Blue Monday?

Today I heard the Monday after the holidays are officially over is called Blue Monday because people get depressed when the holidays are done.  Not me. I’m glad they are over and I survived another stress free holiday.  They are busy for sure and I went to a fair share of parties.  The last two HLAA webinars dealt with hearing loss and the holidays because typically, large family like get togethers are a huge strain on us.  I’m happy to report I made it through all the socializing fairly well.

My boyfriend and I went to a Thanksgiving dinner that had probably 150 people  in a building with high ceilings, tile floor and lots of windows.  Noise bounced all over the place but it was large enough I could wear my hearing aids the whole time.  I did great at the beginning socializing when it was one on one or even up to three people as long as we stood close.

My problem came when the hosts took the floor to make a speech.  They stood in the middle of the room and people circled them all around.  We happened to be just left and behind them as they spoke. My boyfriend wasn’t close enough to help, he was about 6 people and building post away so it wasn’t easy to get to him.  It was too late to maneuver into a better viewing spot to try to lip read so I stayed put and tried to hear.

Not a single word came through my ears, just a small drone lost in the acoustics.  Oh how I hate it when people all around me are smiling and laughing and I can’t catch one word.  I hate having to stand there and pretend to hear, to be polite when all I want to do is push my way out of the rapt crowd and go outside for fresh air.

I endured until the speech ended and when everyone lined up for the buffet style turkey dinner,  I pushed my way through and escaped into the bathroom.  I took about ten minutes in there to gather my wits and calm down again.  Ten minutes of self talking; it’s not my fault, it’s not their fault, it’s just one of those things, I can’t expect to hear and be a part of everything, next time go to Ken and see if he will help with translation, it’s not the end of the world….and I was ready to go out again.  I joined Ken in the food line and commenced socializing like I had been before the speech.  The rest of the evening was very nice.

There were two more parties to attend.

One was in a small house; carpeted, plush furniture and music.  I knew there would be music so I didn’t take my hearing aids.  Quite a few people were crammed together but as long as I’m relaxed, I lip read well and I got along great. The highlight of the night was karaoke.  I’ve never been around karaoke before.  When I first heard the music, I recognized it as a tune from the late 70’s and remembered the words (can’t remember which song it was now) and I panicked. Oh my God! Where are the words? Why am I not hearing the words? Have I gone suddenly deaf?  Ha ha, joke’s on me.  Someone picked up the mic and started singing and I slapped myself in the forehead for a great “duh!”  After that, I stood behind the singers and caught all the words to the songs and it was more like, “So that’s what they were saying!”  I had a good time and no I didn’t sing.

The next party was at a big house; cement floors, floor to ceiling windows, high ceilings with music and again a number of people talking.  I didn’t last 5 minutes with my hearing aids in.  I could not stand the sharp stab of noise.  Oh well, I made it through the last party doing a lot of lip reading and I did this one too.  I had another great time (no karaoke) and even found two other people who knew sign language at about the same level as me.  Ken and I got to talk up hearing loops to a guy who at one time worked with various handicaps.  As long as I’m upfront about my hearing loss, most people accommodate me, making sure they face me talking a little clearer.

My Christmas was a quiet one.  My daughter and 3 year old grandson stayed the night Christmas Eve.  We had a wonderful meal that night and the next day with just the four of us and a neighbor.  Easy to follow conversation and easy company.  Here’s a picture of grandson on his new tricycle.  We are slowly teaching him sign language.  He catches on fast!  He’s got the word ‘candy’ down.

Chase

How did your holidays go?

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13 responses to “Blue Monday?

  1. I also experienced various large groups in different settings. Luckily the largest gathering was outdoors so no horrible painful distortion.

    Sadly I find myself “forgetting” to wear my hearing aids more and more. It’s so common that they don’t help and make things even worse that I’d rather sit in relative silence.

    My husband and I went to a discussion at DCARA, a deaf center that we just took an ASL class. The discussion was for hard of hearing and their spouse who is hearing to learn to deal with the holidays! It was very helpful for the most part. We left it with lists of things to remember. A list for deafened me and a list for my husband to remember to do things like pay attention to if he’s in shadows or to help slow people down.

