Hearing Loss Experiences - Can you find humor in some of it?

Posted by Julie, Volunteer Mentor @julieo4, Jul 20, 2021

People with hearing loss can easily mishear and respond to something out of context. Obviously, this can be a big problem. Most often it's not. How about sharing some of the experiences we have had. I believe that being able to laugh and find humor in some of our experiences can be healthy. What do you think?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Hearing Loss group.

Sometimes you can't help but get a chuckle out of what you THOUGHT you heard, esp. when it's so far from what was said. Willows mentioned "musical ear." I assume that's a type of auditory hallucination, which is both irritating and, at times, funny. Mine is most noticeable when I'm in bed: I hear all sorts of things that I know are not really happening, most often machinery running. Sometimes it's something I actually heard that day, like the lawnmower after I've mowed part of the acre that I chop down every week. Sometimes it's not identifiable, but I suspect it is something that I actually heard at some point that my brain has stored away. My favorite is hearing the dishwasher run, plates clicking, water swishing, the whole deal…even though I haven't been able to actually hear that for years!

REPLY
@joyces

Sometimes you can't help but get a chuckle out of what you THOUGHT you heard, esp. when it's so far from what was said. Willows mentioned "musical ear." I assume that's a type of auditory hallucination, which is both irritating and, at times, funny. Mine is most noticeable when I'm in bed: I hear all sorts of things that I know are not really happening, most often machinery running. Sometimes it's something I actually heard that day, like the lawnmower after I've mowed part of the acre that I chop down every week. Sometimes it's not identifiable, but I suspect it is something that I actually heard at some point that my brain has stored away. My favorite is hearing the dishwasher run, plates clicking, water swishing, the whole deal…even though I haven't been able to actually hear that for years!

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Joyce – I'm so glad you are able to find humor in it!
Our friend just left for home after a 4 day camping trip together yesterday. His wife told him to get into the truck and put on his hearing aids from the container there. He came out of the camper and said "Is that my extra pair in the truck? You put my aids in my toothie box last night, they fell in the sink when I drained it to put my teeth in." Of course she didn't – he has dementia and is blind, se we're pretty sure we know who did it. All she could do was laugh and say, "Oh well, that's why they're insured."
By our count over the past 5 years, 2 different beagles have chewed one up at least 4 times, one we had to recover from a garbage bag in a dumpster (also while camping together), one pair he drowned in the pool, playing with my brother's grandkids, another pair in the shower, and one flushed down the toilet, but this is the first time he did it in the denture cleaner.
Sue

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@sueinmn

Joyce – I'm so glad you are able to find humor in it!
Our friend just left for home after a 4 day camping trip together yesterday. His wife told him to get into the truck and put on his hearing aids from the container there. He came out of the camper and said "Is that my extra pair in the truck? You put my aids in my toothie box last night, they fell in the sink when I drained it to put my teeth in." Of course she didn't – he has dementia and is blind, se we're pretty sure we know who did it. All she could do was laugh and say, "Oh well, that's why they're insured."
By our count over the past 5 years, 2 different beagles have chewed one up at least 4 times, one we had to recover from a garbage bag in a dumpster (also while camping together), one pair he drowned in the pool, playing with my brother's grandkids, another pair in the shower, and one flushed down the toilet, but this is the first time he did it in the denture cleaner.
Sue

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Yes, hearing loss is a minor thing compared to living with a younger spouse who's unable to do things. I married a younger man, in the hope that he'd be able to be active with me. Bad choice, as, when he was confronted with a serious problem (back pain following a failed series of surgeries), he simply elected to retire from life, quit doing anything. He "retired" not quite seven years ago and is now unable to walk even short distances with the walker, refuses to use his cane (preferring to walk hunched over, which increases pain), refuses to do exercises that both relieve his pain and make it possible for him to be less inactive. He splits his time between the recliner and the couch. No meals in the dining room, which makes it too awkward to invite people over for dinner. Fortunately, we live on some property I bought 60 years ago, with lots of deer, elk, birds, etc. as neighbors, lots of outside work for me to do. I volunteer for various organizations, which does get me out of the house. Prior to his "retirement," we fished every weekend as sport fishing marketing is how we've made a living for decades. We have enough money to explore new places to fish, new things to see, but that's out. I do day trips; then he's forced to put the plated meal I leave for his dinner into the microwave, which he says is "too hard." Yes, hearing loss is just a little bump in the road compared to becoming a full-time caregiver.

