Hard of hearing

London

September 7th 2015

Tower Bridge, London at nightSource: http://www.freeimages.co.uk/galleries/buildings/bestofbritish/slides/tower_bridge_night.htm

I spent the last few days in London. While unpacking my suitcase from the visit to my mother, I had exactly one day to pack our suitcase for London. We visited a colleague of my husband’s who had invited some colleagues and friends to dinner on the occasion of his retirement. Our reception was particularly warm and we were very much spoiled on all sides.

Since we were in London anyway, we also took the opportunity to meet other friends. That was also a great experience! I knew three of these friends only via the social network, but it was as if we had known each other for a long time. Of course, we were also spoiled by the presence of cats and cat attention, because our friends are cat lovers just like us.

We had a professional tour through London, one of our friends learned for tourist guides, and have experienced a lot of remarkable things, visited a nice pub and had a great meal. We even went to the pub where Bob Dylan gave his first concert!
Sometimes it was a language mess, because one of our friends is German and her husband is English, but to my surprise it worked well. Not that I have problems with the languages, but you have to switch every time and if you have to be constantly tuned to the tones and mouth picture of the language, like me, then this is exhausting. And I was indeed very tired, but it was certainly worth it.
I like London very much and we have seen a lot of the city this time, as we had to cross some parts of the city by bus to get to our friends. I also had a lot of fun with it: you feel less tourists. At the stations, information- and other counters the people were very friendly and nice. Unfortunately, not all passengers were very polite, but in general the British are very friendly and helpful.

What surprised me, however, was that the Brittish were not really disciplined at the traffic lights. I thought I was almost in Amsterdam as far as crossing the street was concerned! It was crossed at red as well as at green. I hadn’t really expected that in London, but it made me feel at home…
At the British stations one should pay careful attention, because the trains race past the tracks with quite high speed! But the British can still learn one thing from the Germans and Swiss (and even the Dutch)! The trains and the tube are LOUD! Sometimes so loud that I had to turn off my hearing aids because the noise became too much for me. The Swiss trains or S-Bahn are virtually noiseless.

With many thanks to our friends, we especially enjoyed the London adventure and we hope to return to London soon!

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Hard of hearing

Immune

abwehr (2)
Source: Image courtesy of Photo by Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos. net

Today I read in a newspaper article today something that I have always suspected, but what has now been confirmed to me. People who do not sleep enough have four times more chance of colds. Lack of sleep weakens the immune system and one becomes more sensitive to diseases such as colds. The results of the research were published in the newspaper Sleep.

I have been feeling this for a long time because I usually catch a cold when I am tired (due to sleep deprivation, getting up very early, etc.) and often in combination with drought (see also my blog contribution A cold). Of course, I know that I have to take care of myself and my immune system. That means: make sure I get enough vitamins, enough sleep and not exceeding my limits.

This sounds quite true and reasonable, but in practice it is very difficult! If you are still relatively young and have many plans, you don’t want to restrict yourself too much. In the meantime, I have learned to say no from time to time, but on the other hand, I don’t want to feel like an old woman when I leave a party or a meeting early because my body can’t cope going to bed too late. Sometimes you just want to stay because it’s so cozy. But I always feel that my body gets confused for days on end. For me, it is always a dilemma and I always have to consider what is and what is not possible. And normally, this is going well. I try to spread my activities as much as possible and try to sleep enough.
You need a bit of organizational talent for healthy and good activity planning. I have mentioned this skill on my CV by the way.

But did you know that fatigue is one of the most common complaints of hearing impaired people? The energy for listening and communicating ensures that many people with hearing problems have left little energy in the evening. The communication and communication courses for people with hearing loss are therefore primarily aimed at communicating in the most energy-saving way possible.

So, if you meet me or other people with hearing impairments and we say that we need a break in the conversation or want to leave a party sooner than the others, don’t forget that we don’t want to be spoilers, but only need to pay attention to our well-being so that we can function properly every day. Of course, exceptions are not excluded, because we are all human beings…..

