In Her Shoes

I wish I could put someone in my shoes for just a day, or even a couple hours, to really understand what I hear. Or not hear. I told my husband once that every time I talk to someone, if I only use my hearing, it sounds like I’m talking to Charlie Brown’s mother. Remember that? You hear her talking, but it’s this non-intelligible sound so that you just can’t pick out the words she’s saying. Granted, I do read lips, so hearing the sounds for me helps me understand when someone starts or stops a word, making lipreading a heck of a lot easier with hearing aids. But the point being? I can close my eyes, and for the life of me, I hear the sounds but can’t concentrate hard enough to understand one word from the other.

I tell people all the time that I can’t hear. All of my friends and family know it, but sometimes they just crack me up. Yesterday I told a friend of mine that I might not attend a scrapbooking retreat that some of us girls go to every year. I’m not trying to isolate, but when you hear Charlie Brown’s mother and all her non-intelligible friends laughing and talking all weekend long, it gets a little grating on the nerves. It’s like never-ending very loud white noise. For 72 hours straight. Her suggestion? Can’t I bring some headphones with some music to help?

To a normal hearing person, this is just a logical question. Music is soothing, blocks out unwanted sound, and a great stress reliever. But for me? If I can’t distinguish what someone is saying, shouldn’t it be obvious that I can’t tell one note from another? Maybe not. Keep in mind, I know my friend meant well. She was thinking of me, how to fix the situation for me so that I could go and have fun with them.

But the point is, it’s just virtually impossible for a full fledged hearing person to really comprehend or understand me without walking in my shoes. I will say that having the disability makes me sympathetic to other persons’ challenges. Because I know, no one can understand your situation quite like you can. They’re just not walking in your shoes.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by mog on January 27, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Great post. I so understand


  2. Posted by Michael Farrell on April 14, 2010 at 5:40 am

    You could try those Bose or Sony noise-canceling headphones, but then your friends will think you’re isolating yourself and not part of the group. I remember that Charlie Brown theme: ron ron ron. Tourists in Paris say that’s how French sounds. 🙂


  3. That’s interesting about the French language, I wouldn’t have thought of that. I took a semester in French in college before my hearing declined and I can see how someone would think that. For white noise, I will sometimes hit the mute button on my hearing aids. Then if someone motions to get my attention, I’m just a click away. For some reason I get headaches if my hearing aids are very loud, even if it’s a comfortable level, so sometimes isolation is actually necessary anyways.


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