I thought that when I had the privilege of experiencing this, it would be a once-in-a-lifetime peek into what sound was like for Girl Child.
I’m thrilled to report that I was wrong.
In our current round of frustrations, trying to get certain individuals to understand how Girl Child experiences sound in the world, how that may affect her at school, and the effect on her interpersonal relationships, I stumbled on something absolutely astounding. I found it in the App Store.
The Starkey Laboratories Hearing Loss Simulator. It’s an app for the iPad that simulates different types of hearing loss based on severity (mild, moderate, severe) and type (frequency, range, etc.) If you have an audiogram, you simply compare the audiogram to the different presets they have, and it will simulate the sounds for you. For $1.99, I’d say it’s worth more than every single cent.
I’m thrilled beyond belief to now have the portable ability to simulate her particular hearing loss. To be able to bring this to her Village Of School Professionals meetings, and say, “check this out” is a miracle to me. SubHub and I can now hear the way she hears and help the people around her understand what living with hearing loss is like.
One of the difficulties with one-sided hearing loss is trying to have people understand it. Hearing fully out of one ear doesn’t make up for the loss on the other side. Imagine your brain always trying to compensate for what’s happening with one side. Imagine always trying to catch what other people are saying, missing pieces or words, and not fully understanding what’s happening when there’s noise all around you and you can’t filter out what’s noise you NEED, versus noise you don’t. If someone says to you, “Did you hear me?” how can a person who didn’t hear everything quantify what they did and didn’t hear? Were you counting words? If you didn’t hear it, how would you know?
Now I can help people hear what she hears. If I can do that, perhaps that person will think about what hearing loss must feel like and sound like the next time they meet someone with a hearing loss. And then, just maybe, I will have done something, albeit small, to spread empathy and understanding someplace in a world that so desperately needs it.