Oh, and the above mentioned research gave me another valid excuse to sleep. Maybe I should do an afternoon nap every day? How do you think about this?

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Hard of hearing

Forgetful

Vergesslich
Source: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/don-t-forget-again-1545035

Sometimes my head is like a sieve: a lot goes in, a lot goes out without getting stuck. When I’m tired, I can’t concentrate as well and I forget more. I try to avoid my forgetfulness, write down important things in my agenda or on notes. Most of the time this works well, although I don’t want to become too dependend on it and also try to train my brain a little bit.

So I had agreed to skype with someone the week before last, hadn’t entered it in the calendar and… I forgot it completely. Of course, this is not (yet) due to my age: I am not the youngest, but I am certainly not that old! But since my hearing has decreased, I notice that when I do a lot of things at the same time, I try to concentrate so hard not to forget anything. An unpleasant side effect, which many people with impaired hearing probably share with me. As long as I concentrate on one task alone, it’s going great. That’s why many hearing impaired people are also good employees, because they can lock themselves away from their surroundings. It goes without saying, of course, that I don’t want to generalize here and there are many exceptions, but my professional experience has shown me that if you ask people with hearing impairment to do several tasks at the same time, it is sometimes difficult for them.

It can happen that my husband tells me something in the evening or just something like that and I hear and understand it, but later on I really can‘t remember that he told me. My husband thinks I’m not listening to him. Since my communication courses, I know that he may be right, strictly speaking. I have heard and understood what he said, but I did not really record it, so I did not really listen. By the way, the reverse also happens more often and is it usually not just a matter of hearing, but of communication.

I comfort myself with the thought that if you know where the cause lies, you can work on it. I now know that I shouldn‘t work with two or three tasks at the same time and that I just have to concentrate on one task. Routine can also be helpful. When cooking, for example, I sometimes forget to turn off the last cooker when the food is on the table. That’s why I now automatically check whether all cookers are switched off before serving. It is the art though, to do everything consciously. If I leave the apartment and automatically lock my door without thinking about it, then I am not sure whether I have locked it or not. That’s why I always make sure that I deliberately close off.

Forgetfulness, of course, cannot be completely avoided. After all, forgetting is human! And we are all human beings… Well, if I don’t write for one or more days, please don’t think that I have forgotten you!

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Hard of hearing

Driving a car

autofahren

Source: https://pixabay.com/de/auto-fahren-fahrzeug-rot-312338/Lizenz: CC0 Public Domain

I have been asked many times, whether hearing impaired people, and especially the most severely hearing impaired and deaf people, can and may drive a car. My answer has always been clear: Yes, why not?!

Acquiring the ability to drive is perhaps a bit more complicated, at least in practice, and you have to make good arrangements with the driving instructors, but of course that is possible.
And of course, there are some disadvantages when driving a car being hearing impaired. A deaf colleague of mine often had problems getting started because she didn’t hear the car lamp alarm and sometimes forgot to check if the lights were off.
Even me, it took me a lot of money and effort to get a driver’s license. Frankly, this had not only to do with my hearing, but also with the complexity of traffic. Of course, I couldn’t read the instructor’s face, otherwise I would have had to turn my head in his direction all the time, and that would certainly not have benefited the traffic. But for me personally, this was not the biggest challenge. You have to watch out for so many things while driving a car that I didn’t manage to do that so quickly. Some people have it by nature, some of them, like me, just don’t.
I also started driving at a later age. At first, I didn’t have enough money and no car. Later no car and I didn’t want to become a Sunday driver because I didn’t have enough practice.

Only when I needed a car for my job because I had to visit clients at the workplace, it did make sense for me. I will spare you my driving licence career, but I can tell you this: I was once very proud of myself when I had the desired paper in my hands. I don’t like to think back on the first few weeks without a driving instructor. Beginner mistakes and stress became my part. And my husband’ s: he was so brave and kind as to accompany me to work for the first two weeks and then go to his work by train himself afterwards. He risked his life, but luckily everything went well. Afterwards I drove quite a few kilometers on the meter, I survived storms, traffic jams and other adventures. I only got a few speed fines for a few kilometres driving too fast. I don’t like driving fast, but I like to move it, honestly!