REPLY
@joyces

Sometimes you can't help but get a chuckle out of what you THOUGHT you heard, esp. when it's so far from what was said. Willows mentioned "musical ear." I assume that's a type of auditory hallucination, which is both irritating and, at times, funny. Mine is most noticeable when I'm in bed: I hear all sorts of things that I know are not really happening, most often machinery running. Sometimes it's something I actually heard that day, like the lawnmower after I've mowed part of the acre that I chop down every week. Sometimes it's not identifiable, but I suspect it is something that I actually heard at some point that my brain has stored away. My favorite is hearing the dishwasher run, plates clicking, water swishing, the whole deal…even though I haven't been able to actually hear that for years!

Jump to this post

This is often referred to as an 'earworm'. Look it up on Wikipedia. I have them all the time, but I'm able to rotate the 'stuck songs'. There are 4 of them that come regularly. When I asked about humor, I did not mean being laughed at. As Joyces points out, we do some funny things. We mishear similar words. Try a few sentences with the words wake and lake in them. It is helpful to learn what some of the predictable confusions are. Hey, there's a topic for another discussion. Happy weekend everyone.

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@julieo4

This is often referred to as an 'earworm'. Look it up on Wikipedia. I have them all the time, but I'm able to rotate the 'stuck songs'. There are 4 of them that come regularly. When I asked about humor, I did not mean being laughed at. As Joyces points out, we do some funny things. We mishear similar words. Try a few sentences with the words wake and lake in them. It is helpful to learn what some of the predictable confusions are. Hey, there's a topic for another discussion. Happy weekend everyone.

Jump to this post

I don't ever hear any kind of music, just various machinery, sometimes like standing in a machine shop. Some of the sounds are identifiable, like the sound of the lawnmower or dishwasher, while others are just noise that I can't ID or remember hearing at some specific time in the past.
As well as mishearing some words (and forming amazing conclusions what from you think you heard!), there's the problem of concentrating so hard to understand the words that you immediately forget things like names, dates, etc. I think it's because my brain is so busy working to decode what I hear that it has no ability to store info. At any rate, it's embarrassing to meet someone you met a week earlier and have no memory of their name. If I hear facts during a phone call in my office, I am good about scribbling the name (or whatever), but I often meet people while I'm out working on the big flower bed I maintain along our road, with no way to make notes.
Another thing I've learned is that I'm much more comfortable watching a series, where I "know" the characters and can sort of expect what they'll say or do. Movies, however, are far more difficult, all new territory, so I avoid them. I wonder if others do the same…

REPLY
@joyces

I don't ever hear any kind of music, just various machinery, sometimes like standing in a machine shop. Some of the sounds are identifiable, like the sound of the lawnmower or dishwasher, while others are just noise that I can't ID or remember hearing at some specific time in the past.
As well as mishearing some words (and forming amazing conclusions what from you think you heard!), there's the problem of concentrating so hard to understand the words that you immediately forget things like names, dates, etc. I think it's because my brain is so busy working to decode what I hear that it has no ability to store info. At any rate, it's embarrassing to meet someone you met a week earlier and have no memory of their name. If I hear facts during a phone call in my office, I am good about scribbling the name (or whatever), but I often meet people while I'm out working on the big flower bed I maintain along our road, with no way to make notes.
Another thing I've learned is that I'm much more comfortable watching a series, where I "know" the characters and can sort of expect what they'll say or do. Movies, however, are far more difficult, all new territory, so I avoid them. I wonder if others do the same…

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Wow, Joyce, you just taught me something I can use every day!
My dear husband has both hearing loss and ADD, so processing information is laborious for him. I am going to work very hard to shorten my replies to him, so he does not go past his "absorption quota"
Thank you.
Sue

REPLY
@joyces

I don't ever hear any kind of music, just various machinery, sometimes like standing in a machine shop. Some of the sounds are identifiable, like the sound of the lawnmower or dishwasher, while others are just noise that I can't ID or remember hearing at some specific time in the past.
As well as mishearing some words (and forming amazing conclusions what from you think you heard!), there's the problem of concentrating so hard to understand the words that you immediately forget things like names, dates, etc. I think it's because my brain is so busy working to decode what I hear that it has no ability to store info. At any rate, it's embarrassing to meet someone you met a week earlier and have no memory of their name. If I hear facts during a phone call in my office, I am good about scribbling the name (or whatever), but I often meet people while I'm out working on the big flower bed I maintain along our road, with no way to make notes.
Another thing I've learned is that I'm much more comfortable watching a series, where I "know" the characters and can sort of expect what they'll say or do. Movies, however, are far more difficult, all new territory, so I avoid them. I wonder if others do the same…

Jump to this post

Interesting. Perhaps more music is embedded in some brains than in others. Sounds are what you seem to be hearing; identifiable ones for the most part from past experiences. That can lean a bit towards tinnitus too.

We need to understand that 'auditory fatigue' is very real. We get exhausted from working so hard to hear, especially in challenging situations. When that happens we tune out and take an exit from input and output for a while.That's when others accuse of us not paying attention; not trying, etc. Many people decide to withdraw from social situations because of this. Others work through it.

