Last year I wrote about a social meltdownin regards to my hearing loss. I attended my boyfriend’s ski patrol banquet and it was pure disaster. Bad feelings lingered and I kept asking myself, “What could I have done to make it better?” I could request copies of their notes. I could take my FM system next time. I could request CART. I could take a friend, knowing how hard it is for someone with A.D.D. in that kind of environment to help me.
I talked about it all with my boyfriend off and on over the last year but he truly did not understand my position until about two weeks before this years ski patrol banquet.
Searching for other words to use, I let him know I feel socially abandoned by him. I don’t expect help for everything but some help is nice. I have certain needs to be met if we want to continue to go out to these type of events. Those words sank in and he got it. He understood.
We weren’t sure if we really wanted to go this year, should we skip it? We both had a sticky residue left from last year’s but we continued to talk about it. I told him I didn’t want to give up on socializing but I need to new ways to be able to enjoy them. I listed all the options I thought of to help me this time around. We decided the day before the banquet to go. It was too late to request notes or CART but we could take my FM system.
With all of that firmly in mind, we went to the banquet early the next evening. He introduced me to the main speakers and we showed them my FM system. They agreed to wear it without reservations. The place filled up and it was all the noise I remembered. My boyfriend didn’t present a gag award this year so he stayed beside me through most of it and helped me with table conversation filling in the topic as needed. I still used speech reading as a tool but I wasn’t surprised by it this year or stressed out.
They announced the awards would soon start so my boyfriend and I went up to give them my FM system. The main guy wore it around his neck and as they started speaking I could hear about half of what they were saying, piecing things together nicely. Soon I had hearing people asking me what they were saying because there was enough noise they couldn’t hear the PA system. That made me smile.
A few times they forgot to give the transmitter/remote to a new speaker which gave me a hearing break. Over all, it was much happier experience. One of the guys from our table got up to speak and he held the remote in the same hand as the PA microphone. That worked better than it hanging around people’s neck. When he sat back down at our table, we thanked him and he suggested taping it to the microphone next year. Great idea!
When dinner was done and the music started, I visited with some of the women around the table, letting my boyfriend visit with his friends. I sat close to the girls and they made sure I could hear, repeating as necessary. They asked questions about hearing loss and my FM system and I told them all about it. A few wanted to pass the information along to relatives.
This year, I danced and it felt good. I took my hearing aids out at that point because too much noise can give me a headache. It was my hearing break but I still hear enough to pick up a good beat and a lot of the songs were ones I knew making it more fun. My boyfriend and I went home happy, proud of this years accomplishment. It was another learning experience but to the good this time.