What I use to help me as a deaf person

6th to the 12th May 2019 is Deaf Awareness Week.

Today’s post is about the equipment I use to help me as a deaf person:

My Phonak SP hearing aids

Hearing aids will never give back my normal hearing, but they do assist. I would be worser off without my hearing aids, than hearing with them.
I still rely on lipreading, even though I am wearing them. So I do need to see your face clearly. No covering of your mouth as you talk, otherwise I will have to politely request you to move your hand away and for you to repeat what you just said. I shared a link here, about Communication Tips.

Flashing doorbell

My flashing doorbell is loud, but I have it set so it flashes too. (Pictured above.) It is portable, so when I used to live in a house, I would take it to every room in the house. Including my bedroom.
Now I live in a flat, it stays in one room, which is the living room mainly. But if I was in the kitchen for a while and the washer is on, then I would take it with me, to be sure I won’t miss anyone at the door. But I don’t take it to the bedroom now, as so my sleep is not disturbed.

Vibrating clock

My bedside clock (as pictured above) can be set with a loud ring, vibration, or a combination of the two. I just set mine on vibrating as so I don’t disturb neighbours with the decibels of this clock.
The vibrating bad goes under my pillow and you definitely won’t sleep in with this one. The vibrating clock I have is a Sonic Bomb, by Sonic Alert alarm clock.

If it’s not changed in my area, you could get a bedside vibrating clock from Social Services. But I am happy to continue buying my own clock.

Fire alert (pictured above)

I have to admit that since moving in my flat, I do not have this set up and I don’t plan to now, until in my new flat. I know this puts me at a huge risk, because I do not hear fire alarms, with, or without hearing aids. This is a risk I am taking, I know.
My fire alert is a Silent Alert SignWave Portable Receiver, which came with my smoke alarms. It’s a wireless signal and in the day my alerter is easily portable.
Should there ever be a fire in the day it would make a noise, as well as flash and the fire icon would flash to show it is a fire for the reason it is going off.
At night, it goes on a charger and I have a vibrating pad connected to this which would go under my mattress.
If it was to go off at night, it would flash and ring out as in the day, but also the pad would vibrate too. The vibrating pad is strong. Even under the mattress.

This same alerter can be connected to other things, but being an old unit, you can’t seem to get other things available widely.
One time, years ago when I had a landline phone, I had an attachment that was connected to my phone line and if the phone rang, my unit would alert me, by flashing and making a noise. Before even looking at the unit to see the phone display flashing, you would know, because the alert would be a different tone, of an old fashioned phone ringing.
I had this unit arranged by the Social Services, who contacted the department in the fire services to provide fire alarms and alerter. Social Services provided the device for my phone line and one time a door push, so it was a doorbell too. But the doorpush wasn’t great and so this is why I have my own set up.

Vibrating travel clock

When on holiday, I take my Sonic Alert vibrating travel clock with me, as pictured above. It can be set to alert, or vibrate, or combination of both. I don’t hear the ring, so I only use the vibrating option. The display folds down flat and it goes inside my pillowcase.
This is a very good vibrating clock, so there is no lying in with this one.
There is a light on this clock, if you require to see the time in the dark, but I always have my mobile phone near for that part.

As well as these, I use email like anyone else, the difference for me is, that this is my preferred communication over a phone, as I cannot understand well over the phone for a conversation. Not even my mum.

I also like to text and is equally my preferred communication, as email is.

When text, or email is not available to me, then face-to-face is another way to communicate with me. With the hearing I have left and the hearing aids I wear, I also lipread and I do use fingerspelling letters of the alphabet.
I did a post on Communication Tips earlier this week, that gives tips to help people like me, hear you. These tips work very well with me, so do refer back to that, so you can help keep someone like me involved in conversations.

That’s my last post as part of Deaf Awareness Week and this year. As it is the first time I have gave you more insight into my life and as part of Deaf Awareness Week, I hope you have learnt more about me and the topics in general, that I shared this week.

British Sign Language

6th to the 12th May 2019 is Deaf Awareness Week.

Yesterday, I talked about Communication Tips. Today, it’s about British Sign Language. I am no expert at this, so I share a link below that will take you to a page on Action on Hearing Loss and where you can learn more about it there.

Learn more about British Sign Language, at Action on Hearing Loss.

What I can share though is misconception that people assume I use sign language because I am deaf. I don’t. I have tried to learn it, but because there was no one to practice with, meant I could not keep it up and remember. Even some small parts I remembered well are now slipping, because it’s not used.

