Kym's classes are wearing her out. She has trouble understanding the teachers, and the assistance she's been given by her school isn't working out for her. At the end of the day, she says, "When I come home at the end of the night. My eyes are tired, my head hurts and I'm frustrated. It is all I can do to flop myself on the bed out of frustration and fatigue." She asks, "Who else feels this way? Are you so tired at the end of the day from 'watching' that you just want to close your eyes and shut the world out? Do you rip off your hearing aids and put them away, hoping to not have to wear them anymore?"
I do indeed sympathize with Kym and I think a lot of us do. Actually, I bet even hearing people do, and I think, in a way, the ability of people who wear hearing devices to "shut out" the hearing world can actually be a positive. A hearing person who is overwhelmed by the world, by demands on their day and loud coworkers, can't do much besides put some earplugs in and close their eyes.
I know a few deaf people who have told me that they regularly take out their aids, or decide not to wear them, or go long stretches of time without them. I can understand the motives behind it, but I never even considered it an option before I started this blog. Go without hearing aids? What would I do? People would expect me to hear. I wouldn't be able to hear the television. I wouldn't be able to carry on a conversation. I rely on my aids so much, and I never realized quite how much.
There were many times growing up, and even right now, that I do get tired of "watching," as Kym says. Keeping an eagle eye on everything happening. Feeling like I'm out of step, missing something. Wondering if everybody is having trouble hearing someone, or it's just me. Missing jokes. However, my first response isn't to take out my aids, it's to seek stress relief in other places - venting to my husband, reading, eating a piece of chocolate, or going somewhere relaxing (I can't wait to make a trip down to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, which is the one place guaranteed to relax me).
Sometimes it feels like I never get any quiet. Go anywhere, and there's noise. Air conditioners humming. People doing construction or repair work. People talking. Cars driving by. Sometimes I wonder how hearing people can function with noise all day and not go crazy. Occasionally I see mention of "our noisy world" in the newspapers, but for the most part, people simply go throughout their day, tuning out the background noise.