I’ve always seen subtitles as an aid to lipreading and lipreading as an aid to working out what I’m hearing and for that reason, I have both sound and captions on whilst watching television.
However, when I visited a friend who also has severe hearing loss, I noticed she opts for the captions only. I asked her why this was and she explained that because of her Meniere’s, audio from the television sounded distorted and made it impossible for her to watch. Continue reading “With or Without Sound?”
As a relatively new user of hearing aids (three years), and since I’m only mildly hard of hearing (without them, the spoken word is a bit blurry; with them it’s crisp), I don’t feel the need to wear my hearing aids all the time.
Oh, of course at the beginning my audiologist told me to get used to them by putting them on in the morning, not minding them all day long (pretending they’re not there and acting naturally), and taking them off in the evening. Beginners do as they’re told, don’t they? But my days are quite long (6:30 to midnight, I don’t sleep much) and my batteries ran out after 5 to 6 days.
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?
Since losing all my hearing in my left ear suddenly in 2011, I’ve suffered with bouts of sensitivity to sound. Ordinarily, I manage this by retreating to a quiet room or going to sit in the garden (if the weather’s decent). I read a book, write something, or distract myself with social media – or I sit quietly with our dog, Tilly, brushing or stroking her and generally trying to relax.
Sometimes, I take out my hearing aids for a bit, other times, I switch them to ‘Comfort in Sound’ or ‘Speech in Noise’ but, usually, I manage to ride it out without getting too distressed by it all.
As I ride the train every morning, I am reminded of what quiet and/or silence really is. That brief moment when you can hear a pin drop in a packed train car, when someone rustling an umbrella or opening a bag catches your attention because it is a harsh invader in the heavy fog of silence. Everyone seems tired, there aren’t any jovial conversations being had — just the undeniable silence that leaves only the rhythmic steel wheels churning along the rails. When did silence become so thick?
A couple of weeks ago my friend Davina and I ran the women’s race in Bern Switzerland. Before we set off Davina got her headphones ready. She told me that she uses an app that plays music to match her speed and rhythm as she runs, and it keeps her going.
I don’t use headphones when I run, so the other day when I set of for my Sunday morning run I started thinking about why I preferred to run without listening to music. As I first set out I heard the local town church bells ringing, telling me the time was 8.30. After two minutes I was in the countryside and not only could I hear the plod of my feet on the pavement (I am not a professional runner): I also noticed birds tweeting and chattering and my hair rustling over my ears.