Sounds, Noises, Voices, Words
by Betty Lineberger
Sounds, noises, voices, words -- whatever you choose to call them -- are not the same for everyone. People who hear distorted sounds or have damaged nerves and other hearing disabilities cannot always hear sounds or discriminate words correctly. Some sounds can be interpreted differently by individuals with hearing impairments.
Hearing people rarely understand that wearing hearing aids is not the same as wearing glasses. People with vision problems can wear glasses and have 20/20 vision, meaning perfectly normal vision, whereas people with hearing problems who wear hearing aid(s) do not get normal 20-decibel hearing with the use of hearing aids.
People tend to take their hearing for granted until they begin to lose it. A hard-of-hearing person cannot always hear the refrigerator running, the bacon frying, the birds chirping or even the toilet flushing.
A hearing-disabled person must concentrate and be on guard when driving alone to be aware of an approaching emergency vehicle with its siren blaring. Statistics indicate that HOH people tend to have fewer accidents because they are more aware and use all their senses in order to compensate for their hearing loss.
A hard-of-hearing mother stays near the nursery in order to hear her baby cry. The doorbell and telephone can be difficult to hear unless we use assistive technology, such as an amplifier or special lights that alert us to the sounds.
Socializing can be very difficult for me. Sometimes, it is too embarrassing to join in because it is difficult to follow the conversation. I find it especially difficult when people tend to mumble, turn their face away, or speak with an accent.
If you are an individual who is fortunate enough to have good hearing in both ears, perhaps you need to be protective of your precious ability to hear. Imagine the pain, frustration and isolation the hearing-impaired person may experience daily. Your patience and understanding will greatly improve our success at communicating with one another.
c2006 by Betty Lineberger