My Thoughts

My Thoughts on Christianity and Other Things

Archive for the tag “disabilities.”

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.

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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!

Ha Fra Bun

Hearing Loss Symbol

Hearing Loss Symbol

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

I was in the store when my wife called me on my cell phone. I was told to pick up some “ha fra buns”.

There was a memorial I went to not long ago. I was excepting one or two deaf people to be there. But they weren’t. I don’t know why. Maybe because of lack of transportation, or illness. (she is old) Maybe she was out a town. Or maybe because of the way many hearing people treat the deaf and the hard of hearing. Or maybe just the way some really good hearted people unknowingly treat people with disabilities.

I know of another woman who has her cochlear implant for about a year now. She is frustrated. Frustrated about how she hears and how people seem to treat her. I told her that hearing people are clueless.

For an example, a medical center will have a recording that’s difficult to hear and understand. And this may be the number you need to call to reach an audiologist! Why? Or how about the telephone company? Here is a company in the business of communication. You would think they would sound better than some one talking through a toilet paper tube.

Another thing that puzzles me are court rooms. I was called to jury duty once. Before I went in, I told them that I have trouble hearing and I need an assisted listening device. When I went in for jury duty I found that they didn’t have one ready. Interesting. Don’t these lawyers know that the Americans with Disabilities Act is a Federal law? The equipment they finally gave me, was a joke. I told them I still couldn’t hear well. At that point the lawyers thought I was too much trouble to keep around and they let me go home. I was relieved of jury duty. This was good!

A month ago at a meeting with a local chapter of Hearing Association of America, a woman was talking about how we should press for more assisted listening devices for court houses. I then told them I didn’t want them for use on jury duty. Because if they were available for those on jury duty, then how could I get out of jury duty? She wasn’t too happy with me, but understood completely.

On the good side of things are movies. The theaters I’ve gone to have wonderful captioning devices.

There are two different types of captioning devices. One is the goggles and the other is the mirror type. I’ve never used the mirror type, but some really like it.

The goggles are based on military technology. The fighter jets have the instrument gages shown on the windshield so the pilot see what’s going on without taking his eyes off the horizon. The caption goggles work much the same way. You can read the caption without taking your eyes off the movie.

Another good I’ve seen was when I rented a car recently. First I must say I do not like renting cars. Period. There was no technology used at this one place, but the man behind the counter was respectful and professional, and he wrote things down for me.

Fish Kisser

But this is rare. Most hearing people are clueless. Many seems to believe that if they shout, it will help. They’re wrong. It also doesn’t help to exaggerate your word so you look like you’re kissing a fish. Please don’t be a ‘Fish Kisser’. Look at us, let us see your face and speak clearly. And if we don’t understand, reword what you said.

For those of you who haven’t figured out what ‘ha fra bun’ is, it’s ‘hot cross bun’.

I Am Stubborn

Hearing Loss Symbol

Hearing Loss Symbol

Imagine being in a room with a small group of people sitting on metal folding chairs. Some even holding a cup of coffee. Someone stands in front the of the room and says, “Hi. My name is Steve, and I am stubborn.” And everyone answers back, “Hi Steve.” I know this sounds funny, but this is serious. I found that I can be my own worst enemy.

Off and on for the last few years someone would ask me why I don’t have a captioned phone. Even my mom asked why I don’t get one.

For casual talk, I do OK on the phone; for the most part. But I still miss things. For detailed information, I have trouble. I can’t fill in the blanks for that. Also when I get tired or frustrated, I loose concentration. Then my speech understanding goes down. But like I said, for light talk I often do well enough that some people don’t realize I don’t hear well.

A week ago though, I had a lot of trouble. You see I upgraded my wife’s laptop from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Everything worked very well except the online videos. I went to Microsoft website and left my phone number so they could call back. Three hours later they called. “OK I can do this” I thought.

