Friday, 1 April 2016

Putting a Pause on a Conversation

Foreword: as I write this I have missed my opportunity to actually write up an April Fool's post. Seems planting jokes on this auspicious day expires at noon!

In this household, changing hearing aid/cochlear implant batteries is like second nature to our daughter.

Me: "Hold on, my batteries are dead, can we pause our conversation? I need to change them"

Rachel: (nods her head)

Me: "Ah! Now that's better - let's play our conversation again"

***Rachel resumes whatever she was saying... amazingly enough she's pretty patient for a 2-year old (sometimes)*** Plus, it helps that she understands that when we pause, it means the conversation isn't quite over. 

For most parents, this scene will never occur. At least, not on a 2 or 3 day rotation. Whenever we have houseguests that aren't hard of hearing, this can lead to an awkward pause on conversations for them. Not for me, as I'm used to just announcing to everyone that I can't hear and if they would PLEASE hold their thoughts momentarily. Though there are occasions when I just get up and leave the room to find a new set of batteries with no warning. Hmph. Old habits die hard.

They say that pausing on conversations ruin the 'mood'. Not in my opinion. It's the people that ruin the mood if they can't put themselves in the other person's shoes.  It does take a lot of self esteem and guts on our part to self-advocate. It takes lots of practice. There is no right or wrong way to speak up, though a dash of politeness is always encouraged.

I will admit though that when I was younger, this was much harder for me to do. Especially when entering new surroundings, like a new school (where I had no friends), a workplace, or any other kind of gathering. You'd be surprised how much people are willing to accommodate, and you'd also be surprised how much you'd have to REMIND people... they often get so used to you that they actually forget that they need to pause. 

Given my conversations with so many deaf and hard of hearing people, it can be the hardest to advocate within the family. True story. My husband and I have experienced it with extended family members (don't worry, we still love them), and sometimes with close friends who just forget that I have a hearing loss. It's so easy to think that hearing runs on a 24/7 battery, when for us it isn't the case.

Good news though, at my recent Cochlear Implant checkup, I scored a rechargeable battery for free! Though this will mean I have to be sure to actually charge it at night... could this mean that I'm on my way to a zero-waste battery policy?
The current disposable batteries that I use - about $5 a pack (photo from It usually takes me about a week to go through one.

The new, rechargeable battery I have (photo from Just this one battery costs about $230 CDN! However, it has so many charges and it works out to be the same cost long term as disposables (and more environmentally friendly)... another perfect gift to give to a Cochlear Implant user!





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