Although it's not so helpful in group conversation you can use a strategy in one on one situations such a at home communication between spouses. Find a way to get the HH person's attention before starting to speak. My husband often clears his throat while sitting in the living room watching TV when he wants me to listen. For some reason, I can hear that…or have taught myself to hear it knowing that words will follow so I pay attention. (Right now with all the smoke in north central Minnesota from boundary water forest fires, we're both clearing our throats a lot! This too shall pass, thankfully.)

John has mild/moderate hearing loss that finally 'arrived' a year or so ago. I have to laugh because when he wants to hear, the remote for the TV goes on mute. He still hasn't figured out that is a key to my being able to hear him, and has been for years. He doesn't do that when he starts a casual conversation. Then I have to interrupt to ask him to mute the TV and that annoys him as it breaks up the spontaneity. Hearing loss challenges relationship. I say once more that if we don't learn to laugh at some of these things, all we can do is become angry and bitter.

REPLY
@joyces

I don't ever hear any kind of music, just various machinery, sometimes like standing in a machine shop. Some of the sounds are identifiable, like the sound of the lawnmower or dishwasher, while others are just noise that I can't ID or remember hearing at some specific time in the past.
As well as mishearing some words (and forming amazing conclusions what from you think you heard!), there's the problem of concentrating so hard to understand the words that you immediately forget things like names, dates, etc. I think it's because my brain is so busy working to decode what I hear that it has no ability to store info. At any rate, it's embarrassing to meet someone you met a week earlier and have no memory of their name. If I hear facts during a phone call in my office, I am good about scribbling the name (or whatever), but I often meet people while I'm out working on the big flower bed I maintain along our road, with no way to make notes.
Another thing I've learned is that I'm much more comfortable watching a series, where I "know" the characters and can sort of expect what they'll say or do. Movies, however, are far more difficult, all new territory, so I avoid them. I wonder if others do the same…

Jump to this post

I too enjoy watching series TV programs where I know the characters. I do enjoy movies, but only if they are captioned which most are these days. And, with movies I tend to enjoy true stories or historical documentaries because I can relate to many of them historically. 🙂

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@julieo4

I too enjoy watching series TV programs where I know the characters. I do enjoy movies, but only if they are captioned which most are these days. And, with movies I tend to enjoy true stories or historical documentaries because I can relate to many of them historically. 🙂

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In reply to Julie's "…I can relate to many of the historically."
Pretty much like series with stable characters, you have extra knowledge that makes everything easier to understand.

Earlier, you mentioned "auditory fatigue," where we get so exhausted that we simply tune out for a few minutes. I don't know if it's different for me, or if I don't give in and tune out, just keep on trying…at any rate, I lose all ability to retain the details, even when I understand them. Really bad when you need to ask someone to repeat their name, not because they failed to speak clearly, but because you couldn't understand…and then you see them a few days later, and have zero idea of what their name is.

I also have a bad time often with captions, esp. when they lag behind. If I try to watch them (in spite of the words they get wrong), I can't watch the person speaking, so lose the chance to try to understand that way. On live programs, the captions often leave out entire sentences. So, I thought I heard something specific, try to confirm via captions, and find that thought just isn't there. By then, I've lost all continuity. I've tried Live Transcribe during meetings, but by trying to read what appears later and still listen, I miss more than just the straight-on way of piecing together what I see with what I think I've heard. Because I'm a Menierian, I can often hear (esp. with one aid), but making the sound turn into real, useful words is something else. I have both recruitment and distortion and only hear via one ear…

Speaking of funny moments: I have a friend who's also virtually deaf on one side. One day we were walking in a section of city where every block is filled with buildings, the streets cutting through at every block. We both heard a siren, but, because we both only hear via one ear, neither of us had the slightest idea where it might me. We nearly collapsed from laughing when we caught each other whipping our heads around to try to figure out where and what the emergency vehicle was! We've also had some priceless moments where a waiter stands behind you and runs through all today's specials. The person facing the waiter repeats the entire mess to the other person, the one the waiter is standing behind. The look on the waiter's face is extremely funny, at least to us!

REPLY
@joyces

In reply to Julie's "…I can relate to many of the historically."
Pretty much like series with stable characters, you have extra knowledge that makes everything easier to understand.

Earlier, you mentioned "auditory fatigue," where we get so exhausted that we simply tune out for a few minutes. I don't know if it's different for me, or if I don't give in and tune out, just keep on trying…at any rate, I lose all ability to retain the details, even when I understand them. Really bad when you need to ask someone to repeat their name, not because they failed to speak clearly, but because you couldn't understand…and then you see them a few days later, and have zero idea of what their name is.

