Hard of hearing

Merry Christmas!

Weihnachten 2016.jpgSource: http://de.freeimages.com/photo/christmas-1185924 @Martin Boos

The year 2017 is almost running to its end now. For me, personally, it was an eventful year, not only at private level, but also otherwise a lot has happened, not at least my search for a CI (cochlear implant) as well as a real interview.

One thing however remained constant: my Blog provided me with a lot of pleasure and the fact that the Blog even started in Dutch and English language made very happy. Who knows, maybe in French next year?!

From here, I would like to wish all my readers a merry Christmas and a very good 2017!
Also, I want to thank all of you for reading my Blog and hope we will meet eachother next year again.
In case you liked the Blog, I like to ask you: please pass it on. The more people get to know about daily life with hearing loss, the more understanding we create and we even might transform the image of a “poor, dumb” hearing impaired into a “selfconsious and equal” hearing impaired.

I wish you a merry Christmastime and see you next year!

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Hard of hearing

Bureaucracy

August 1st, 2015

burokratie
Source: http://all-free-download.com/free-photos/download/stamp_clutter_office_240869.html Author: 99pixel

Even though I am usually a sweet, calm, and rational person, my blood can still boil over sometimes. The reason is the sheer endless bureaucracy that you can find all through your life. Even though I understand that life must have rules and order or else everything becomes chaos, the actions of a few bureaucrats go too far.

Once I accompanied a young hearing impaired man on a job hunt. He had had communication problems with his IV advisor for a year at this point. At that point, I suggested a meeting for all three of us so that I could explain to the advisor what hearing loss was. The answer of the advisor was typical for the Bureaucracy. He could not engage in conversation without the permission of the young man. And his support will soon expire anyways. I had however clearly communicate that this meeting would be with my client. It would be expected that he would say yes to the meeting, or did I miss something?

Yes, I know that one cannot give private and confidential information about your client to third parties. I would personally not like that. That’s why there is such a thing as Right to Privacy laws.
If my client were to bring me to a meeting to support him and better his communication with his advisor, would that be a violation of the confidentiality? Its about the welfare of the client, or am I mistaken? If I were his advisor, and I had no idea how to communicate with a hearing impaired person, then I would be happy if a friend or acquaintance of my client volunteered to help, with his consent. After I all, I need to satisfy my client, and how do I do that if I do not know what he wants?

It is unfortunately not the first time, and for sure not the last time that the Bureaucracy won’t cooperate with reality. I have experienced clients who were unable to genuinely work who have had their IV support taken away, and thus were forced to seek work, which they were physically or mentally unable to do. Their success rates were almost zero. It was not their motivation that was at fault. Only a very few didn’t want to work. But if you no longer can work, but still must find a job, that is a whole different story.

In my case, its not about motivation, but about reality. Even I can no longer work full time, as communication barriers take up a lot of my energy, and therefore, I need more time to relax. As with me, so it is with many other hearing impaired people. They often do not get assistance because these people do not fit into the typical mold of what disabled is.
That can’t be the work of our bureaucracy, or can it?

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Hard of hearing

Student years

July 31st, 2015

studentenjahre
Source: http://www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/bilder/

I have fond memories of my university days. As a student of history I was able to satisfy my fascination with history and met many new peers. I did not have to be at the university all that much, and because of that, I lived with my parents. I commuted back and forth from home and university. As I was specialized in Russian and eastern European history, I learned Russian. It was not easy, but it was a lot of fun.

I already knew right at the beginning of my studies that I would like to spend part of it in a foreign country. Russia was of course my preferred country, but it was not possible as Russia was not very open back then, and I had no contacts there.
When I discovered that the Ruhr Universität Bochum in German had excellent East European faculty, my decision was made. I have never regretted it. It was the year of my life! At first, I had only signed up for a half year, but I extended it to a full year. If it was for the good of my thesis, I doubt it, but that is just me personally. It was the last year of my studies, and I wanted to use this year well. Contentwise, the year was full. I signed up for multiple lectures, and the last half year revolved around my thesis.

Besides my studies, the student life was very diverse. In the apartment I shared with other students, I made many friends and was even permitted to join in excursions for foreign students. Usually, there was always something to do and my friend and I were often exhausted by it. My hearing impairment was never an issue. Not for me, and not for the others.

When I came home after my year was over, it was not easy for both me and my parents. I had no apartment of my own, no job, and missed the student life. However, I tried to transfer into life after Uni. I had never been to eastern Europe or Russia despite my studies, and I wanted to experience that. So I enrolled in a Russian language course that would allow me to stay in Russia for 4 weeks. The mornings were taken up with instruction, and the afternoons were devoted to exploring Moscow and St. Petersburg. That was an unforgettable experience. Here too, my hearing impairment was never an issue. I did hear better back then, but I never had any problems, and I was accepted for who I was.

I can only recommend to other students based on my experiences to try a semester or two outside of your homeland. Even if you are hearing impaired; that is not a reason to deny yourself that experience. You will definitely be richer for it.

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