Recently, someone advised me to try something. After exhausting conversations, or after a strenuous day, to switch off or even take out my hearing aids from time to time. I might be able to create a little peace and rest for myself.
Since I know the advisor and I’m always open to good advice, I’ve tried her advice a few times and have noticed that this doesn’t work for me. But hey, if you don‘t try it, you don‘t know it, right?!
In practice, it turned out that when I don’t wear my hearing aids or when they are not switched on, my tinnitus (ear noises) gets louder and the noise in my head becomes even louder instead of less.
Furthermore, I feel insecure and restless because I am constantly looking if someone wants to tell me something. Even when I’m home. Apparently I have adopted this “alertness” in such a way that it appears automatically, except when I am very deep in my thoughts or reading.
When I read, I am usually so relaxed that my “alertness” also takes a break. Same thing happens most of the time when I’m outside.
Here in my residence I know a lot of people nowadays and when I am outside or when shopping, it can happen that I meet acquaintances. When I am travelling alone, I am usually so deeply absorbed in thoughts that I often hardly notice my surroundings consciously. It has happened quite often that I passed an acquaintence without greeting her/him because I didn’t see her/him. I don‘t do this on purpose, but because there is so much noise outside, I have become accustomed to retreating into my quiet thoughts. You could see it as a kind of self-protection. Only traffic has my attention!
Even when I travel with others, I concentrate so much on the conversation that I am also less aware of my surroundings.
Sometimes weird situations can occur. So last week I went shopping in the neighbourhood and was asked for directions by a passerby. Distracted as I was, I saw an acquaintance in the shop I had not expected there anyway and only after a short time I became aware of who she was. We had a short chat and went on. On the way back, I bumped into a second acquaintance whom I had not seen for a long time and was not able to classify immediately. Everything cleared up quickly and after a nice conversation we both went our way.
After such situations, I always decide to stay “alert” when I’m outside. But it means for me that I have to turn a button in my head, from calm thoughts to vigilance. And vigilance means a little more effort again. It’s the art of finding a good balance.
My head really only gets empty when I go walking with my Nordic Walking sticks. We live near a river and I like to walk a certain distance along the river and back. The chance to meet an acquaintance there is minimal and I leave my mobile phone at home. Enough time to think, to let go, to enjoy nature and the encountered animals. My experience is that when I walk for an hour, I’m much more relaxed than when I turn off my hearing aids. That’s why I think that everyone should develop his or her own way of relaxing in order to take a break of alertness. This is important for everyone, but especially for people with hearing impairment.
But don’t be surprised or disappointed in case I pass you by without greeting you. Then I’m just shut down again! Don’t hesitate to alert me in that case.