What I do remember though, is fingerspelling the alphabet. I learnt this before I became deaf. No one uses it around me though, including my mum. But if they did, by fingerspelling the first letter of that word I am struggling with, while repeating the word, it would help me.

You are not a burden

Depending on your circumstances, you may feel a burden to others. This could be because of a mental health, or physical health issue.

But you are not a burden.

My mum doesn’t want to be a burden. She had expressed this to me and staff members. But hopefully, by listening to me and the staff members on the ward where she is, that my mum realises that she won’t be.

From what mum told me recently, a staff member that had spoken to her, to put a long conversation short, she said, “… Mum was there for me and now it was time for me to be there for her…”

I said to mum, “By being with me, I won’t worry as much as I would have, if you were still living on your own.
I need you close to know you are ok. To support you when required, while you continue to be as independent as possible.
I want you to feel safe.”

I have had a couple say that it’s a big then by getting my mum to live with me. I am in no way offended by that comment. But when I was told by A&E staff that my mum was very unwell and to be prepared I could lose her, this decision of me and mum to live together was not a hard decision to make. In fact I did not need to think about it.

If my mum one day has to go back to her bungalow, before the time comes to us living together, I will be feeling very uneasy. I will be scared that my mum could do it again.
Mum has promised she won’t take an overdose again, because she knows how much it has hurt me. My mum can see how much it has hurt me. But the mental health team, like me, as they talk to her, need to know that when it gets difficult again, that she doesn’t try it again. There will be more talking by the different mental health team members in some way, while her medication is adjusted. The mental health team can see my mum will be better with me, then on her own. Mum has admitted that going back to her bungalow, she is not thrilled on, even though one point my mum wasn’t thrilled about staying in, after admitting her overdose.

When a family member wants to help some way, or for you to live with them for what ever reason. You are not a burden.

You may be reading this and in a position yourself where a family member has asked you to live with them and you are thinking you don’t want to be a burden to them. I would like to say that you would not be a burden, because you will be a much-loved family member. To them, you gave them support. You were there in their time of difficulties. You gave them joy and so all they want is to support you and help you in what ever way.

You are not a burden.

 

Related posts:

Getting glowful again

I used to own the Sonic boom analogue clock and I absolutely loved it, because I could switch off the back-lit display and not see it clock in the dark. But now, it’s getting glowful again. My analogue clock failed to wake me up. The clock ticks, but after a couple of goes, it’s clear the clock will not go off at my chosen alarm. From giving it a go, it is clear it’s the alarm part button, or the part I turn to set my chosen time I want to get up at, as it is hit and miss when I play with it trying to get it to go off. The clock just won’t go off, so in the bin it had to go.
It’s a good job I still had my previous clock, as I need to get up early on Saturday. But it means now my nights will be glowful again, as you can tell in the photo. The clock, you can’t dim anymore than it looks already and with me having my Silent alert, (green glow in the background,) which has to be here, because while it is on the charger the vibrating pad is under my mattress, that will wake me up in event of a fire it’s now makes my dark nights, lighter. Which I hate. I doubt I will get this analogue clock one again, because I don’t want the same risk happening again. This clock has not been good long term, compared to previous couple of models that were still ok and I had passed on, when I wanted a change of clock.
When it was just my Silent alert glowing, while using my analougue clock, I got used to the dim of just that one, but the clock, it glows. But I am going to have to stick with this, because I am not buying another now for some time, or when this one is ready for the knackers yard.

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Recent thoughts

I have only spoken out loud to one person, (my mum) about what I am about to say now here and that I have been doing some thinking of moving to Derby one day. This is because unlike where I currently live, should I apply for a disabled bus pass in the future, the process is simple and it costs nothing. But it is not just because of that, also I have felt and wondered by just going to another area, just for that feeling of a complete fresh start. Anxiety has held me back many times in the past though.
As a deaf blogger one time, when I talked about the application I filled in and the difficulties with it because on the form it does not allow my audiologist to fill it in and so I have to go to my doctor which results in paying him the time to fill in the appropriate part of the form to prove my hearing loss. The trouble is, my doctor does not have my up-to-date hearing loss details, because at the end of the day it is my audiologist I see. Many of my deaf friends and deaf readers when I  used to write my deaf blog, who lived in other areas, informed me that the process I have to go through to prove my hearing loss, it doesn’t happen where they live. One blogger, contacted me personally and said where he lives, it used to happen and advised me who to contact to challenge them, as he did and he got it changed.
Many years later, I decided to do what I was advised, talking to a fresh-faced person about the matter and feeling confident something would get done. This was last year, back in March. Earlier this year, I emailed for an update and since voted that person in. But I have heard nothing. What was the point in me voting if you are like everyone else and don’t care? That’s what it feels like as I am kept in the dark. I feel ignored, which was also what I added in another email recently and waiting to hear.
As it is the General Election today, I won’t be voting who I was originally voting for, that this party recommended, as I will vote for someone who did help me one time on a different matter.

