My ears are mouldy.
Or were moulded, anyway.
I slipped down to the Canadian Hearing Society’s offices on Thames Street Thursday to get fitted for earpieces. I’m taking part in the “Hard of Hearing for a Day” event May 15 where a number of us will wear fitted earpieces that seriously cut back our hearing.
The CHS, along with the Accessibility Committee of Chatham-Kent, is organizing the event, which is part of Speech and Hearing Awareness Month.
Julia Lozon, a hearing care counselor with the CHS, said the earplugs will let participants see what it’s like for folks who have experienced hearing loss to go through a typical day.
It was odd indeed. CHS staff gently pushed a sponge into each ear and then injected quick-drying putty.
It drastically reduced my hearing, and gave me a taste of what it will be like May 15. I could still hear, but at a greatly reduced volume. There was no background noise in the office, so I can only imagine how that will make it much harder to hear conversations.
The putty dried in just a few minutes. It felt good to have it removed. I’m told the earpieces will be smaller and lighter. But they’ll cut my hearing just the same.
I’m curious to see how I will fare on May 15. I think my hearing was impacted somewhat when I listened to loud music as a teen and saw some pretty loud concerts in my youth. I quite often ask people to repeat themselves as it is. When I have the earpieces in place, it should be quite a challenge for me.
My late father-in-law used a hearing aid. One of the women in the office has one, and she’s younger than me. I hope to get a feel for what it’s like to have to deal with a hearing impairment, and spend a day in their shoes, so to speak.
I will post to Facebook and Twitter during that day, and plan to write a column detailing my experiences for the following week’s paper.
I wonder how long I can last with the earpieces in place. Will their foreign feel drive me to yank them out? Will it be due to the inability to hear other people? Or will the frustration of the people I encounter ultimately lead to me pulling them out?