April 30, 2020, by Adele Horobin
Another Thursday in ‘lockdown’
We work with people who live with hearing loss and related conditions, or care for those who do, to help us design and carry out research that is relevant and built around their needs. One of our public research partners, Colleen Ewart, shares her everyday experiences of life under lockdown with the added challenge of hearing loss.
Another Thursday in ‘lockdown’, it’s 8 pm so time to clap for our heroes.
No point wearing my hearing aids as the noise from clapping, cheering, whooping, klaxons, tambourines (yes they can make a big noise in the right hands) and fireworks would be too painful!
Slowly we all emerge from our homes making our noise of choice, waving to each other, smiling and – oh my goodness – folk actually want to exchange words as well!
I just need to clarify that conversation without the whooping and clapping and with hearing aids in is proving to be incredibly stressful due to social distancing rules.
I’m a sociable person and love a good chat but oh dear the stress of trying to work out what people are saying to me from across the road is impossible. I drift a little nearer, straining to catch the gist of this exchange. “Social distancing” shouts my neighbour’s husband as we drift closer together. I should just point out she is still banging her saucepan and spoon at this point as she’s trying to tell me something about her daughter’s wife expecting their first child.
Over the weeks I have tried to interpret my neighbours’ words with a nod, a smile a “Ha ha” and a “Oh, that’s super” or if they look sad/stressed etc, then I throw in an “Oh dear”. Goodness knows whether I have caused offence due to inappropriate responses.
The other issue is watching television. My son is usually busy gaming and there is no one else other than the cat to ‘binge watch’ box sets with on Netflix so I leave my hearing aids out and have the volume at whatever level I like! Childish I know.
The irony of having my son (who often wakes me up in the night with shouting and yelling whilst gaming) coming through and saying “Mum do you realise how loud the TV is?!” I think to myself “So what?!”
I do worry that when I can eventually return to socialising (when a vaccine is available as I care for my Mum who is on the vulnerable list) will I remember to wear my hearing aids so I’m not shouting at folk? Think I better start using them again regularly right now and turn that flippin’ TV volume down!
For advice and guidance on living with hearing loss or tinnitus in these uncertain times, the following links* may be of help:
Nottingham NHS hearing services https://www.nuh.nhs.uk/audiology
Online self-help for using your hearing aids http://www.c2hearonline.com/
*these are external websites over which we have no control.