Hhhhmmm…what to expect?

This is going to be one very busy week for me. We have something planned almost every night! One night I’ll be hosting a  “Back to School Night” for the parents of the children I teach, and meeting my husband at my son’s high school for their “Back to School Night.” Another night I’ll be picking up my repaired (I hope) hearing aid. (Yes, Henry, ya’ll remembered!!) Then, watching a night football game while my son plays in the marching band, and another day attending a wedding and reception. Hhhmmm…..I wonder if you can guess which environments will be easier, or more problematic, for me to chat with folks?

I’ll keep you posted…but first I better get some sleep!!


5 thoughts on “Hhhhmmm…what to expect?

  1. Of course, like many Americans on this day, I’ve been thinking and praying for all the families of the victims of those horrible terrorist attacks. Hugs to all of you! The bible says God is our shield and our defender, so that is what I’ve been praying for also. Personally, I think it is important to remember those events, and I pray we can remember them in continued peace. I pray also for those who still relive those events and deal with any kind of post traumatic stress issues. And, I thank God, for any of you who are in the military, or intelligence communities continuing your hard work of protecting us still today. Yes, it makes me proud to be an American! (Remember that Lee Greenwood song?)

  2. Okay, the first night was “Back to School Night” at my son’s high school. We met folks a little late for that meeting and I’m really glad!! It was held in the school cafeteria yet I could hear the woman in the hallway! My first reaction? Whoa!! TOO LOUD! That’s why I’m glad we were late and we sat in the back!! It was an information session about the various testing opportunities (PSAT, SAT, ACT etc.) As we walked closer to the room, it was so loud, I turned my hearing aids down. When the microphone was handed over to other teachers, though, it was harder to hear them. Why? The first guy had a Hispanic accent, he had a low voice and he held the microphone away from his mouth. The last guy held the microphone even lower, almost making it irrelevant. Most of what those guys said I didn’t hear. They did have a power point presentation they’d refer to, but I guess I need to get my glasses fixed because I couldn’t read that either…ooops! My husband, is my translator, in these cases. Now, I realize that it is a little uncomfortable to hear your own voice through a microphone. First time I did it, well, its just one of those odd things. You can get used to it, though. BUT really, why would you use one in the first place? I wish I could help some people understand “Microphones can be your friend.” Why? Because if you only have to give your presentation once, so everyone can hear you, isn’t that a better use of your time? I understand there may be a need for a short Q/A afterwards but, if folks can’t hear, do you really want to reschedule? It could be avoided, right?

    The situation in the general auditorium, in the second meeting, was almost hysterical. After the principal greeted everyone from the podium onstage, things got a little LOUD and squeaky. Like A LOT! We had the vice president of the PTSA speak using a different microphone on the floor level. Although she was hilarious, it wasn’t helpful. Every time she tried to use the microphone, that awful high pitched squeal, AKA feedback, would wail through the room. Good thing its a room equipped to deal with sound. Still, it feels somehow like someone was scraping fingernails down a blackboard. Eeeeeeeks!! Remember, when you have hearing aids in your ears, you have little microphones in your ears….sheeeeesh!!! My suspicion is that someone should have turned off the microphone that was still up on the stage. Still she was able to really belt her voice out there and I did hear much of what she said. (I guess that’s obvious, huh? How else would I know she was so funny?) The last lady to talk gave up entirely and didn’t bother using the microphone. For me that was worse, almost pointless. I was sitting in the 2nd row and could not hear most of what she said.
    In situations, like this I often just tune out. Even going to visit my son’s teachers I did the same. Some of them I heard fine and others, maybe because I sat too far away from them, I couldn’t hear them. My strategy is always to hand them a written note and give them my email address. I explain I have a moderate to severe hearing loss, and that is really the best way to communicate with me.

  3. The next night we hosted our “Back to School night.” It was so nice to be in an environment where there were, maybe, 10 of us in the room, and 2 of us were the teachers. For the most part I didn’t have too much trouble. (Its certainly easier than trying to chat with folks in a high school where there are hundreds of people milling around). Anyway, we did our presentations, and until the Asian moms, or the Indian dad spoke I was able to communicate well enough. The Indian dad I didn’t hear at all. Good thing my co-worker could speak to him.

