I started down the path to getting a “hearing dog”.
A hearing dog.
People are familiar with guide dogs for the blind well you can also get guide dogs for the deaf.
These are the people in the U.K. you apply to
My hearing has deteriorated to the point I struggle to understand people speaking, this is my latest audiogram, the red line and above is normal hearing.
As it gets towards the higher frequencies the loss gets greater, this causes me serious issues in hearing trafiic noises, doorbells even my telephone ringing.
As for people speaking my hearing loss is quite drastic in the region where consonants are spoken like s, h or f.
This is worsened in “noisy” situations or watching TV or even using the telephone, this type of hearing loss is called presbycusis because it’s age related and bilateral.
Presbycusis (high-frequency hearing loss) happens when the tiny hairs in your cochlea (inner ear) are damaged. These hair cells, called stereocilia, translate the sounds your ears collect into electrical impulses, which your brain eventually interprets as sounds.
Not being able to properly hear consonants mean people appear to be muttering, it’s like I can hear them but not understand them, and this is made especially worse when they either cover their mouths or turn away from me.
I can “lip read” after a fashion, I can’t do it on it’s own but rather I use is as a visual clue to help me recognise the word being said which is why people who cover their mouths or turn their heads are a nightmare to have a conversation with and you’d be surprised just how many people do this.
Softly spoken people as well cause me issues as I have to keep asking them to speak up and then they over-compensate and shout at me or get annoyed with me for asking them to repeat themselves.
Being deaf means you’re an idiot
It doesn’t mean this at all, well except to some people and I am never sure if they are just “well meaning” or completely insensitive fucks but these are the people I really want to slap upside the head, with a shovel.
The second they find out you are deaf they either start talking to you like you are a 3 year old or they elongate words and use their hands to try and speak to you.
Just fuck off alright, I am deaf not stupid, you don’t have to open and close your mouth like a goldfish eating a bowling bowl in some vain attempt to communicate with me nor do you have to use baby talk. I am deaf, I am not an idiot.
I love my hearing aids
They make my life so much easier, especially the telecoil function, I have an induction loop I fitted in my front room connected to the TV, this means I can switch them on to T (telecoil) mode and hear the TV regardless of the volume other people set, or the TV volume can even be completely off and I can just turn my hearing aids volume up or down to control it.
However they do have a downside, yes they help me out when watching TV and one to one conversations in the house but as as soon as there is a lot more noise they work against me.
Pubs, hospitals, shops or even groups of 4 or more people talking, all these present me with a massive difficulty, my hearing aids amplify everything including all the backgrounds sounds and its like I am being assaulted with a wall of sound and trying to pick out individual voices is a nightmare.
Public transport is the same the ambient sounds all around me are amplified and it gets so bad It’s just easier for me to turn my hearing aids off.
A hearing dog is the answer
Or so it seems to be which is why I have started down the path of getting one, I have already passed the 1st stage which is where it’s worked out of my hearing loss is severe enough for me to need a dog and it is.
Hearing dogs are fully accredited assistance dogs so just like guide dogs I can take them anywhere I go and in this country it is against the law to refuse me entry to establishments or the use of a public carriage ( Taxi,cab, bus train, even planes) because I have an assistance dog and the penalties for ignoring this law start from £1000 fines right up to prison terms.
With a dog I will no longer be afraid to use public transport or to go out to the pub because the dog will alert me to the sounds I can’t hear like traffic, my phone ringing, alarms or other danger signals.
Indoors the dog will alert me to the phone, the smoke alarm, the doorbell and it can even let me know my partner is celling me.
These are the things most hearing people take for granted but for me are the biggst issues I have to face daily