Gilda was so right!! It is always something, especially for the hearing impaired

In my everyday life, I occasionally hear a word and wonder, “What was that word?”

This week, the word was uniform, but I didn’t know if the person said uniform or unicorn. Can you tell how that would be confusing? I mean the two words are so similar, right? Just imagine this: A young child comes to you and says, “My mom bought me a uniform.” When you have a hearing loss, you might not actually hear the F in that word because it is an unvoiced sound, and there is no way you can figure it out from context. I just try and remember to ask lots of questions to figure out what the child said.

Then, earlier today my hubster and I were checking out old footage of SNL videos in anticipation of tonight’s 40th anniversary show.

We found two hilarious videos that exemplify what it’s like to have a hearing loss, both involving my favorite SNL star, Gilda Radner. (Loved her!!)

I’ve actually made this myself a few times, because I heard a word, or a phrase, incorrectly:

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/emilys-editorial-reply/n8635

Please be a good guy like Chevy, and help your hearing impaired friends out. Maybe even a little sooner than he did!!

And, this second one just reminds me of life as a Pre-K teacher. It was amusing when I, a hearing impaired teacher, worked with children still in the process of learning to pronounce certain words. (L’s and R’s always seem to be tricky for the little guys.)

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/not-for-ladies-only/n8633

Of course, these ladies are doing this for fun but I’d love to know how many times you need to replay the video to figure out what they are saying!

Enjoy the videos!!

Back to hearing loss and frustrations…..

Sorry, for that quick excursion into the land of the Red Hatters, I tend to digress. I’m going back to issues with hearing loss now. As you may already know, I work in a private preschool with 4 year old children. Many of them are still learning to pronounce certain words. And, in the normal process of speech development there are some adorable utterances coming forth.

For example, two years ago this little girl came up to and said, “Ms Barb, Jewknowwhat?” Seriously, it blurted out of her face so fast, it sounded like it was all one big word. She was really saying, “Do you know what?” Once I encouraged her to slow down and repeat herself, I understood. Then she said, (still very excited to share this fabulous news), “Mymomboughtmeanewparachute!

“A new parachute? Your mom bought you a new parachute?”

After the giggles, and another reminder to speak s-l-o-w-l-y, she tried again. “My mom bought me a new pair of shoes!!”

So, I learned to identify the problem and communicate my needs, by role modelling to her .. how … to ….. speak … s-l-o-w-l-y.

Then, today, as I am getting to know a whole new group of children, I heard more interesting translations of our English language. One child told me he had rabeolee” in his lunch box (vs ravioli), another child asked for anofer book, please.

(vs. another book, please).

Then this afternoon, a child told us an absolutely fantastic story, and I mean with creativity and imagination beyond his four years. It featured his two dogs meeting up with dragons and dinosaurs, and, of all things a “inbisable doora.” I had to ask a few good questions to figure out he was talking about an invisible door. It was hysterical! Watch out JK Rowling, a new story teller is here for many years!!

Anyway, my point is that when you expect to hear words pronounced a certain way and instead you hear, words such as “rabeolee,”  “anofer” and “inbisable doora,” it can be very, very confusing, and frustrating.

In the last four years, while working with these very young children, I’ve heard other interesting things:

daUDder vs. the other

“Ms Barb, where’s the  daUDder (soccer) ball?”

fankful vs. thankful

“I’m fankful for my mommy.”

churkey vs. turkey

“I like the churkey at fanksgiving time.”

I constantly need to remember what environment I’m in, and the limitations so that I have the appropriate expectations. Please understand I’m not denigrating the children. I think they are absolutely adorable! And, it is normal for children to mispronounce words, as they are learning language.

However, when I hear words incorrectly, it feels the same. I often have to ask my husband, “Did you just say tomatoes or potatoes?”

Most of the time on my job, it’s all very amusing!!

Hope for a new start

As I sit here eating breakfast, I am hoping today will be a better hearing day. At least, when I go to work we only have 10 children in our preschool class. I mean there are only 14 on our class list because some children will start coming a little later in the year for various reasons. But last week we only had 10.  Since enrollment is down, we could always have more. I love all the children, but with fewer people to listen to its always easier to successfully hear those few. When I first started working at my school 5 years ago, we had 22 in the classroom. I’m sure you can imagine how loud a class full of 22 four year old children can get. But today, I am hopeful. It is supposed to rain all day as the tropical storm, Lee, pushes through our area. Since we will play indoor games that will be loud, but I still think I’ll be able to hear the children better today. I will let you know how it goes!!