My Thoughts

My Thoughts on Christianity and Other Things

Archive for the tag “Hearing Loss”

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.

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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!

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’.

Are Power Outages Damaging Your Hearing?

Recently Washington State had a bad storm. A lot of people lost electrical power, including my wife and me. Usually loosing power is not a big deal for my wife and me. We have battery powered lanterns, a wood burning stove, blankets, camp stove for cooking, everything we need. And even though we may not always like it, we have lived many times through week long power outages. The only thing we lacked were hot showers.

One day many years ago I got myself a small generator for work. Just to run power tools. I always wore hearing protectors and never ran the thing for very long. Also because of the size of the generator, I never used it during power outages. It was a little too small to run a refrigerator.

This year however I needed to use it. The first day of the power outage I was using the generator when I thought, ‘I’ll be nice and plug in the coffee maker for my wife.’ So I did. Then the television was plugged in. Then a lamp. And after a while, the noise was just over whelming for me. I know I’m different from most, but I do not like all that noise. I don’t understand why noise doesn’t usually bother my wife.

Many people don’t understand that even though I am hard of hearing, I don’t like a lot of loud noise. And I don’t even wear hearing aids.

Soon the power came back on. We were without electricity for only two nights and a day. So we only had the generator running for a day and some of the second evening. I loved the quiet.

The next day as I was putting things away, I found a sound level meter. I turned it on in the quiet of my garage and found the meter was reading 30-35 decibels. I was a little surprised as I didn’t know there was any sound. But then an audiogram shows I wouldn’t hear that anyway.

I started my generator again, while wearing hearing protectors, stood about 10 feet (3 meters) away and tested the sound level. 114 decibels!!! That seemed high. I then tested my large line trimmer, the kind that has the large wheels and lawn mower engine. While running the trimmer at full speed and standing next to it holding the trimmer engaging lever down, I found it was only 103 db. Interesting. I then tested my lawn mower. It too was quieter than the generator.

I find it interesting that we’re told to protect our hearing from power tools, lawn mowers, chain saws, and loud music, and we should. All of these however only lasts a short time. Why is it that nobody says anything about generators? Many people will run a generator for hours if not days.

My 25 year old generator

My 25 year old generator

So what should I do? Well the first thing I should do is to get rid of that old generator. After all, not only is it super loud, it is honestly about 25 years old. After checking the Internet I found many generators are fairly quiet, but not all. Do your homework.

How many people are using or have used excessively loud generators after a storm or earthquake? How many are damaging their hearing from them? I don’t about you, but for me, even though I am hard of hearing, I don’t want to became deaf. Keep in mind that there are studies that show hearing loss has been linked to dementia.

So if you have an older or even not so old generator that you keep for emergency use, check to see if it’s excessively loud. If so replace it. If you can, run it inside a dog house to cut down on noise exposure. (Please don’t tell your dog I said so.) Many years ago, the US Army would dug a hole to place the generator in. Bottom line, do what you can to protect you hearing.

What About The Rest Of Us?

Hearing Loss Symbol

Hearing Loss Symbol

Who are we? We look like you. We act like you. We have jobs, hobbies, friends and families. We are so much like you that we are invisible. Well we’re not really invisible, but our needs are.

We can do almost anything but hear what you hear. Sometime ago I wrote that my wife used to drag me off to hear Handel’s Messiah. I found it to be very boring. It was about two hours of “Ah” and all I got nothing out of it was a nap.

Then one day as I was writing the post Revelation 19 I found the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. I was absolutely amazed of what I saw. I had no idea of what I wasn’t hearing.

For years I have had the belief that this country is on a decline. What if things get so bad that the US could no longer afford its own air force? I not saying this will happen, I’m just saying what if?

When a country falls or if only the economy falls, people suffer. People with debt will suffer the most.

So what can we do about this? I believe the best thing to do is to reduce the debt. If the debt is reduced people will suffer less. Some may not suffer at all. Because of this, I decided to see about starting a class to help teach people to reduce their debt. I picked out a class and asked if their DVDs were captioned. They say they were. I hope they’re right.

Soon after I started doing the research for the class, I found that someone else in my own church also started doing research on doing the class. We are now working together.

But there is a problem. A big problem. Captioned DVDs are only a start of what’s needed. What about group discussions? Those of us who don’t hear, or who don’t hear well, will still miss a lot. We need more. I need more. Being a member of Hearing Loss Association of America I know there are a lot of people like me. These are the people I want to reach.

Some of you may ask, ‘What about sign language?’ Very few HOH (Hard Of Hearing) know ASL. (American Sign Language) My wife and I did decide to take a class together though at a local college. What we’ll do with this new language, we’re not sure. But we believe the Lord wants us to learn it.

Interesting side note: The first day of school we had a translator. (teacher’s deaf) This was a great help. However I still missed a few things. I think I got most of it, but I was really happy when there was no translator after that first day. Now I have the same communication abilities as everyone else in class.

The people who are hard of hearing are neither hearing nor deaf. We don’t fit in either group, as you can see in my post “Family Of God.” Unless it’s quiet we don’t always hear everything. What’s more our hearing is all over the place. We range from some having a mild hearing loss to others being deaf, living in a hearing community. (There is a difference between deaf in a hearing community and deaf in a Deaf community.)

There are several different origins to hearing loss. The problem could be in the ear drum, the tiny bones in the middle ear, the cochlea (the snail like part) the nerve going to the brain, or any combination of them.

In different places in the Bible: Leviticus 23:22, Deuteronomy 24:14, Matthew 25:43-45, and Luke 3:11; just to name a few; talks about caring for the poor. My thinking is having a class to teach others how to budget their money and getting out of debt; you’re not only helping the poor, you’re also helping others from becoming poor. And since most classes are geared for the hearing, I choose to tailor the the class for the hard of hearing and then possibly the deaf.

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.

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