The woman on the other end wanted me to type: “ah, ah, aaw” and other letters.
I answered back “You want me to type ‘a a r’ and what else?”
“No sir, ah ah aaw” and then more letters I couldn’t understand.
“OK a k r, what?”
“No sir. Ah as in apple. Ah as in house” (I quickly thought: That was an ‘H’?) She continues, “Aaw as in room”

I don’t remember the actual letters, but you get the idea. At that time I handed the phone over to my wife. When the IT woman made the remote access I took over.

If anyone is curious, the video never did work. So I removed Windows 10 and replaced it with Ubuntu 15.04. Now everything works.

Here is the truth. Most people wearing ear protectors can still hear better than me. And even though I do have a cell phone and I do use it, I will often hand it over to my wife. During church, if there is a video, many of them are meaningless to me. (No caption)

Only a couple of people know this, but because my hearing loss is so different than most, I usually don’t hear the beat in the music at church. I can clap to the beat only by watching others. (Most hard of hearing people can hear the beat. Even those with worst hearing than mine.)

Matthew 7:3-5
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”

I don’t want to tell you why I have resisted getting a captioned phone. But now I’m beginning to think maybe I should get one. I should also stop being stubborn. In this case being stubborn is the same as being a hypocrite.

Many of you have heard of Dave Ramsey Financial Peace classes. And even though Dave Ramsey’s DVDs are captioned, I want more for the hard of hearing as well as maybe the deaf community. I want it done right for them.

Because everybody’s hearing is different, we need: live real time caption for group discussion.
Also personal PA system, (their small enough to fit in a pocket) and either a looped room or a neck loop for the PA because some of us really need it.

I don’t know how this will work, but I do know I need lots of prayer. Prayer that I can get all this together, and prayer that I won’t be so stubborn when it comes to my own hearing loss.

Welcome To My World

Hearing Loss Symbol

Hearing Loss Symbol

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

“English is my second language, I have no first.” quote from me, Steve Pettijohn

Unless you had a hearing loss or deafness from a very young age, yet born to hearing parents; this may not fully make sense.

The relationship between a family member and I has taken a strange turn in the last few months. This person has entered my world.

Brief history. One of my first memories was sitting in a chair getting my hearing tested. When they found that I could hear the beeps well, they tested my IQ. When they found my IQ was good, well… they didn’t know what to do with me. So they sent me through lots and lots of speech therapy. In the 1950s and 60s no one knew what was going on. But because I can hear beeps, I made it through 14 years in the military. It was eleven years ago or so, I was finally told I have an audio processing problem. (That explains a lot)

Now fast forward. In August 2014, this relative went from a mild hearing loss to deaf in just a few days. And of course she was greatly bothered by this, and scared. She said she thought she understood hearing loss, now realized that she never had a clue.

Now I find myself in an odd role of leading her through ‘the world of not-hearing’. She would say this and that, and I would answer back, “I know. That’s normal”. She complains that nothing sounds right. She has a difficult time understanding people. So I sent her some of the articles I have written in this blog to help her out.
Afterwards, Her: “I don’t know if I can learn to do what you do.”
Me: “You can do it.”
Her: “I don’t know, I’m a lot older than you.”
Me: “I know you’re older than me. But you can still do it.”
Her: “Everything sounds the same to me.”
Me: “Yea to me too. Like B, D, E, and even the beginning of ‘October‘ and ‘awful‘ sounds the same. I also have trouble with ‘pen‘ and ‘pin‘ and many other words. Now you see why I had so much trouble learning to spell. You can’t sound out the words if they all sound the same.”
Her: “Oh yeah.” (I can’t believe it. NOW she understands? After all these years?)

As time goes on, she is going to learn a lot about my world.

I know from being with others who have grown up with a hearing loss, my experience is very typical.

So now what? I have never thought of myself as disabled because of my hearing loss, and I still don’t. She is experiencing a great drop in audio volume. Once she gets her cochlear implant the volume will be high again, however because of the implant her audio processing ability be different than ever before. At that time her hearing will most likely be much better than mine again, but because of her new audio processing difficulties she may need me to help her adjusting to her new world. The world I have lived in for nearly 60 years.

