“You must have hated The Polar Express when you were a kid,” my friend Stacy said to me.
The two of us were sitting in our class, Writing for Children, talking about picture books. As the semester came to a close, we were finishing our unit on illustrated stories, and meandered to The Polar Express. Being a Caldecott-winning story adapted into a movie, it was an ideal book for class discussion. Most of my classmates heard it at least once, and had their own stories about hearing it for the first time. Mine was not particularly memorable, seeing as I was nine and the elementary school librarian read it to my class.
At least…I did not think it was memorable until Stacy pointed out a central theme to the story.
Continue reading “Hearing, Listening, and The Polar Express”
Christmas is a time for remembering old friends, but sometimes it can also bring back some sad or unpleasant memories. Seeing a former friend’s name in my address book reminded me of something that happened a few years ago…
After my sudden deafness in my ‘good ear’ in 2011, I could no longer use our telephone or my mobile for calls. Some friends were accommodating, converting our communication to text, email or social media but, sadly, others weren’t so accommodating.
Continue reading “What Not Being Able to Use the Phone Has Cost Me”
It was 6 A.M. on Christmas morning. My brother, Doug, and I had woken up much earlier, but our parents said, “Don’t wake us up before six.” Each minute seemed to drag before, finally, we could spring into our parents’ bed shouting, “WAKE UP! IT’S CHRISTMAS!”
Both of them rolled under the covers, in hopes of grabbing a few more seconds of sleep. My dad cried, “Spirit! Haunt me no more!”, before letting my brother and me climb into bed. It was very easy to fit two parents, a four-year-old boy, a six-year-old girl, and a two-year-old cat under the same sheets. We were all warm, snug, and full of Christmas cheer. Inevitably, my Dad would always ask the same question, and it would always break my heart.
“Did you hear Santa last night?” My dad asked.
“Sure did!” Doug replied.
“Oh…yeah…me too…” I stammered, faking a smile.
Continue reading “The Day I Heard Santa Claus”
Over the last couple of months, I’ve been trying out a variety of hearing aids as part of my newly-found “guinea pig” position at Phonak. As a geek, I love playing with new technology and trying things out. As a person with hearing loss, I’m curious about how good things can get for me.
One of the challenges I’ve come upon trying out hearing aid solutions is confusion. You know what happens when you’re shopping for perfumes, and after a (short) while you can’t distinguish smells anymore? That’s a bit what it feels like with sound. Maybe it has to do with the rather strong “habituation” component there is in the way we process sound.
Some situations are clear-cut: for example, after trying out the Bolero Q90 hearing aids for a few weeks, I switched back to my Widex Clear 330 ones to see if I could spot a “reverse difference”. One situation where there was no debate was at the vet’s: I’d been going there regularly throughout my Bolero trial, and when I went back with my Widex aids in, I really struggled to understand what my vet was saying. The room is a bit echoey and she speaks quite fast. To make extra sure I wore the Boleros next time around.
Continue reading “About Being Confused”
In late summer of 2010, my wife was dying.
Managing the late stages of a rare and fatal cancer was challenging enough, but our communication was deteriorating as well. Her voice had weakened to a whisper and my poor hearing and inadequate hearing aid could not compensate. We sat quietly in her final weeks making contact with our eyes and hands when words failed us both.
And then she was gone.
Continue reading “As One Song Ends, Another Finds Its Voice”
Thanksgiving just went by in the United States, and Christmas is arriving exactly 28 days after. With the arrival of a season revolving around thankfulness and generosity, I have thought a lot about how people show their gratitude. A common method promoted by inspiration sites and figureheads like Oprah is the “Grateful Journal.” One is expected to write a list, ranging from three to ten items, of things for which they are thankful and explain why. Grateful journals are often suggested to individuals going through difficult transitions to maintain a positive outlook on life.
Continue reading “The Inadequacy of Grateful Journals”
As you’ll have seen from my profile/Gravatar I’m a travel writer (as well as being a deafened entrepreneur). Recently, I was in Florence, Italy and not having the best time of it because of the noise pollution and my hyperacusis. My only remaining hearing is in the mid-to high range in one ear and without my hearing aid, I can still hear very loud, very high sounds. (Like anyone with Otosclerosis, my audiogram is like an upside-down version of most people’s and my hearing deteriorated from the lower frequencies first.) This, coupled with my sensitivity to certain frequencies, meant I found the traffic noise in Florence particularly difficult to bear. I did however find some quiet attractions that I thought I’d share with you here.
Continue reading “Top Three Surprisingly Relaxing Visitor Attractions in Florence”