In another lifetime I was a middle-school teacher. It only lasted for two years, but at that time I thought it might be my career.
I didn’t wear hearing aids then. Of the many difficulties I faced teaching classes of teenagers, I think some of them did have their root in my hearing loss.
First of all, I couldn’t understand soft-spoken students, and often had to make them repeat themselves. Uncomfortable for me, and also for them, especially if they were shy. The accompanying snickers from the rest of the class were certainly not a positive thing for the class atmosphere or my relationship with them.
I also had trouble when students made low-voiced comments or “talked back” in such a way that everybody could hear but me. It does make it difficult to ensure classroom rules are followed when so much can go on under your threshold of perception.
At the time, I didn’t realise how “bad” my hearing was (I knew I had some hearing loss). I didn’t realise that my colleagues heard that much more, and therefore had more information at hand to help them manage the class. Not hearing well clearly was not my only shortcoming in teaching teenagers, but I probably blamed myself more than I should have for the difficulties rooted in “not hearing things”.
Continue reading “The Perils of Hearing Less in the Classroom”
Oooh, after dipping my toe into some research about my hyperacusis, I’m now delving a little deeper and have discovered some interesting information on The Hyperacusis Network.
Its introductory paragraph is this:
Imagine being at a movie where the sound track is turned to the highest volume. Actors’ voices are screaming at you. After five minutes, you leave holding your ears and cursing the theatre for its poor judgment. Turning newspaper pages, running water in the kitchen sink, your child placing dishes and silverware on the table — all are intolerable to your ears. A baby cries or a truck screeches its brakes to a halt and the sound is excruciating. What has happened to my ears?
Oh dear… this sounds just like me…
Continue reading “Hyperacusis and Recruitment”
I once had hearing aids that were punk rock proof. I was 17. For me, they were some of the best devices I have ever worn, mainly because they were the first that had a great noise canceling feature. Sometimes, in noisy restaurants, I would hear and understand better than my well-hearing parents and their friends. The otherwise unbearably loud chatter in the crowded restaurant was attenuated to a gentle whisper. Do not underestimate this: I, being hard of hearing, heard much better than everybody else at the table. Such joy!
Photo credit: GothEric
But then again, I was 17. I was rebellious. I liked punk rock at that time. I am talking about bands like The Exploited or Dead Kennedys. My devices, though, turned this kind of music down. Every time, thoroughly and without hesitation. My hearing aids were every parent’s dream.
I clearly remember this one night, when I was going to some party with a friend. We were in my car, I was driving, a warm summer night, windows down and the radio up. Or actually, not that up. So I kept turning it up a little bit more in order to hear the music better. And then again, because somehow, I still could not hear it. And again — until my friend finally punched me in the side, yelling because otherwise I would not have heard him, that I please cut that out.
The following weekend, I was at the local lake with my friends and we had my portable music player with us. As there were other people around I kept the volume to a medium level — or so I thought. That is some experience when it is not the bourgeois older people who tell you to please turn it down but your very own punk friends.
It was around that time that I started listening to more melodic stuff.
I never told my parents that perhaps my hearing aids contributed more to my becoming a bit more square and integrated into mainstream society than they ever did — at least with respect to music.