Could I be of service? I don’t know. To me this so strange because in my mind, I am not disabled from hearing loss.

Non-Hearing Christmas

Hearing Loss Symbol

Hearing Loss Symbol

I should have written this before Thanksgiving, but I didn’t. Oh well. Christmas, New Years, and yes, even Thanksgiving, though it has already past; is a time for family and friends to be together. A lot of people have a slight hearing problem. But there are a few that have a big hearing problem. Maybe even deaf. But that’s OK. All of you can still have a Merry Christmas. You just need to know how to communicate.

First relax. Don’t let them just sit in the corner somewhere. Interact with them. Treat them like you would anyone else, almost.

As someone with a hearing loss myself, I’ll say, look at us when you talk. And when you talk, do as my wife does and project your voice. But do not exaggerate your speech. In other words don’t TAAALLK LLLIIIKE THTHTHIISSS. I don’t know what you’ll look like, but some people when they do that, look like they’re trying to make out with a fish. Please do not be a ‘Fish Kisser’.

Another thing is let us see your face. Your full face. Don’t sit in the shadows looking out. Most likely, you are NOT a cold war secret agent. We know who you are. Well someone does. Here are the lyrics and song of Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers in 1966. Somehow this song doesn’t seem very Christmasy. Can you imagine Christmas carolers singing this song? Also, I wonder what kind of ‘secret agent spy stuff’ Santa Claus uses in the song Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.

The best conditions for communicating is in a quiet setting. But that’s very unrealistic in a family holiday gathering. So be patient with us. After all we’re patient with you. Usually.

My hearing loss is different than most. I hear, but I still miss things. The best way to describe it is like having hearing ears but a deaf brain. Yet I have 14 years of the United States military service.

For many years I went with my wife to hear the entire Handel’s Messiah. I didn’t like it. All I heard was two and a half hours of Tarzan calls. And without seeing Tarzan wrestling with alligators and fighting lions, I’d get bored. But for my wife, I went.

Then when I was writing my post Revelation 19 I found this video with words to the “Hallelujah Chorus”. I was absolutely, totally amazed at what I saw. I had no clue of what I wasn’t hearing.

So far in this post, I have the Secret Agent Man song, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town and the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah, so how about a few more, with the lyrics of course.

O Holy Night
Mary Did You Know
Silent Night
Go Tell It On The Mountain

Merry Christmas

Dance Night

dance night

On February 15, 2014 there was a Sweetheart Dance at a community center in Kirkland, Washington put on by Friendship Adventures. Our church is active in Young Life Capernaum so a few weeks before, my wife and I as well as a few others from our church were asked to be chaperones. By the time my wife and I arrived at 5:30, it was already packed with people wanting to have fun. We waited in line for pasta with meat sauce, salad and a roll with cake afterward.

Soon a DJ was yelling something and people got excited, then there was music (I think it was music) and some dancing started. I asked my wife if she wanted to dance. But she said ‘later’.

Looking around I saw a young woman in a wheelchair who comes to our church. She is part of the Young Life Capernaum group Bible study. Now before any of you get funny ideas, my wife and I did talk about it in the car on the way over there. So when the “music?” was going full volume and young people were kicking up their heels, I went to my wheelchair bound friend and asked her if she wanted to dance. She said “Yes”.

So I grabbed both of her hands and kicked up my heels. She was swinging her hands back and forth and was having fun. Then I let go of one hand and raised her other hand up above her head and gently spun the wheelchair around. She was surprised, but she loved it. After awhile another chaperone from our church danced with her for awhile.

Watching some of these young people was interesting. I watched one couple and the girl wanted to kiss the boy she was dancing with. But every time she tried, he would duck back. She was definitely more into him than he was into her. Most every one else either danced or watched, or ate more cake.

