Monday, May 6, 2013

Profound Hearing Loss
May 6, 2013

The hearing tests that I take, over and over these days, all come back with the same note written at the bottom of the page: Profound Hearing Loss.  What does that look like in a normal day? 

Recently I received the vibrating alarm clock that I had ordered from Harris Communications.  This company can be found on line and they have lots of items that can help people with hearing problems.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, I was having to gear my life to my husband's schedule since I couldn't hear my own alarm clock.  I am pleased with the new vibrating alarm clock.  It  gently shakes me awake - it is not a violent shake - and I am now back to my old routine of getting up before my husband and making his coffee before I wake him. 

Normally after I would get Ron his coffee, I would turn on the kitchen TV and catch up on the news while I worked around the kitchen.  Now, I must depend on the closed captioning, so I must actually watch TV, not just listen as I would normally do.  This slows down my morning progress if there is something in the news that I actually think I need to know about.

Next in my routine, I go out in the backyard and fill the bird feeders, top off the ponds and birdbaths, and water the hanging plants.  I miss not being able to hear the birds, but I have not heard them very well for years.  That is something I look forward to when I get my Cochlear Implant!   It will be nice to actually hear them singing their thanks for the nice food I put out for them.  Watching the birds in the backyard is fun, even without "sound".

My husband and I own a locksmith business that has been in my family since 1939.  Currently, it is just the two of us.  He opens the office in the mornings and I arrive an hour or so later.  Then he is free to go out on jobs if he needs to.  Currently, one of my challenges is that the amplifier I use has a wire running from the unit to the ear buds.  I can manage to get that wire tangled on anything and everything.  I get it caught on knobs, cabinet corners, the pens chained to our counters, the spouts on the bottled water dispenser!  I seem to spend my day untangling myself from one thing or another.  In the car, I can get it wrapped around the seat belt, I tangle my keys in it, I catch it on my purse straps!  I will be so very glad to not be "wired for sound" anymore!
The amplifier works pretty well one-on-one.  I am able to help most of the customers with their needs.  One added challenge is that about half of our customers prefer Spanish to English and with or without my hearing loss, I am of little help in Spanish.  I tell them my Spanish is "tacos, tamales, enchiladas, and fajitas." and they normally laugh at me and admit that their English is "hamburgers, fries, and Coke."  So we can usually communicate enough to meet the needs. 
Sundays are probably the hardest days for me.  I love to go to church to worship the Lord.  I love the music and am challenged by the Bible study lessons and the sermons.  But currently, I must admit, that I have to make myself go.  My personal amplifier doesn't work for that type of setting.  I will say, that it did help when my hearing was not as bad as it is now.  When I first bought it several years ago, I used it some in church.  Now all I hear is a low rumble.  The music is a choppy, monotone with no distinguisable words.  So I sit through the service in vitual silence, turning the sound down sometimes to keep from hearing the rumble.  I can still pray for the pastor and those in the service.  In our Bible Study class for almost 10 years, I have not really participated in any of the discussion since I couldn't hear enough to be sure what had been said.  I am the class secretary, so I take attendance and then I spend class time writing cards to those who are absent or others in the church who might appreciate a little encouragment.  I write to some of the men connected to our church who are serving in the armed forces on the other side of the world.  There are many at the church who go out of their way to make me feel a part of what is going on and to give me a smile or a hug.  Years ago there was a Winter Texan couple in our church and the wife was so good about coming to sit by me during activities and often turning to me and saying, "Did you get that?"  She just had a God-given ability to know when I didn't have a clue about what had been said.  She was so kind about it and never embarassed me; she just kept me a part of what was going on.  I miss her.  My daughter-in-law, Barbara, is getting good at doing that.  I know that the people at the church love me and are praying for me.  I love them and look forward to being able to be more a part of all that goes on.  I shake hands with visitors and tell them I am glad they came, but don't ask their names because I know I won't hear them. 
Hearing loss is isolating.  I really don't intend to "whine" in what I share, but rather to challenge each reader to think of those in their lives who struggle to hear.  Maybe they need to be encouraged to try a new type of technology to improve their hearing, or maybe they need you to sit beside them and ask, "Did you get that?" 
I sometimes sense that some people try to avoid me, not knowing what to say or how to communicate with me.  It is hard.  It does take time.  But I must tell you that those who make the effort are appreciated greatly.  Just a week or two after I suffered my Sudden Hearing Loss, a friend picked me up to take me to the doctor.  She had a tote bag with her and when we arrived at the doctor's office I saw what was in it.  She had a tablet and a pencil and she wrote pages while we waited, asking me questions, telling me what was going on in the life of her family, and then taking excellent notes while we talked to the doctor.  She was such a blessing to me that day!
My hope and prayer for each reader is that you will look around you for those in your life who need your help.  None of us can meet the needs of all of them, but find one that you can help in some way.


  1. Linda, you write so well, and straight from your heart. I understand so much better now what you're going through. I am praying for the return of your hearing after your implant. It's wonderful that you remain so positive and have such faith. You are an example of true Christian faith in action.

  2. Thank you for the kind words. I do seek to be honest in this because if a friend were to go through this and look at what I had said and I made it all "peaches and cream" I would do a be lying to them and make them feel that they didn't measure up. I want to be truthful. I do go to work every day. I do go to church every Sunday. My life has not stopped. It has just changed. I am trying to adjust to those changes. God bless you.

  3. Praying, Praying, Praying that the implant will be sucessfull and you will again be able to hear the birds and the music at church. And even Ron teaching Bible Study!

    1. Thanks,Tiny. I do look forward to hearing many of the things that have been silent or too faint to understand. The music and the birds will be great. Ron's lessons will be a blessing. Thank you for your prayers.