Friday, April 27, 2018

Not Always So Very Funny

Loss of hearing is not really a funny thing, but it can lead to some funny moments. We have had some good laughs at things that I thought Sue might have said that were kind of astonishing, but I don't seem to recall any at the moment. I should probably write them down in future.

Both by paternal grandfather and father were hard of hearing as the expression goes. I wonder how far back in the family tree this issue goes?

For me, I began to notice a decline in hearing in my early forties, and by my late forties, I had my first hearing aid. I knew that things were deteriorating when I answered a student's question, and everyone laughed because I had obviously misheard the question and answered something that wasn't asked. And so I visited the audiologist.

Ever since then, I have worn hearing aids. If I am counting correctly, I am currently on my fifth pair. You can only realistically expect 3 years out of a pair although I have gotten more in some cases. I have another year or so before I must decide whether to order a new pair or hope for a longer life for my present devices. If I try to extend their life past 3 years, at some point there will be a breakdown in one (and then in the other), and I would have to go without their assistance while it is being repaired or until I order a new pair. And I don't want to go without.

On top of that, a repair is likely to cost ~$500, so I have to wonder if that's a sound investment for just another year or two.

Whatever the case, I seem doomed to average ~$1000/yr to deal with my disability. And that's with government assistance for ~1/3 of the total cost. This cost of ~$4500/pair (my cost being ~$3000) is for a basic level pair; they could get quite a bit more expensive.

I digressed and want to go back to the humour aspect of poor hearing. As I have already said, I make mistakes, but I haven't committed them to memory. I do remember cracking up at one of my father's hearing mistakes, when I was around the age of 10, and he wondered in surprise why my mother would want him to weed the carpet.

At this point, I must digress again, to point out the secondary aspect of hearing loss. It has to do with word discrimination. The hearing aids seem to give me an acceptable level of volume, but there is also some loss of acuity (if that's the right word for what I mean to say). In other words, I cannot always discriminate a word precisely even if it seems to be said loud enough. I think I often get around the problem without realizing it by figuring out the word from the context. I don't realize that's what I am doing, but I think I do this a lot.

But too often context fails me. I mean to say that I will follow the thread of dialogue because of the context but may miss the punchline because the context fails me. (By punchline, I don't necessarily mean the end of a joke although that could be the case, but the conclusion of an idea or narrative.)

It may seem that I am quite disabled, and I am, but I carry on fairly normally most of the time, and people, quite often, would not necessarily be aware of my struggles.

I say all of this because I have two photos to post that illustrate a case of mishearing.

We had taken Danica out of school and to a burger joint for a birthday lunch when towards the end we realized that we should take a photo.

A kind lady offered to take all 3 of us.

She then told Sue, "Move you face," because it was partly obscured.

This photo is the result.

You see, I heard it as "Make a face." It seemed natural to me because I have previously written and demonstrated here that we often make a weird face photo.

She must have thought that I was a rude and wretched man.

When I wrote that loss of hearing can result in humourous moments, I don't think this qualifies. At least not to me.


Marie Smith said...

Hilarious, AC. It is good not to take yourself too seriously.

Tabor said...

Thanks for the insight. I think we forget how people cope and fake it and how easy it is to misunderstand others. My hearing is slightly poorer than when I was younger and I notice is mostly on the phone. My father lost his hearing and could not talk to me on the phone and thus our relationship was very distant as he did not write letters either. It is a tough sense to lose.

Joanne Noragon said...

We've commiserated in the past. Oh, the damn acuity, and not only of hearing.

Unknown said...

My family has an inherited form of hearing loss, so many of us require hearing aides by our early 40s. I have a deaf granddaughter, so I'm always aware how lucky I am, even with hearing loss. Sometimes people don't understand that turning up the volume doesn't always help with word discrimination. Our healthcare coverage doesn't include hearing-related issues. Costco is my best friend for hearing aids.

Linda P.

Mage said...

Ah yes, audiology on the 10th. Loss of acuity combined with tinnitus. I'm getting better at reading lips, but I need to learn some sign language too. :)

Shammickite said...

I tend to do a lot of lip reading. And I have first time hearing aids now, but I don't always wear them.

Donna said... words but cute shot!

Jenn Jilks said...

I think you are wise to stay on top of new ones. And we have these funny moments, too.
"I heard you say..."
And it's terribly wrong. You are right about the context!
Hearing aids don't work for hubby's type of hearing loss (which is 30%).