A Matter of Perspective Part 1

Coping with Hearing Loss

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Photograph Courtesy of Siemen’s Hearing Aids

“Why are you in such a bad mood?” Mom asked when I snapped at her shortly after coming in the door.

“I…just…” It wasn’t fair of me to take it out on her. I felt like I was going to lose it but tried to regain my composure. “Well, my hearing aids aren’t working!”

Trying not to think about the visit I just returned from, I stomped up the stairs and headed up to my flat over my mother’s house. “I hate it! I hate it! I. HATE. IT,” I shouted with each stomp.  By the time I reached my room, the tears were running down my face. I slammed the door.  The thought of spending the rest of my life saying, “Sorry, I didn’t hear you,” filled me with despair. I. couldn’t. DO. it. I couldn’t! More tears flowed. “It’s bad enough, God, I can’t see. Now this not hearing is worse than not seeing,” I said aloud. “Lord, why do I have both things wrong with me?”

The door slid open and I heard a soft but steady noise, the tapping of my mother’s cane against the floor as she slowly made her way over to me and stood next to my unmade bed.  “What’s wrong?” Her voice sounded muffled. It took me a few seconds to sort through the sounds and figure out what she’d said.

“Mom, I just can’t cope. Or something…” My tears caught in my throat. “I can’t hear without my hearing aids. And even when I wear them, I can’t hear everything .”

If anyone were to understand, it would be my mother. At eighty-five, she wore even stronger hearing aids than me. They corrected less.  She’d had her bad days, too.

“Mom, as I lose more hearing and more vision, I’m going to fade into oblivion!” I dragged a sheet across my bed, reached for the corners and lifted. The flowered sheet billowed in the air before settling on the mattress pad. I jerkily ran my hand over it to smooth the wrinkles. At eleven o’clock in the morning, it should have already been made. “I’ll just fade away!” I shouted, my voice breaking and dissolving into those messy kind of tears that bring on hiccups. I grabbed a bunch of tissues from the box. As they became soggy, I balled them up in my hand.

Right now I felt like I was sitting on the fence between two worlds. My biggest fear was that I’d sit on the periphery of life as my hearing and vision loss progressed. No, I wouldn’t literally fade away but would my soul disappear in the quiet, dark solitude?  I shivered.

“Why don’t you call the hearing aid place?” Mom suggested.

Another delayed silence as I sought to understand her words. But when I got it, I belted out my response. “I did, three times! No one has called me back.” I had called three times, in quick succession–which didn’t really count. My conscientious audiologist, who serviced my hearing aids was was likely in a meeting or with a client.

I finished straightening a light blanket and tossed the blue comforter onto the bed. With determined movements, I made short work of it and fluffed up my pillow, then sat down. I looked at Mom and talked about the visit to Carolyn, my sister’s house. Carolyn was suffering from Leukemia, in the advanced stage. My sister and I were close. I greatly looked up to her. 

How could I set her off when she was so ill? 

“Mom, she said, ‘That’s not very nice to pretend to hear when you don’t.'”

My shoulders drooped, remembering the confrontation and how I responded with a tight, ‘It’s embarrassing.'”

“The acoustics aren’t good there,” Mom admitted.

I strained to hear. Something about good sticks in the air? I puzzled it out, running my hand over my ear, willing it to hear better.

Mom repeated herself.  

Oh! Acoustics. What about acoustics? It’s in the air? Huh? Not good air. Got it! I think.

“I just can’t say, ‘I didn’t hear you. Be-be-because…” I blubbered, “when the person repeats it, chances are I won’t hear it the second time either! I hate my hearing. I hate being like this. I can’t admit it…to anyone. Pretending is just my default.” I took in a ragged breath and blew my nose hard.

There. I said it.

My mother sighed and raised her voice. “Usually, you don’t let it get you down.”

I didn’t want to say ‘I hate it,’ one more time. Others, like my sister had much worse to cope with than me.

Perspective. It was a matter of perspective.

It was time to finish this little tantrum. I was a grown woman, not a child. I blew my nose one last time. “I’ll do it, Mom. I’ll start being like you and asking people to repeat themselves.”  I hoped I could do it. I wanted to do it. It would take effort. But I could do anything with God’s help.

Lord, give me strength. Help me to change. Help me to be honest.

 

 


Who listens to you when you reach the end of your rope and feel you can’t cope for another moment? How well does he or she understand your problem? Share in the Comments below. 

You have just read “It’s a Matter of Perspective: Part 1” by Amy L. Bovaird. Copyright September 15, 2014. 

A Matter of Perspective Part 1
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16 thoughts on “A Matter of Perspective Part 1

  • September 15, 2014 at 9:47 am
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    This was a beautifully written piece and had something we can all learn from. While I don’t have hearing problems, I’m sure there are times that I blow everything out of perspective. Thank you for sharing this.