After awhile I decided to dance with the gal in the wheelchair again. So I went out to the dance floor, grabbed her hands and kicked up my heels again. Then the music paused and began again and after still kicking up my heels, I noticed every one else doing the… Slow dance??? Wait a minute! I may have a slight hearing problem, but I do know the music for a slow dance it should have a slower pace sound! Now what? I wasn’t planning on this.

Happy_Dancing_Cat_400x394_6916_png-1

Well I did the only thing I could do. I bent over, put my right hand on her left shoulder and held her right hand and slowly moved her around the dance floor. Guys let me tell you. When you stand at over 6 feet 3 inches (1.9 meters) tall, it’s not easy to bent over a wheelchair like that for the whole song!

I danced with my wife a few times, both a slow and otherwise. After awhile she told me to stop copying other people. But I couldn’t hear the music! How am I suppose to know how to dance if I don’t watch other people? Instead of music all I heard was noise, like that of an extra loud carnival. In fact the slow music and the fast music sounded the same to me. Once I was sitting watching the people, and with all the random noise, everyone on the dance floor jumped at once! Then with all the random noise they started doing the “YMCA” sign with their arms.

My wife and I left a half hour early. I couldn’t take any more of the sound. Before we left though I went over to my friend in the wheelchair and thanked her for the dance. Then my wife and I left and had a bite at a Mexican restaurant on the way home. I think it was quiet, I’m told it was. My ears were ringing. In fact they were still ringing all through church the next morning. But it was fun. After church I saw the gal in the wheelchair and she found the evening very enjoyable.

Hoo Hoo Hoo-aaoo

Is it ‘hoo‘ or ‘hoot‘?

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

Once in a while someone would ask me about hearing loss. There are so many things I could say, I have no idea where to start.

First, even though I do have problems hearing, I’m not deaf, and there are lots of different kinds of hearing loss. The kind I have is different than most. People with severe hearing loss are at times mistreated. And the deaf are treated worse.

Imagine being in school and your teacher gives you homework. The next day you find out that you did the work wrong. Either you did the wrong questions, didn’t read what you should or who knows. You just got it wrong. Now you’re labeled stupid, lazy, or both. Some of your friends may think of you as stupid even though an IQ test shows you’re not. Also, in high school, even though you may want to take a certain class that you know you would really like or go into a certain field of work you are told “Don’t bother”. I know a woman with severe hearing loss who wanted to be a nurse. Her nursing teacher told her not to bother because she would never make it. Well she did and even retire from being a nurse after many years. This was a long time ago before accommodations for disabled people were as standard as as they are today. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Once I had a temporary job at a place where all we did was removed old printers and replaced a few with new ones. One day a man asked me something. I was busy and didn’t understand the question. He asked again. I stopped and then realized he was asking why I was taking away ‘his’ printer. I knew he was the supervisor for that part of the office, which means he was the one that passed out the memo from the corporate office to people telling about us taking away the printers. He should have known what I was doing and why. So, why should I stop what I’m doing and concentrate on his blabbing? Thinking he was an idiot, I simply said “Because I was told to” and continued with my work. After all; why should I waste my time explaining it to him? He was supposed to know. A few months later I found out he told a few people that I ‘wasn’t too bright’ because I couldn’t understand his question and because I gave a simple answer.

But right now I’m thinking of the deaf and what they go though. According to www.silentblessings.org “Nearly 95% of all deaf children have hearing parents and only about 10% of those parents ever learn enough sign language to hold a conversation with their children.” I believe it, and it’s not acceptable. There are people out there who can’t even ask their deaf brother or sister if they want a cup of coffee.

I have known deaf people both from college and socially. In both cases people often ignore them. I have seen socially, where the deaf would just sit off to the side by themselves. Once in awhile someone would try to communicate with them using a paper and pencil. This is good that they try to communicate, but I wonder about some who have honestly known a deaf person for over 50 years and still can’t ask if they would like some coffee using language. I know I will be in trouble for writing this; but it’s true. The deaf are alone.

The hard of hearing (I have to remember to add the word ‘of’ in hard of hearing) have another problem. They’re not hearing and they’re not deaf either. This often cause other problems, both emotionally and socially. They can often hear some things but not other things. Many people don’t understand this.