It has happened to me a few times that I didn’t hear the Martinshorns of the police or the ambulance or heard them very late. But I saw them in the rearview mirror and reacted accordingly. And that’s exactly what we, the hearing impaired, always do: we hear and compensate much more with our other senses. In case of driving, especially with the eyes.

Since I’ve been in Switzerland, I hardly drive a car anymore. Although I don’t like it, I didn’t try so hard to get my drivinglicense for nothing, and now I get out of practice, but the public transport is so good that you don’t normally need the car. Only for practical reasons I rent a car every now and then when I visit my mother. Then I realize that you don’t forget how to drive a car, but you have to renew the “feeling”. For someone who has already driven 220 km/hour on the German motorway, this is no problem.

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Hard of hearing

Building stop

August 19th 2015

Man wearing ear mufflers against noise pollution
Source: http://www.freeimages.co.uk/galleries/nature/environment/slides/noise_polution0154.htm

For some time now it has become quieter in our living environment. Maybe you’re thinking now,”Well, what’s in it for me?” Then I would ask you to read on as soon as possible.

When we moved into our apartment six years ago, everything was brand new. Our building was the second in the series of completely new buildings in the quarter. We knew that the construction time would take a long time and that the noise nuisance would come with it. Nevertheless, we were surprised how loud it really was.
We have a large balcony, but so far we have only been able to use it in the weekends, because the building noise during the week was too much to really enjoy the balcony.
Once we had opened the balcony door (even a tiny bit), it was almost impossible for me and my husband to talk on the phone. Yes, you read that correctly: even my good hearing husband, had trouble understanding his interlocutor on the phone. The solution was, of course, very simple, namely to close the balcony door, which we did. Fortunately, the buildings here are well insulated. But you will understand that in some cases it was a bit uncomfortable.

We also live near a railway station and there is a regular night-time work on the tracks, which can cause noise pollution at night. A few times I have heard, without my hearing aids, the work and that says something. We have long since stopped hearing the trains, and we quickly got used to them.
In the winter the noise still is bearable, because then one usually has the windows and the balcony door closed. However, in summer it is different. And then you perceive the noise from outside.
In the last few months, however, most of the buildings in our immediate vicinity have been finished and, apart from less noise, the view has improved a lot. We even have two new supermarkets around the corner. And the green has also been thought of. We can now calmly leave the balcony door open (unless the wasps want to visit our apartment) and, although there is still a lot of noise on the street, this has become more pleasant. However, it will still take until 2018 for our quarter to be completely finished.

Those who may now think that “what a whining, building noise is part of our lives”, I would like to say “Yes, you’re right”. But…..
First of all, am I allowed to complain a little, I hardly ever do that!
Man wearing ear mufflers against noise pollutionSecondly, despite the possible misfortune, I have never really understood people who live near an airport or airfield and (even legally) complained about aircraft noise. If you live near an airport, you do know that there is aircraft noise, don‘t you?!

But of course, even though we knew that there would be a lot of building problems, you may surely look forward to a little less noise and quiet, right?

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Hard of hearing

Dance of the insects

Augustus 18th 2015

Tanz der Insekten

Source: © Georgios Alexandris | Dreamstime Stock Photos
http://www.dreamstime.com/black-bee-free-stock-image-imagefree217366

The time of the year has come again: the insects, especially wasps, fly around your head and ears. On our balcony we have two wasp traps hanging and they are visited frequently. Although I am particularly animal-friendly and even try to catch spiders that have got lost in the apartment, I have a thorough aversion to wasps. The reason for this is clear: I have been bitten by these yellow/brown striped insects several times and that was very painful.