I also have a bad time often with captions, esp. when they lag behind. If I try to watch them (in spite of the words they get wrong), I can't watch the person speaking, so lose the chance to try to understand that way. On live programs, the captions often leave out entire sentences. So, I thought I heard something specific, try to confirm via captions, and find that thought just isn't there. By then, I've lost all continuity. I've tried Live Transcribe during meetings, but by trying to read what appears later and still listen, I miss more than just the straight-on way of piecing together what I see with what I think I've heard. Because I'm a Menierian, I can often hear (esp. with one aid), but making the sound turn into real, useful words is something else. I have both recruitment and distortion and only hear via one ear…

Speaking of funny moments: I have a friend who's also virtually deaf on one side. One day we were walking in a section of city where every block is filled with buildings, the streets cutting through at every block. We both heard a siren, but, because we both only hear via one ear, neither of us had the slightest idea where it might me. We nearly collapsed from laughing when we caught each other whipping our heads around to try to figure out where and what the emergency vehicle was! We've also had some priceless moments where a waiter stands behind you and runs through all today's specials. The person facing the waiter repeats the entire mess to the other person, the one the waiter is standing behind. The look on the waiter's face is extremely funny, at least to us!

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Being able to laugh about it and talk about it is therapeutic. 🙂

REPLY
@julieo4

Interesting. Perhaps more music is embedded in some brains than in others. Sounds are what you seem to be hearing; identifiable ones for the most part from past experiences. That can lean a bit towards tinnitus too.

We need to understand that 'auditory fatigue' is very real. We get exhausted from working so hard to hear, especially in challenging situations. When that happens we tune out and take an exit from input and output for a while.That's when others accuse of us not paying attention; not trying, etc. Many people decide to withdraw from social situations because of this. Others work through it.

Although it's not so helpful in group conversation you can use a strategy in one on one situations such a at home communication between spouses. Find a way to get the HH person's attention before starting to speak. My husband often clears his throat while sitting in the living room watching TV when he wants me to listen. For some reason, I can hear that…or have taught myself to hear it knowing that words will follow so I pay attention. (Right now with all the smoke in north central Minnesota from boundary water forest fires, we're both clearing our throats a lot! This too shall pass, thankfully.)

John has mild/moderate hearing loss that finally 'arrived' a year or so ago. I have to laugh because when he wants to hear, the remote for the TV goes on mute. He still hasn't figured out that is a key to my being able to hear him, and has been for years. He doesn't do that when he starts a casual conversation. Then I have to interrupt to ask him to mute the TV and that annoys him as it breaks up the spontaneity. Hearing loss challenges relationship. I say once more that if we don't learn to laugh at some of these things, all we can do is become angry and bitter.

Jump to this post

Julie, I too must have the TV, radio or other background muted to hear properly – maybe because of my tinnitus? My husband finds it annoying that I do, even though he too comprehends better that way.

Over time, our friends must all be feeling the same, as "background music" at our gatherings is now either very soft, or completely absent as we all enter our 70's…

As for misunderstanding words – we just spent a couple days with my 7 yo great nephew, who has a speech impediment. That was an auditory workout, even without much hearing loss – especially when he chose me to be the one to practice reading lessons! But he is such an inquisitive and charming boy that we all worked hard to hear his 10,000 questions, even our friend with profound vision and hearing loss.

And one of his questions was about Bob's hearing aids – which he was allowed to examine closely, and which Bob described to him as "helping my ears to hear like your sister's glasses help her eyes to see" – hopefully one more child who won't be squeamish about them.
Sue

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Do true about background noise at social events. It used to be that every one had music going at dinner parties and all social events. Some of my dear friends were sensitive to my hearing issues and turned it down or off. Now they don't have it on at all. I hadn't even thought about it, but now I'm thinking it's not for me…it's for all of us! Hooray! Yep, it's more common as we age, but it affects people of all ages.

Speech defects and dialects are always so hard. It sounds as if your great nephew is working on it. That's good. Schools offer a lot of support now that wasn't there years ago.. I am thankful that my hearing loss didn't start until I was in my 20s after I had developed language. My speech is not affected much although I have had people ask me about 'my accent', so I know there is a slight bit of deaf speech within me. I do quite a bit of public speaking so get a lot of practice.

Kids today shouldn't even look at hearing aids as weird. There are so many people wearing devices in their ears now. Even the Apple Ear Pods are being discussed as 'hearing devices'.. But that crazy stigma needs to be erased. Below is a document that shares some good information about hearing loss…basic stuff. Hoping some may find it worth looking at.
https://www.hearingloss.org/wp-content/uploads/HLAA_DoYouThinkYouHave_Hearing-Loss.pdf?pdf=DoYouThink

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