Saturday, June 05, 2004

One more time for the hearing impaired?

Those of you that know me in person, have heard me say this phrase at least once. No, it's not just another attempt to be cute or funny, I actually need for you to repeat yourself.

When I was itty bitty, I am told that I had a really high fever and as a result it short circuited some of the nerves in my ears. It was determined that I had lost some of the higher registers of my hearing. They tried to put a hearing aid on me, but by the time they fitted me for it, ordered it and then gave it to me, I had already adapted to my new world, and screamed bloody murder when they put the hearing aid on me. (I have no memory of this, as it happened when I was quite small, and I'm going on what Mom and Dad told me about this.) I had already learned to combine hearing what a person said and filling in the blanks with lip reading.

When people find out that I can lip read, they assume that if they just mouth words at me, I'll understand what they are saying. I'm better at this than most people, but not that good. It truly is the combination of the sound of the words and the way the words are formed that make my brain understand what you are saying.

Over the years, I have come to understand situations that are especially hard for me to hear:

1. It's a noisy place.
2. I've just met you.
3. You have an accent I'm not used to.
4. You cover your mouth when you are talking or I can't see your mouth when you are talking.

That last one is kind of weird though because, as long as you don't mumble or whisper, I can hear you fine on the phone, for the most part.

Once I get to know you and I'm used to the way you form your words, I generally have no problem understanding you. However, you may walk ahead of me and be talking, or we could be in a crowded restaurant with loud music and you'll hear the old familiar phrase, "One more time for the hearing impaired?"

If you've read my blog for any length of time, (especially my last post) you know that I LOVE music. There are lots of times that I cannot make out what a singer is saying in their songs.

When I was a kid, I did two things to remedy this. I would buy the album, put it on my stereo, put on my headphones and write down the lyrics as I listened to the song over and over again, or I would buy a "Song Hits" or "Hit Parader" magazine.

I don't even know if they publish "Song Hits" or "Hit Parader" magazine anymore. They were magazines that had lyrics to the current hits in them, as well as stories about the bands.

When I was a kid, we would go to Buddies Grocery store (which later became Winn Dixie), and I would go to the magazine section of the store and sit there and memorize songs while Mom and Dad shopped. Every once in a while Mom and Dad would buy me a copy to take home, but for the most part, I was confined to the time it took to buy groceries and check out to memorize the songs. I was usually successful and was "the kid that knew the words to all the songs."

I felt like I hit a gold mine when an album came with a lyric sheet. I studied the lyric sheets from "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy" like it was the most important thing in the world, and at that time, it was.

In 6th grade, the movie "Grease" came out. OH HOW MY FRIENDS AND I LOVED THIS MOVIE!!! We would act out whole scenes of the movie at recess. On Fridays, if we had been good that week, Mrs. Wade would let us use last period to act out whole scenes of the movie. The boys were into the movie, but no one was ballsy enough to sing in front of the class, so I played "Danny" in most of our productions. I also was "Rizzo." Man, did I wear out that album learning all of Danny and Rizzo's parts!

...but I digressed...

Ultimately, I wanted to give you a peek into the life of a girl with hearing challenges. It was and continues to be an interesting journey both for myself and the ones around me.

And, if you happen to work for a record company, and have a say in such things, put lyric sheets in more CD's!



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