No matter how useful they may be, I don’t like the way they bother me everywhere. Last year, when our cats were still alive, I had to lock them away a few times because they followed a wasp in the apartment with too much interest, even almost ate them. You don’t want to think about the animals being stabbed in the mouth or throat!
We (that actually means my husband, because I don’t wake up so fast from noise at night) have been woken up in the middle of the night by big noise, because the cats chased a moth or night owl.

I didn’t really make friends with the mosquitoes either. Apparently, they love me the other way around, but they love me a bit too much. One advantage is that I don’t hear them at night. All the more disappointment when I wake up in the morning with some itchy mosquito bites. We already have an electronic mosquito repellent, but I am still being bitten by the mosquitoes. And just me, my husband’s barely getting bit. And that’s actually what bothers me the most, to be honest. What do all these insects want from me? I leave them alone too, why won’t they leave me alone …?

Well, of course insects are useful and naturally they are needed in nature, but nature can also exaggerate it. Bees or bumblebees, they are less aggressive and I could still live with them, I hardly see them, but wasps even more. And then the threatening buzzing… With hearing aids, I hear it when they’re around me.
And I don’t even have the guts to beat them to death because I’m afraid they’ll ever stab me. So that means, being as peaceful as I am, trying to avoid any confrontation with wasps. A difficult task and I am always happy to master it without damage.

As for the mosquitoes, I’ve got a lemonspray at home as well. It stinks, but it’s worked pretty well so far. But if that doesn’t help any more, well, maybe we’ll have to think about cats again. Our cats were very good mosquito catchers, but unfortunately also often sleep robbers.

There is a lot to consider, but let’s postpone it until next year.

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Hard of hearing

The mountains

August, 16th 2015die Berge

Source: Picture of the Author

I probably inherited the love and fascination for the mountains from my parents. Already at the age of 4-5 years my parents took me and my brother to the Austrian Alps on holiday. At that time my enthusiasm for the mountains was still dampened a little by the physical effort to climb them, there are quite a lot of my footprints in Tirol, but as a young teenager the beauty of the mountains has captured me forever. I find it especially fascinating that when you are standing up high, you are surrounded by the many peaks and after these peaks there are even more peaks as far as you can see, or not.
I certainly couldn’t have imagined at the time that I would ever live in an Alpine country!

Last week we searched and found a little cooling in the mountains. We were on the Rigi, Titlis and Stanserhorn. Apart from pleasant temperatures, the wonderful views have pleased me and all of us. Traveling up and donwn the mountains, I chewed chewing gum diligently. The difference in height, combined with speed, creates pressure on the eardrum. Normally, I can chew and counterbalance this with counterpressure and it doesn’t hurt. Only if I have a cold, I know that I better can avoid the way upstairs.
The same goes for flying. I had to fly a few times when I had a cold and I felt my ears hurt while landing! I also usually feel it on my ears, half an hour or so before the actual landing, that the approach is initiated. Luckily, I can usually counterbalance this with counter-pressure and thus prevent pain. But I even know of people who don’t want to fly anymore because of the earaches in the plane.

The way up and down is therefore sometimes not without a challenge for me and my ears. My husband, for example, loves to drive through passes and pin bends, preferably without traffic in front of us. For me, on the other hand, it isn‘t that much fun. Something in my head, probably the organ of equilibrium, makes me a little dizzy during the last years with these sharp needle curves, despite the beautiful view.
I experience a similar feeling of dizzines today when I look down from the mountain face (or whatever altitude). I’m always happy when there’s good protection.

My husband and I visited the famous Swiss mountain, The Jungfrau, three times. That was a strange experience for me. On the one hand, I was attracted by the Aletsch glacier in the restaurant every time. It’s hard to describe, but it was as if there was an invisible connection that pulled me physically in the direction the Aletsch glacier,. I’ve never felt anything like this before and I was particularly impressed.
And also the height (3400 m above sea level) made my head dizzy. A very impressive experience, which makes you aware of the uniqueness of the mountains.

As a native of the lowlands, the mountains will always retain a certain fascination and mysticism for me and I am sure that I will marvel again and again over the mountains. With and without snow.

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