. ( American Sign Language) Many hearing people tend to look down on non-hearing people. Either consciously or subconsciously. Because of this, if worse comes to worse I want to hopefully become part of the Deaf community.

I have been doing my best in ASL class. My grade point average so far has been 3.9. In the United States 4.0 is perfect.

I was invited to a Deaf church once, so I went. What a very humbling experience. I did a report on it for school. Here’s part of it.

When the sermon started, I was a little disappointed that Pastor Nick and his wife weren’t there. The man who did preached though seemed to have done a good job. I was also surprised that someone there was translating. At first they had praise and prayer requests. It’s been many years since I’ve seen that. I miss it. After a while I got up with a prayer request. I told them that I wasn’t hearing or deaf, but instead am hard of hearing. I need… I didn’t know enough to sign more. The man who sat in front of me signed for me. I spoke, “I need to learn this language because technology can’t help me. I want prayer to become fluent.”

After that there was prayer. They even prayed that I would become fluent in ASL. I like that. The preacher then preached. The subject was on 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy. Even though the man who sat in front of me spoke for the preacher, I understood very little because his back was towards me. I was a little able to fellow along only because all the verses were shown on the projector.

I was invited back and I would like to go back. But, boy do I need more learning!

Anyway back to Christmas. I know it’s Christmas Eve here, but for many of you it’s already Christmas. Remember, this is Lord Jesus birthday. We are saved by grace only when we believe in Him.

Merry Christmas - colored

Hearing Loss to Dementia

Leviticus 19:14 Do not insult the deaf or cause the blind to stumble. You must fear your God; I am the Lord.

What a scary title. A year ago or more I heard that hearing loss could lead to dementia. Is this true? Or is it a scare tactic to sell hearing aids? It first I didn’t know, but now after what I have read, I do believe it’s true.

Google

Google

However to make things complicated, it’s not always true. It just looks like it. A quote from Hearing Loss Association of America says:
In older people, a hearing loss is often confused with, or complicates, such conditions as dementia.

Often times people with a sharp mind will still be called half-wit, dim-wit, not-bright, and stupid. All because they don’t hear well. And if they on the older side, maybe even be thought of as having some sort of dementia.

So, how do you know if it’s really dementia? My thinking (remember I am no expert) is get your hearing tested. Then if you need a hearing aid or a cochlear implant, get one. If things aren’t any better, see your doctor.

Recently I have read a few articles about the subject. To me this all makes sense about how untreated hearing loss could lead to dementia. Especially if you’ve been hearing all of your life, and then you loose some or all of it, it could be very discouraging. Without hearing your loved ones, your music, and other things, you could become depressed. And if you become depressed, you could eat more, (and more junk food) and increase your chances of getting diabetes. However according to Living With Hearing Loss, those with higher than normal glucose level are more likely to have a hearing loss. It seems like diabetes and hearing loss feed off each other.

Also if you’re depressed, you’re more likely to stay home and isolate yourself. This is bad for two reasons. One you’re less likely to exercise yourself, which means your muscles will soften and shrink. It’s bad for your heart too. But another reason is your brain will also weaken and shrink! If you don’t try to hear and understand people and not the TV, that part of your brain will weaken and shrink.

Years ago I read that rabbits in the wild, often have a larger brain than those that are kept in a cage. Don’t cage yourself at home.

There is a book out there called Keep Your Brain Alive. You can buy it at Amazon. I read it years ago and I reading it again.

On the subject of keeping your brain alive; I have noticed two things that I have found interesting. One, people seem to stop learning after high school or college. There are exceptions of course. But most likely after they graduate, that’s it. They stop learning.

Another thing I have noticed is many people don’t seem to think. They don’t seem to think about what they think they know and they don’t seem to think about what they don’t know. They don’t wonder about things. For an example: You look at a clock and it says it’s 6:00 in the morning. But is it true? 6:00AM may be the official time, but is it the correct time? New Orleans and Dallas are both in the same time zone. Yet people in New Orleans will see the sunrise before the people in Dallas. The sun will also be over head or at the noon position in New Orleans before it will be in Dallas. This means the clocks in New Orleans and/or in Dallas are wrong. Maybe by as much as 25 minutes or more. Then add Daylights Savings… and well I’ll let you figure it out.

So will you get dementia with you hearing loss? I don’t believe you have to. But I believe you should work towards not getting it.

– First get your hearing loss treated.
– Take care of yourself. Loose weight if you need to. (If you can) Eat healthier foods. (Even though nuts, like pecans maybe healthy, pecan pies are not. Peanuts on your ice cream doesn’t help much either) Exercise. (I know some people may think that’s a dirty word. But it’s not) About exercising, I was told that in the 1960s the United States was pushing physical education on grade school students. The reason was, exercise helped kids study better. Not just because they were tired, but because of the oxygen rich blood going to their brain.
– Socialize. It may be difficult, but I believe it will exercise your brain. Including the audio parts of it. Don’t stop being yourself. If you’re normally out going, keep it up. Don’t avoid your friends.
– Learn something. Take a class. Read a how-to book.

