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Unread 10-24-2009, 11:26 AM   #1
C-NICE
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Lightbulb Functionally Deaf

My 'Near Deaf' Experience | Healthy Hearing

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Unread 10-26-2009, 11:01 PM   #2
sr171soars
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Good article. I can very much relate with what he said.
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Unread 10-27-2009, 12:00 AM   #3
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Of course, the first impact of the hearing loss was the fact that I could no longer communicate easily with my wife. She became quite skilled at charades, at devising all kinds of non-verbal gesture to transmit messages, while I found that my speechreading skills improved (from maybe 10% of a limited conversation to about 20%). We also brushed up on our rudimentary fingerspelling skills. One letter at a time and I would guess whether it was a "p" or a "k", or whatever (with only 26 choices, I eventually got it right!). My wife is wonderfully patient and my difficulties in communicating with her, while frustrating, did not surprise me. I expected that kind of obstacle.
I can understand 80% of what my dad says without HAs just by lipreading. Anyone who speaks clearly, I can understand over 60% unaided and around 80% aided by reading lips. I can communicate with others by writing or typing. I used to pass notes back and forth when I was in school.

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All "little" things. All quite predictable. None which would be a surprise to deaf people and to which I thought I had developed a good empathetic understanding. But as this little things added up week by week, I got an inkling, not just an intellectual inkling, but a gut inkling, of what late deafened people go through day by day. Not being able to send a fax because I couldn't hear the fax sound; not answering or using the telephones; having my wife call ahead to the dentist and to my doctor explaining my condition and why they had to be sure to take extra care in communicating with me. (My dentist, God bless him, in preparation for a root canal procedure, prepared a bunch of notes to communicate with me on the various stages of the procedure). Even though I once edited a book on the topic, I have become an even more impassioned advocate of the necessity for various kinds of assistive devices, like TTY's, captioned TV, fax machines that provide a visual signal of a connection, doorknockers and doorbell lights, motion detectors, and so on. I feel more than ever that these are necessities - not luxuries - in the life of a deaf person.
I am thankful for CC on TV, I remember how frustrating it was when I was little before the days of CC. My dad gave me a summary of what went on in the movie during commercial. I never have been able to use phones, my dad does the listening for me.

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I'm sure that if my condition were a permanent one, I would adapt. I would have to. I would structure my life around the inability to hear, to being a late deafened person, and get on with it. But my life wouldn't be the same, it couldn't. Achieving some sort of equilibrium would necessitate a lot more restructuring than I would have thought necessary before this experience, and entail much more feeling of loss and isolation. I'm thankful that I don't have to make this adjustment. I can unhesitatingly attest to the vast difference between being functionally hard of hearing and being functionally deaf.
Isn't he already severely deaf with an 85-95db HL? But yea he could consider CI if he lost all his residual hearing. I know I would.

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Times are different now. Years ago, when as a clinician I saw somebody who developed total deafness later on in life, we couldn't do much but "counsel". Which meant suggesting that he/she learn to lip-read or learn sign language (which required the concurrent participation of close relatives and friends - not usually realistic). We didn't have TTY's, captioned TV, or visual alerting systems. We have them now, plus the cochlear implant. One lesson that I personally take from my "Near Deaf" experience is not just that I don't like it and that it is much more devastating than I would have predicted, but now that there is another choice that can be made - a cochlear implant - I would not delay in selecting this option. Not only would I make this decision personally, but I would counsel any late deafened person to seriously consider the same option.
Im great at lipreading and use it all the time. Without being able to see the lips or if the person doesn't speak clearly, I don't understand much. I agree with his choice for CI if he lost his hearing, id do the same myself.
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My reasons for choosing stem cells over CI are numerous. Many thousands have gotten stem cells for all conditions with 90% success rate. I have emailed/contacted stem cell centers, read articles, did my research and know the facts. Chloe got such good results she can hear well without HAs! My hearing loss is the same in both ears. Recent audiogram: 125Hz=55db, 250Hz=70db, 500Hz=90db, 750Hz=110db, 1000Hz-8000Hz=NR at 110db. I discuss my deafness and stem cells in my blog
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