On the same disability matter regarding my hearing loss at work, I am coming across some same issues that I get every year. Now although nothing has been said verbal yet, fresh papers have gone up regarding certain training and my name is on them even though I have done them online, where I am allowed to do them. But as my name keeps coming up regardless, I won’t be surprised if they ignore the conversation and try it again and so I have contacted the same person at work who helped me before. I hope to hear from her later when she is back.

Those that know me well will know that I hate coming to work as it fills me with anxiety and dread. When I am out into another job, it won’t come quick enough, which comes to my next topic in this post. I have seen a cleaning job of 32 hours per week and although nights is not something I really wanted to do again, there is nothing stopping me and I cannot stop thinking about it, so I have applied. Wish me luck. 🙂

On the subject of moving to possibly moving somewhere new, are there readers here that have done it? I am particular interested in those who live on their own like me and have done this.

The way I am

Anxiety has been there for most of my life because of never feeling like I fit in, or belong anywhere. This feeling, along with being made to feel different started when I was in Junior School. No one wanted me on their team, but obviously I would have to end up on someones team. Even when I shown how good I was at non-stop cricket one time, which they were stunned, it did not change their views. I still was not wanted. This carried on all through Comprehensive School, but in addition to bullying which was mostly verbal. I only experienced physical a few times to start with, which was just pushing.
Through working life, thankfully not every job I did not feel alone, or not belong. There has only been one area where I was judged before they knew me and where I work currently, there has been (or probably still is) judging when they don’t really know me, because now I don’t speak unless I really have to, due to past issues at work with bullying and other things. But this time I don’t care if they judge. It’s their problem, not mine. The few that know me, only know me because I know they won’t shove it back in my face later, otherwise I keep myself to myself, which pisses off the others, because they have nothing to gossip about.
Through the lovely people I have met along the way personally, they are in my life because they mean something to me.
New friends I made through a place I stopped volunteering at, because no opportunities happened in the months I was there, I try to meet up with them, when I can. A lovely group who I feel comfortable with and who are patient with me because of my hearing loss. But underneath, I still have a little anxiety at times, because that just seems to be me. I am also tired after and can’t wait to go home to re-charge, because of the effort it requires me to lipread. While I am there, when conversation is in full swing, unless someone near to me either side starts a conversation separately with me, then I stay quiet, because I do not know what is going on. I cannot follow group conversations at all.

I will try to travel somewhere new, but just because I do it, does not mean I am always anxiety free. Sometimes anxiety likes to pay a visit and I don’t know why I am having that moment.
If it involves more than two buses to somewhere new and I do not know where to get off, I simply can’t do it, as anxiety-wise, it’s too much.

If I go somewhere that involves a crowd, I get anxiety because of not knowing who they are and I can feel claustrophobic, depending on the crowd and the situation. Putting myself in the same situation, does not make it go away. It never gets any easier.

People have said to me that I look confident, when I have said underneath I don’t feel confident, or have anxiety.

If I am with someone I know, but someone comes up to us because they know the person I am with, I will stand back and let them talk. I tend to find I am quiet because I don’t know them, because I worry about possible communication difficulties I may have. This is just the way I am.

If a random person came up to me in the street, anxiety will be there, because again, I will worry about the communication difficulties I could have, because of communication difficulties I know I have.

You will not find me in a swimming pool, because to do so, I would need to remove my hearing aids. I will not be around people without my hearing aids, because of communication difficulties I would have and my anxiety would be high.

I could easily isolate myself if I allowed, so I don’t have to worry about communication difficulties.
To be ME and remove my hearing aids.
It’s so easy being on my own, to be me and just relax.
To be me without the worry of the communication difficulties, or the worry of being judged before you they fully know me.
To be anxiety-free.

How lovely it would be, to be without anxiety, as it would make my life so much easier. The same if I wasn’t deaf. But that’s the way I am.

For the record, I hate my anxiety and my hearing loss. But I know they will never go away, as much as I want them to.