Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I love technology--Thing 7

I really do enjoy technology--it helps so much with disabilities! It was amazing when the first electronic hearing aid was invented--even though it was bulky and boxy, it sure does help to amplify the sounds so I can hear. I used to have one of those big square processors that you had to clip onto your belt, with wires running up to your ears, so it could transmit sound through the earmolds. But I was about 2 years old then, and didn't have much of waist...so I carried it around in a special harness.

They did have smaller hearing aids, but because I am so profoundly deaf I needed more processing power. Boy was I glad when technology improved and Phonak figured out how to include more processing power into a smaller hearing aid. It was still huge for me, and made my ears stick out funny. And more and more, companies are figuring out how to make it still smaller. I still need a traditionally sized hearing aid so I have enough processing power, but it is amazing how they even have "in the canal" hearing aids now.

I love the cochlear implant, too. That is a remarkable invention--amazing how Graeme Clark figured out how to "replace" the hearing hair cells in the ear. I got the implant in my left ear because even the strongest hearing aid was not strong enough to let me hear more than loudest, deepest vowel sounds. "Holly, please let the dogs in" would sound approximately like, "--AH-ee, --ee-- -eh- -- --AH-- ∂h--". (For comparison, my right and better ear, that sentence woud sound like, --olly, plea-e le- the dog- in" )

Now, with the cochlear implant in one ear, the hearing aid in the other, that sentence sounds more like, "Holly, please let the dogs in".

I love laptops, too. I had a Dell Inspiron, and now I have a Macbook, to help me at school. I still rely a lot on lipreading, so by using my laptop to take notes (and by knowing home row keys), I can focus on reading the lips while I type away.

In some classes, though, I've needed a CART, which is basically a real time captioning machine, so I can hear all that's going on in class. That's helped greatly, too. Perhaps some day I will be able to have automatic captioning linked to my glasses, so I can see the words while others talk to me--like at the library.

I'll be Holly the Deaf Librarian, the only one who will tell people to "Speak up!" in the library :D
Seriously, though, some people seem to think we have to whisper in libraries. I remember when I first started working at the library, a patron came up to me. Here's the conversation:

A lady came up to me. *indistinct whispering*
"Hi!, How may I help you?"
*indistinct whispering*
"I'm sorry, I'm hard of hearing. Can you repeat that please?"
She spoke just a tiny bit louder. I still had no clue what she was saying--sounded something like a "death broom" or "breast zoom" or "vesture".
Usually when I have to ask people to repeat more than once, they grow irate, so I decided on a generic answer.
"I'm sorry, I don't know where it is, I'm just a page. I'm sure if you ask the librarians, just over there by the Circ Desk, they will be able to find it for you."
She gave me a funny look, then went over to ask the librarian.

When a librarian finished helping the woman, I went over there and asked quietly, "What was it that she wanted?" The librarian informed me that she was looking for the rest room. No wonder the lady gave me a funny look. I wonder what she thought of me--most people think I'm stupid when I don't know what they're saying.

Hearing aids, for being wonderful technology, aren't perfect, let me tell you. There have been plenty of instances that if it weren't for a having a slight sense of humor, would mortify me horribly.

The restrooms are in the lobby, by the way.

1 comment:

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Great story, Holly. I hate whisperers. Sometimes I use a Pockettalker at the reference desk to help me understand them better.