My name is Frieda and I am hearing impaired. Here, you will find stories of my life growing up and what it is like for me to be a wife, a mom of two boys, and hearing impaired.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

What Do I Hear? Timpanogos Cave

One summer, I was outside talking to a neighbor of mine at the corner by her house.  My husband pulled up in the car and rolled down the window.  Quickly, he said,

"I am going to the store for milk and eggs."

"Okaaaay....." I say, scrambling through the "file cabinet" of familiar, similar words in my brain. I quickly re-count the number of syllables I heard, tapping my fingers to each syllable.  By this time, my husband has already driven away.  

This is what I came up with: 

I'm going to Timpanogos Cave.    (a popular place to visit in Utah.)

"He's going to Timpanogos Cave?" I said out loud.

My friend started laughing.  Uncontrollably.

"Huh?"  "What's so funny?" 

After several moments of laughing and trying to catch her breath, she finally said,

"He's... going... to the store... for milk... and eggs......"

Milk and eggs?  How in the world did I get Timpanogos Cave out of that?

I'm glad I can provide some comic relief!

How do I describe my hearing loss?

Have you ever tried to describe a color to someone who is blind?

My hearing loss is in BOTH ears.  My left ear is significantly worse than my right ear.  I have developed the habit of sitting by other people's left sides.  I have "trained" my husband and a few close friends to sit/stand by my right side.

My hearing is better in the higher pitches and louder sounds.  Brakes squealing, whistling, banging of pots and pans, sirens, hurt my ears.  Hard to believe?  It's true.  With hearing aids, I can understand female voices better than male voices.

Hearing aids simply amplify ALL sounds.  I hear the sound of a refrigerator or hum of a fan at the same volume as your voice. I do not have the ability to "tune out" sound.  For example, if you are tapping a pencil or drumming your fingers on a table, I hear it at the same level as I hear your voice.

However, newer digital aids have the ability to reduce background noise.  I have three directional microphones in my digital hearing aids that allow me to hear sounds in front of me, to the side, and behind my kids in the car!  I still have difficulty telling which direction a sound is coming from...If you call my name from across the street, I will SPIN around a full 360º, looking for someone LOOKING at me.

I can only hear/understand certain speech sounds.  /SH/ and some other consonants are non-existent.

What is said          What I hear
Wash                      Watch
Shin                        Chin
Spent                      Pen
Dive                       Die

I can lip read.  When I was young, my older sister and I would silently "mouth" conversations to each other.  It was so much quicker and easier than writing notes.  Plus,  it was PRIVATE.  Lip reading is NOT 100% accurate.  Many words LOOK the same.  Combining hearing aids with lip reading, I can pretty much understand 80%-90% of what is being said.

I think.

Check here at Phonak to listen to demos of what sound is like for people with two different levels of hearing loss. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Frieda,
    Thanks for introducing yourself on my blog. I can completely relate to your story of misunderstanding an everyday sentence spoken by a loved one. My hearing loss is in the higher pitches. Perhaps we could get together and between the two of us figure out what someone is saying, LOL.
    I look forward to reading more of your story.
    All the best,