Mark 16:15
And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.

Christian have been going all over the world following this command. We have learned new languages and cultures and have been willing to sacrifice to tell others of Jesus. All this is good. But, what is our excuse for not reaching out to the deaf?

I don’t like talking about myself, but as I have said earlier, my hearing is different than most. All through my life I could hear noise but not always understand what it was. Yet I have served 14 years in the US military, been a mechanic for many years, was even certified in electronic technology, and ran my own business. Still in high school I got a ‘D-‘ in music, and was about to fail. Even though sometimes I like to hear music, it’s not the same for me as maybe for you. Only a few years ago I was told that I may have Auditory Processing Disorder. I don’t like talking about this. But I was told that as I get older my hearing will get worse. Because of my type of hearing loss, hearing aids are of little or no value. I tried it once and I honestly couldn’t tell the difference, except when the hearing aid tech finally cranked up the volume so much I got feed back as I climbed into the cab of my pickup.

So if I loose more of my hearing, will I became isolated or shunned by people? I don’t know. My wife and I have talked about this from time to time. I should study more ASL. (American Sign Language)

Oh, by the way; about the title of this post. “Hoo Hoo Hoo-aaoo” is what I hear sometimes on TV. But sometimes I’ve wondered if it was Hoot, Hoot, Hoot-Owl. Trying to be wise and solve a crime may seem to fit the show if you use your imagination. Close Caption shows it as Who, Who, Who are you. It’s part of the theme song for CSI. I tried to find a website with the captioned theme song, but I couldn’t. Maybe some of you can. So I will end this with:

Mark 16:15
And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.
(including the deaf)

Not Hearing, Not Deaf

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

One night I was watching a rerun of a TV show “Cold Case” and at the same time I’m trying to find something on the internet and was failing. I was disappointed and getting frustrated.

Here’s a little background. I decided to supplement my income a little by teaching ‘Cheap Computers’ in an adult continuing education class. It would only be for an hour or so, so I called a couple of school districts. One school district sent me an application, another said they stopped doing that five years ago, and another told me that they use a local community college. I called the community college, and the person transferred me over to someone’s voice mail. All these phone calls were made at home on the ‘land-line’ in the back room where it was quiet. No problem.

Later in the day I was in the grocery store when my cell phone rang. A woman was calling me back from the community college. My cell was up full volume, but the store was loud. I strained to hear. She said I could find the information online and something about the left side.

So I asked, “I will find what I need on the left side of the web page? I’m having a hard time hearing.”
“Yes”
“So I’ll find continuing education on the left side of the page?”
She paused then said “Yes. You’ll see (unknown words) requirements (unknown words) warrant (unknown words) background (unknown words).”
So to see if I understood what she meant I asked, “So if I click on the continuing education, I’ll see the legal requirements like background checks and stuff then, right?”
She paused again (maybe someone there is talking to her. I don’t know.) then very clearly said “Yes.”
I answered back, “Good, I can handle that. I’ll look it up tonight. Thank you.”
And we hung up.

So now at 11:00 at night I’m watching a rerun of Cold Case” on TV with the closed caption on. What’s interesting was this one episode was about students in a deaf school. Some of the hearing people thought of the deaf as freaks, weird, or worse. As I was watching this; I was wondering after I told the person on the phone from the school, that I have problems hearing; why did she say I was correct when in fact I was wrong about what I thought she was saying? She could have said “No” but she didn’t.

Many words sound the same to me. Affect, effect, pen, pin, and many others including many letters: B, C, D, E, just to name a few. But there no way one can mix up ‘yes’ and ‘no’.

The problem is many people over the years have call both deaf and hard of hearing people stupid, lazy, dense, and other names. Well we’re not. Some of us are doctors, lawyers, teachers, mechanics, and the list goes on.

Another thing many people seem to believe that if they yell, they could be heard easier. On the surface this would seem very reasonable. But it doesn’t work that way.

