If you or someone you know is hard of hearing, here is one way to eliminate a potentially uncomfortable situation.
After my breast cancer journey, I treated myself to a spa package. As a person who is hard of hearing, I experience a somewhat embarrassing situation during the visit. The happy ending is that it resulted in a great solution.
High temperatures are not suitable for hearing aids or cochlear implants. So I remove both before entering the sauna to wait for my appointment. One of the attendants suddenly pushes open the door and asks me a question. Can I understand her? No. I keep shrugging my shoulders explaining I am hard of hearing and cannot hear her. Although she keeps repeating herself, I simply can not comprehend what she is asking me. By about the fourth repeat, she is almost shouting. Mind you, this is in an environment that is supposed to be quiet. Finally, I get it. “Can you start early?” I apologize and answer, “Yes, of course.”
Because of hearing this question in this environment, I will most likely understand it when and if asked the same question in the future. But, the first time around? Pretty uncomfortable.
Wanting to avoid first-time awkward encounters like this, I considered carrying a pen and paper with me. If I don’t understand someone, I can ask the person to write down what they are saying . Of course, pen and paper in a steam room or jacuzzi doesn’t work. Cell phones don’t like extreme heat or dampness, either.
What is one to do?
Fortunately, I am a member of the Hearing Like Me Facebook group. So I posted the uncomfortable spa encounter. A hard of hearing member of the group responded with a GREAT solution. They carry with them a small portable electronic LCD doodle writing board with a stylus.
I purchased one from Amazon, and carry it with me in my purse. With something like that in one’s possession, it is easier to move about in society and not be overly concerned with what to do if not understanding others. It is sort of like what Beethoven did. He carried a small chalkboard and chalk with him so others could write what they were asking or saying to him.
I haven’t had a situation arise yet to use my LCD wiring tablet, but I sure feel more comfortable having it. Especially when I visit the spa again.
There is almost nothing as uncomfortable as having someone ask you a question and you and you cannot understand them. Rather than answering “yes” or “no” hoping your answer isn’t going to get you in trouble, this little LCD pad is a good workaround. Staying connected to others and to our world is the biggest challenge when it comes to hearing loss. Thanks to modern-day technology, keeping that connection alive is easier than ever.