  • September 15, 2014 at 12:46 pm
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    I truly appreciate Amy, your sharing your world with us with such vivid details. I am learning so much from you on so many levels. Wise and fortunate is the person, who can put things into perspective, who knows that there is always someone who is worse off. It is easier said than done, because when facing hardship, it’s all about “us”. In one of the Ally McBeal episodes, Georgie asks Ally, “How come your problems are always bigger than everyone else’s?” Her answer was simple, “Because they are mine!”

    You are indeed a gift to all of us! HUGS <3

  • September 15, 2014 at 8:37 pm
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    As a MSW I work with persons with disabilities, the elderly and there are a lot of stories of loss and change. I try to provide as much hope and healing as I can in 60-90 minute sessions. I appreciate you reminding readers that it is a matter of perspective. Life is often that lesson for us, a little bit of surrender to see the beauty in it all.

  • September 15, 2014 at 10:06 pm
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    Amy, I’ve been enjoying your blog so much since I discovered it. So now I have a confession. In college, back in the early 1970’s, a friend highly recommended a course to me. I signed up. The professor was blind. My father had a traumatic brain injury before I was born, so the world of the disabled was not foreign to me, but in that first class, I don’t think I heard a single word the professor said. “He’s blind!” kept running through my mind. Back then, disabilities were hidden. Blind people hid their eyes behind dark glasses and they were supposed to be objects of pity. This man refused to live his assigned role. He traveled the world. He taught me so much, and much of it wasn’t in the official course curriculum. I can very much relate with Michael, thanks to this professor, and kudos to Michael that he worked his way through his initial reaction to serve you capably.

  • September 15, 2014 at 11:10 pm
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    Amy,
    What trials you are going through, and yet you are trying so hard to focus on the positive. It’s not easy to cope with the loss of something so essential to us (we think) as vision or hearing, and yet look at you–you are not only coping, but sharing with your readers about the experience, thereby blessing us, too. God bless!

  • September 15, 2014 at 11:58 pm
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    Oh Alana,
    I’m so glad that you pointed that out about Michael to me! It allows me to see him through fresh eyes. Thank you for sharing the story of your professor with me. I so appreciate your candor and his courage to forge the way, professionally. It thrills me that he taught you so much, informally! It also enables me to encourage my college professor friend who says, “people think I’m from outer space.” He lost his vision overnight, with little explanation, and is so determined to move forward in the intellectual scene that he loves that he took it upon himself to learn Braille and practice it by typing his lecture notes in Braille to continue teaching and presenting at conferences.
    As I write this blog, I’m finding it to be a wonderful tool to in bridging the gaps between the sighted and vision-impaired. It’s such a delight to read how perceptions start and then become changed! Exchanging experiences honestly is just the best thing ever!
    Amy

  • September 15, 2014 at 11:59 pm
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    Thank you, Alexandria!
    I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
    Amy

  • September 16, 2014 at 12:05 am
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    Thank you, Amy.
    I do struggle with it from time to time but it seems God doesn’t let me fall into self-pity for long. He always places people in my life to teach me how good I have it!
    Thank you so much for taking time out to read my story!
    Amy

  • September 16, 2014 at 12:14 am
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    Great message. Excited to read your book!

  • September 16, 2014 at 12:15 am
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    Hi Judy,
    I love that example you gave about Ally McBeal. It made me laugh. That is so true!
    Thank you for letting me open a window into my daily challenges and share them. It’s a blessing to know I’m not alone. =)
    Amy

  • September 16, 2014 at 12:20 am
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    Thank you so much, Becky!
    Looking forward to sharing more with you. =)
    Amy

  • September 16, 2014 at 4:09 am
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    Wow. You did such a great job on the description that for the first time, I felt like I understood how it would be to deal with a hearing loss. Your humor comes through even when the going gets tough! Powerful piece. I’d love to reblog this with your permission.

  • September 16, 2014 at 4:10 am
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    Sure, Tonia.
    Thanks! =)

  • September 16, 2014 at 4:57 am
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    Hi Cynthia,
    That sounds like both a challenging and rewarding job!
    I’m sure you make a difference in their outlook.
    Thanks for reading my post!
    Amy

  • September 21, 2014 at 2:30 pm
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    Amy, I can relate to your tantrum lol. Thanks for sharing this.

  • September 21, 2014 at 5:15 pm
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    Yeah, Matt.
    I’m sure you can relate, especially to that feeling of somehow fading away! It’s a terrible feeling!
    I can’t wait to read Rebecca Alexander’s book NOT FADE AWAY. It is getting national attention! So excited!
    Amy

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