    When we first arrived at my sister in law’s there was a dinner party for about a dozen people. We shared this info in hopes this small core group that would be around for all three days would implement some of the advice. One couple paid attention. The wife is losing her hearing. Her husband found it exciting and helpful. This made me happy but I’m angry right now just thinking about how all the others couldn’t be bothered and seemed to act like it didn’t concern them. I guess they are just fine with me being left out of conversations. My sister in law was particularly frustrating! Her husband is losing his hearing but neither seemed to understand the information could help them. Denial ain’t just a river! Later she was talking to my husband and me with her hand pressed into her cheek. Her face was all distorted and made it impossible to read her lips! She heard that not covering your mouth is key for someone like me. I gently took her arm and tried to move it away as a reminder. She snapped at me, “I wasn’t saying anything important anyway!” I said “Shouldn’t I be the judge of that? Are you going to shut me out of all conversations you consider small talk and what? Just let me know if the house is on fire?” Jeez!! I hope I was never so obtuse when I could hear well.

    • Some people seem to be natural at inclusivity. Others, not so much. I’d like to think that when close friends and family don’t take interest or totally make things harder for me, it’s because they forget and then feel stupid for not knowing and finally make extra stupid comments to cover the misses. But instead of those awful interactions, why can’t those who are “supposed to know” just ask me what works, is this ok, etc? I would have paid attention to your tips to help you. What a great learning opp.

      • These are all smart, educated folks too! Getting a little lesson in something seems to be something they respond to but not this lesson. I have no idea why that was. Empathy is on a recessive gene.

    • I’m really interested in the class you took Bobbie. Can you give me information on that center and I’ll get our hard of hearing specialist to contact them to see if our centers can swap information.
      It’s unfortunate but some people are butt heads. I run across them now and then and they so rub me the wrong way. Thankfully it’s none of my family, that would be so hard!
      I have a habit of putting myself in the middle of things as much as possible. If people are flat out rude, I’ll whip out my phone and do email or Facebook or even solitaire. If they aren’t going to try, I figure I don’t have to pretend either.
      Sam Trychin says you gotta keep reminding people because their speaking habits are so ingrained it’s hard to get them to do something new. It’s takes patience on our end and patience from them too. Keep reminding people gently and they will eventually get it. Arranging a hand signal in advance as a reminder helps the conversation keep flowing without stopping too. I haven’t done it yet but I would if around someone like that often enough. And some people still won’t accommodate no matter what. I have as little to do with those kind as I can.
      As for your sister in law, man I would have hit the roof. I have yelled back at people something like, “You think I asked for this? You think I want this? I try so hard to hear and this is what you do.” Don’t you wish you could make some hard of hearing for a week? I do.

      • http://www.dcara.org/ is the center’s website. Ken, the director who is HOH, conducted it. He might email you the info he wrote up. I see an info email address on there. That should get you to him.

        ha! I’ve also taken out my phone and just plopped myself down and tuned out everyone who wasn’t trying to include me. It’s sometimes healthier to turn my interests to something else rather than stew.

      • Thanks for the info! I will get in touch with him maybe tomorrow while at work.
        My phone has saved my sanity in a group a few times!

      • Found Ken’s email. ken.arcia@dcara.org

    • Oh how funny! You didn’t tell me the last name but when I looked…I know Ken! I met him a few years ago at an HLAA convention. Fun guy! I can get in touch with him easy. 😀

  2. And Chelle, glad to hear you survived the holidays!

  3. Glad you had a nice holiday season. I am new to the hearing loss world. Do you mind if I ask how did you learn to lip read, just practice? I find myself watching peoples mouths more often now.

    • Lip reading sort of came naturally as I continued to lose hearing. Watching for any hint of clue on lips to help me make my way through a conversation. I’m not the best at it. The harder I try, the worse it gets and the more frustrated I get. I have to relax and not think about it too much. In big social situations, a glass of wine or a beer helps me to stress less and then I do fine.
      I have taken a class on lip reading. That’s where I learned the harder I try, the worse I get. If people just mouth words at me, I’m not likely to get it although I can usually figure out what cuss words football coaches use on tv. (Why are those so easy to lip read???) From that class, I learned a few things and I think it helped in the end. I kind of think I suck at lip reading but when in the thick of noise, if I turn away or close my eyes my word discrimination plummets. I finally gave myself credit for lip reading more than I think I can.
      There are websites and videos you can buy for lip reading. Most people only get about 30% out of lip reading, every little helps!. I’ve known two women who can lip read like they hear perfectly but they both grew up deaf and their parents had them go the oral route. Otherwise, it’s helpful but you’ll probably never read someone’s lips across the room or any of that tv nonsense.

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