One day I saw a nurse yelling into the ear of an old hard of hearing man. He couldn’t understand her so she yelled louder. And he still couldn’t understand. I finally told her to let him see her face and to speak in a normal voice. She then looked him in his face and calmly asked “Have you had your meds yet?” and he answered “Oh yes sometime ago.” No one likes being yelled at.

Regardless of what you have seen on television, even “Cold Case” reruns involving deaf people, most people with hearing loss are not expert lip readers. However we still need to see your face.

One more thing I must say, we bluff a lot sometimes. We shouldn’t, but we do. For an example there’s a party and someone tells a joke and everyone laughs. Including those who didn’t hear it.

If there is something important that we need to know especially if we ask for the information, please do not mislead us. That is wrong. Be honest. Give us the respect we need.

We’re Wanted

Wanted edited

A few weeks ago my wife and I went to a fund raiser for Young Life Capernaum. It was a fun evening. It had a Western theme, complete with silly ‘wanted posters’, singing, pie, videos, and pie. Did I say we had pie? Oh man, we had a lot of pie. Young Life Capernaum is for teens and young adults with various kinds of disabilities. It’s best to let them tell you in their own words what it’s about in this link. My wife and I with our church have been involved with this group for about two years now.

The sad fact about people with disabilities is the discrimination they get. Some people discriminate against race, some against religion, or different nationalities. But I dare say, more people discriminate against the people with disabilities than any other group. Whether it’s physical or mental. Don’t believe it? Look at how many people park in the Handicap Parking when they shouldn’t.

Close to ten years ago I was in a bad car wreck which put me in a wheelchair for a couple of months. I am very well aware of parking problems for those in wheelchairs.

Many of our Young Life Capernaum friends have part time jobs. Often times at these jobs (and other places) they have been called stupid, retard, and more. Unfortunately they may get physical abuse too. Life can be rough for them. Yet the people in our group know God loves them. Notice I didn’t say they kinda believe God loves them. No, I didn’t say that. I said they KNOW God loves them. And they KNOW God is with them. I know God is with them too.

Our church has been part of a ministry for disabled young adults for about two years now. But before we got involved, I decided to do a little recon on them. I went out to a mall where they hang out at and watched.

I saw them sitting in groups, talking and laughing and eating together. I saw a few that just sat off by themselves, then I saw some just roaming around visiting different individuals and groups, just to see what’s going on. Socially, they are just like the rest of us. Some are out going and are some shy. Yes individually they may seem awkward because some of them may have downs syndrome or autism or whatever, yet they are often warm and happy to socialize.

One evening six of us went to our first Young Life Capernaum meeting. There I saw a small woman in her early 30s, sitting in a wheelchair. Never in her life has she ever walked. Then I found out that her loudest voice is only a very soft whisper. If people with good hearing have trouble hearing her, how am I with a hearing loss supposed to hear her!? I sat across a large dinning room table from her wondering. Then I saw the woman in the wheelchair moving her hands at someone, and that’s when I realized; she knows ASL. (American Sign Language) I know a little ASL so now I can talk with her. Later I brought my FM so I could hear better. (Sorry for the HOH (Hard Of Hearing) lingo. FM is short for an Assisted Listening Device that uses a FM radio signal for hearing. If you would like more information on one click here.) Unfortunately after years of service, my FM doesn’t work that well anymore. But I still enjoy her company.

Once I saw a TV preacher say God doesn’t need us, BUT He does really want us. All of us, if we’re willing. I don’t know what else he said, but I started thinking about it. It’s like a classic car collector spotting a broken down heap of a car. He wants it because of what it’s worth.

I had a customer once who had me work on his 1970 King Midget. What an interesting car. I asked him how much he paid for it, but he wouldn’t tell me. He just said, “A lot.” Well according to John 3:16 God loves us, He wanted us so much, He sent His Son to save us.

Over time, these Young Life people have integrated into us, and we have integrated into them. Through Christ we are all part of the same body. We are all wanted by God.

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