    Interestingly, the next day something happened that explains what happens with me and folks that have a different accent. One of our little girls had been absent. She came in that next morning, and I said, “Well, good morning! I missed you. Were you sick yesterday?” Her mom, who doesn’t speak much English at all, said “Family trouble…keep her home.” As I was concerned I asked, “Family trouble? Is everything okay?” She smiled at me, shook her head no, and tried again, “No, family travel.” After apologizing for the misunderstanding, I asked, “Where did you guys go?” The poor woman, started to tell me where they went, and wasn’t she smart!! She started to spell, “L-u-r-a-y …..” I got so excited, “Oh, you guys went to Luray Caverns?”
    Two lessons here:
    Heavy accents are very hard for us hearing impaired folks to decipher!! Oh yeah!!
    Sometimes spelling really helps!!!

  4. Okay, life during a wedding for the hearing impaired is also interesting. First of all, you never know how well certain buildings absorb or bounce sound all around. The church was awful, although it was gorgeous! The sound bounced everywhere! The minister had a microphone but, to me, the speaking voices seemed like they were echos. We were there early because my husband was the best man. I even tried to help the minister adjust the volume on the microphone. When others said it was a good volume, (not too soft or too loud) that’s when I noticed …. not so much, for me! But you can’t change buildings, or acoustics, in a situation like that.
    Once the wedding was over, and everyone was milling around in the foyer, NOW it was really hard to hear. I admit it, I just stopped trying. It was interesting kind of watching myself interact, since I knew I’d be blogging. I had told our friends, the bride and groom, I’d take pictures for them. You know causal pictures. (I WISH I was a professional photographer.) Not yet, anyway! Anyway, as folks were arriving I’d introduce myself and explain I was taking photos. As I asked if they wouldn’t mind me taking a couple shots of them, I found I could chat with them pretty well, with a few repeats. That’s normal, right?)

    But, like I said, afterwards is a whole ‘nother ball game. Everyone talking at once, amid the excitement of “Congratulations” and “You made it!” I even saw some folks I hadn’t seen in a while, but it was hard to talk with them. (And, THIS was a small wedding … maybe 50 folks were there!) So, yeah, I had to be realistic about the situation. Then at the reception with the music playing it more became difficult again to actually sit and chat with folks. It was much easier at the end of the reception when many people had left, the music stopped, and I COULD hear some comments about the cake. There have been times when I’ve been in situations like this, I’ve said, “Would you mind if we find another place to talk?” (In, maybe, a hallway or another room where it is just more quiet.)

    And, of course, while decorating “the get away car” with a few friends, we laughed and had a good time interacting. Why? We were outside where sound doesn’t bounce from wall to wall and, although I didn’t hear everything, it was fun and not so stressful.

    The thing I need to remember in situations like this, is that I have a choice to make. I can either have fun (blowing up balloons, taping “just Hitched” signs inside a limo, and tossing in candy OR I can just stop everything. That way I CAN face all the people I want to talk with so I can catch EVERY WORD they are saying. And, HONESTLY….. sometimes, girls just wanna have FUN!!! (We had “an after the party celebration” with those guys later anyway!)

  5. My son plays for his high school marching band which, of course, I want to go hear during the football games, and other events. Yesterday was the Homecoming game. At his high school, there IS a section RIGHT NEXT to the band where parents sit thereby, encouraging them and watching the game.

    Of course, as the crowd comes alive with touchdowns, and near touchdowns, especially when the band plays, it is very hard to hear any conversation. At one point, I was trying to talk with one mom. Both our sons are in the band and we were talking about their plans for later. But as the game got exciting again and the crowd was getting loud, it became harder and harder to hear her. That’s frustrating! Right in the middle of a conversation. Sometimes, I just can’t compete with other sounds that occur at the same time I’m trying to listen. We exchanged cell phone numbers so we could talk later but the boys ended up changing their plans anyway.

    On a side note, the high school mascot is the lion. As the guys needed encouragement, a VERY LOUD tape recording of an actual lion would ROAR through the stadium, from right behind me!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!!! That thing must be at about 80 decibels!! I jumped so high, because, remember hearing aids have microphones in them!!!!!

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