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:

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.)

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!!


The Rs have it! Or do they?

Have you ever taken a course to learn a new language? If you’ve ever learned Spanish, you know they roll their Rs, a skill I never really acquired. Some folks, though, are quite talented at this!

But then there are other people, who seem to think the Rs are completely silent.

I went to a seminaaa this weekend. What did she say? Welcome to this ….what?

Excuse me, I expected that word would be seminar. There were several words like that. Let me share a few:

Let’s get staated!  OH, Let’s get started.

You might think what we will present today is haad. HUH? ….OH, …… hard.

Or when she restated someone’s question. Okay, sure I can go over that last paaat again. Huh? Oh the last part.

We went to the Inner Haaaba last night. Huh? Oh, the Inner Harbor.

Have you guessed it yet? This lovely lady was from Boston!

Accents, and dialects are SO confusing to us hearing impaired folk. Please understand, though, I mean absolutely NO disrespect. I mean I am originally from New York, and they have interesting ways of tawking too! (talking) I grew up on Long Island with my sista and brothas.(sister, and brothers). Obviously, many regions and/or nationalities have different dialects.

When you hear toe ma toes, and you are used to hearing tomatoes, its just confusing!

I even know someone from Finland. Here you go, try this one:

Ven vill ve have our last class? Hhhmmmm…did you figure it out?

When will we have our last class?

I know, I probably sound weird to her.

No matter which pronunciations you are used to when you hear something different you have to get used to it! Give yourself some time to listen to that person and be patient with them. They don’t understand why you are so lost!

Lips…..and lipreading

So, seriously, I could write about lipreading all day. It really is a skill one learns. I learned it out of necessity by the time I was 5 years old. Do you realize that everyone forms speech sounds differently? We all know that we smack our lips together to make the P, M, and B sounds, right? But so many people make the S sound so differently. Think about how you say the word THINK….where does your tongue go when you make the TH sound? Now, how about when you say the word SINK.. where’d your tongue go? Watch your friends mouths, or hey why not ask them how they make the TH vs S sounds? Thinkof it as new research, or at least, an new conversation starter. LOL! The differences ARE amazing! More on this later, lisps….oy!!

But there I was last night TRYING to lipread someone from the side……and she was ASIAN so we had the whole different accent! WHOA, TALK ABOUT A CHALLENGE!


Don’t try it again….lipread from the front!!!

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!!