And now I am so tempted to add a link to a sweet sweet song. OK, maybe it’s not so sweet. Well for those who are old enough to remember this, and those who aren’t, here’s “They’re Coming To Take Me Away”

By the way, this song is one of the very few that I can honestly hear the beat.

Rare Hearing

Leviticus 19:14 Do not insult the deaf or cause the blind to stumble. You must fear your God; I am the Lord.

I have been asked to write about my hearing for Hearing Loss Association of Washington State because, well, I hear differently than most. But where do I start? Also how technical should I get?

Google

Google

My hearing loss is called Audio Processing Disorder. And for many years my hearing has been a bit of a mystery. It’s like having hearing ears but a deaf brain. Yet I have never thought of myself as disabled by it.

When I was beginning to talk, my parents noticed I was talking as if I was hard of hearing. However I was found to have perfect hearing. So I was given an IQ test and that too was very good. So I was given lots of speech therapy.

Grade school was difficult. Sometimes I did the wrong homework. Or no homework. Spelling was very difficult. How can I sound out the words if so many letters sound the same. “You mean b d e p really do have different sounds? And if all the letters have different sounds then why is ‘laugh’ spelled l-a-u-g-h and ‘calf’ is c-a-l-f? Let’s not forget ‘elephant’! Why does ‘spelled’ sound like ‘spelt’?” I do hear, but what am I hearing?

When the music teacher brought in the record player and played some music, she would ask, “Hear the ‘something’ instrument?” I never could. “Is it ‘this’ instrument, or ‘that’ instrument?” they both sounded the same for me. My wife says I often can’t hear harmony.

Here is another problem I had, but with arithmetic. On paper it was easy. I had little to no problems. But on the blackboard I had problems. (Yes kids, once a long, long time ago the white board was black and we wrote on it with white chalk.)

I would hear the teacher say “Add 50” so I would write 50. “4 plus…” What?? Now I have to erase the zero and replace it with a four? I would look at the other kids, but they would always write the correct number the first time. How?

After a while I decided that she would always pause in the middle of the number. So when I went to the blackboard next time with 5 other kids, I heard something like “40” OK I write down four waiting for the next digit. “Plus 27” What?? Again?? How would the other kids know she would only say 40? For many years I couldn’t understand how. But I believe I have an understanding now.

A few years ago I had a bad reaction to some medicine. I wrote a little about this in my post Bad Medicine. Anyway when I was recovering from the effects of the drug, my doctor sent me to a specialist to test my cognitive thinking. Even though I was still recovering, I was already testing just in the high average. The specialist also told me that I definitely had characteristics of someone with an audio processing disorder.

I was told that when my brain senses a gap in communication, it takes it as a lack of information. My brain would then try to fill in that gap with something that would make sense whether it was said or not.

This may explain why I had difficultly doing math problems on the blackboard with the teacher saying the numbers. It also explains why I had trouble learning Morse Code. If someone sent ..-. would that really be an ‘F’ or did I hear a slight pause making it .. ‘I’ -. ‘N’ for ‘IN’. What if someone sends the word ‘FOX’ which is ..-. — .–. I may hear ..-..—-.–.. In other words I would just hear noise.

Music is another problem. I don’t hear the beat. I can’t clap to the beat. Yet I wonder if I hear things others don’t. For an example, there is an old TV show called Airwolf. When the helicopter on television went into ‘high-performance-mode’ I would hear this horrible sound. I know it’s supposed to sound ‘cool’ to most people, but I hated it. To me it was a loud screeching noise and it sounded like all the bearings were locking up.

By the way, I never liked loud. I was the weird kid in high school who never played the music loud. And even though my hearing loss was only about 3-5 db, it’s now about 30-35 db loss and I still don’t like loud noise. I wear hearing protectors a lot when I work.

And this brings us to the use of assisted listening devices. I do use them. A lot. Without captioning on TV, I miss a lot. Same with movies. In church I use the FM system not for amplification (although I may a little) but to block unwanted sound. If I use a single ear-bud, my understanding is poor. However if I use a headphone or dual ear-buds, they help to block out unwanted sounds then I can adjust the volume to the ‘center of my head’. As far worship music goes, I avoid it. It’s loud. That’s when I have coffee.

Oh yes, I also speech read a lot which is different from lip reading. Lip reading is difficult. Speech reading is much easier as it involves the whole face as well as body language. I wrote a little about this in my post named, Lip Reading?.

So this is a little insight of my rare hearing. I realize many ‘hearing people’ will still have no understanding of this. I’m different, I know. I’m even different from most hard of hearing people.

Since rare often equals exotic, I like to look at it as having exotic hearing. And since hearing aids are worthless for me, and cochlear implants would have devastating effects on me, think of all the money I save!

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