A Hearing Loss & Late Deafened Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Employment’

Selective Hearing

In Hearing Loss, Life, Miscellaneous Ramblings, Relationships on April 27, 2014 at 7:23 pm

selective listening

By: Sara Lundquist

I thought we would all appreciate a little humor in our lives at time to time.  I need to share this little funny experience our family had lately.  My family contains myself, the mom, I have moderate hearing loss and try to keep our household in order.  My husband is a welder that has worked in an industrial setting for more than 20 years.  I have a soon 11 year old daughter that loves to roll her eyes at her mom.  Last but not least a 5 year old son that has a mild hearing loss.

My husband’s employer tests everyones hearing once a year.  A big semi comes to the plant and parks outside and you are assigned a time to go in the booth.  Well this past year my husbands hearing seemed to drop way down.  I was shocked and so was he.  We kept looking to see what last year and this years audiogram and I couldn’t believe the drop.  I didn’t think he seemed to have a hearing loss.  Maybe I am not the best judge but he doesn’t ask for things to be repeated too often.  He has the tv volume much lower than I do.  So we had to wait till he could get into the doctor and they do a more comprehensive test.

I had  a lot of worry over that time period.  I am wondering would he need hearing aids.  How are we going to afford this.  They are not cheap at all and just forked out money for this item.  I was thinking of my son who we were doing his new IEP at the time and we were putting in things like using the FM system and sitting in a certain part of the room.  My mind was on overdrive and this just seemed to pull me over.

Well the day came and my husband had to go in.  He came home with a huge smile on his face and this is what they found…..He had fallen asleep in his first test.  Can you believe that, he fell asleep.  He just says well I went to work at 4:30am I was tired and that booth in the truck was so quiet and warm, and a nice chair.  He fell asleep, his hearing is fine.  I just had to laugh.  Sometimes that is all you can do is shake your head and laugh.

Meet Mary McQueen and Luigi

In audiogram, Deafness, Hearing aids, Hearing Loss, internet videos on April 9, 2013 at 4:12 am

Editor’s Note:  A cookie bite hearing loss is a less common, generally hereditary, mid-frequency loss, thus named because of how it looks on the audiogram — like a cookie with a bite taken out of it; see audiogram below.  Poor speech discrimination is characteristic of this type of hearing loss.  

When my genetic “cookie bite” hearing loss worsened to the point I could no longer discriminate enough speech to get by, my mind conjured doors and windows closing.  I think we who dwell between hearing and deaf can be gravely disadvantaged in the workplace, never mind all the other places.  I think we should band together somehow for employment.  I’ve been a SWC member for months and have read a depressing number of posts from members trying to cope with exhausting and inappropriate phone work or note taking for their jobs.  I was recently on a medical leave because of the stress of not being able to tell what my boss was saying.  I have no idea how successful self-help organizations are achieved but to me the best scenario is being our own bosses.

My job title is administrative assistant.  I hate clerical work.  The pay sucks. And because I can no longer tell what people are saying in job interviews, I’m worried about being stuck in my pink ghetto job forever.  I’m only 50.  My deafness feels like a nail in the coffin.

However, I didn’t end up in the ghetto in the first place because I’m deaf—I had a misspent and extended (yet entertaining) youth doing stuff like being in an all-girl punk band that never performed because we couldn’t play instruments yet made appearances and trashed hotel rooms (then cleaned them up); child bride/child divorcee; infamous party hostess in 1980’s Vancouver; Canadian hillbilly squatting in a shack on a remote island; private investigator who never earned enough to pay rent and eat at the same time; yearlong guest in a Benedictine monastery doing manual labor for room and board etc.  Then I was suddenly 40 and turned to office work to keep a roof over my head.  Age narrows the scope of occupation possibilities.  This is natural.  Being a Bohemian hillbilly in a shack working at odd jobs is adorable at 26.  At 50 it’s crazy lady, plus how would one finance the life in middle age?

Suitable training choices are narrowed by deafness.  For example, one friend said, “you would have made a good nurse; why don’t you go back to school?”  I thought, yes, that will go over well with the doctors when I have no idea what they are saying no matter how many hearing aids are coming out of my ears or FM assistive listening gadgets are hanging around my neck.

“…15 mg of haloperidol!” barked the emergency room doctor.  Nurse Mary asked, “was that ONE FIVE or FIVE ZERO?”  “GET ME SOMEONE WHO CAN HEAR!” screamed the doctor, glaring at Mary and pointing a bony finger at the door as the psychotic patient whirled like a dervish in the opposite direction heading down the hall towards the cafeteria.

My goal now is to learn how to make enough money as a working artist and leave the hard of hearing and clerical stress of the workplace behind.  Meet Luigi the Lovebird… he’s the yellow guy shredding my audiogram.

luigi and audiogram one

Luigi shredding Mary’s audiogram. 

Luigi’s mission and vocation is to shred paper into perfect strips.  Don’t leave money or library books lying around is all I can say because Luigi is free range and home alone, without supervision, much of the time.

Because I have a strong creative drive, a few years ago I got the idea to make collages with the paper he cut with his beak and turn art prints of the originals into greeting cards in my home studio and aviary.  Mostly aviary.  I live inside an aviary basically.

We are the first generation of inter-species folk artists!  Here is the link to a captioned video featuring Luigi shredding:


Luigi is so inspirational that a grade 6 art class who heard about him did their own shred collages!  We visited the class and saw the student masterpieces.  Luigi tried to shred one of them.

 luigi visits grade six class (1280x959)

 Mary and Luigi Visiting a Grade Six Art Class

If the horrible stress caused by poor speech discrimination in the workplace and the fear of being trapped in the pink ghetto makes me finally find a way to earn my living as a full time creative then I will say thank God I was bitten with the cookie bite hearing loss at birth.

Note:  Since this writing, Mary and Luigi have appeared on Dragons’ Den, a Canadian television reality show in which aspiring entrepreneurs pitch business ideas to a panel of venture capitalists in the hopes of securing business financing.  You can see a captioned video of their appearance here:


Mary is a 50 year old free spirit, raised in Vancouver BC with 2 sisters who were also bitten before birth by this crazy genetic cookie.  She wears hearing aids and, depending on the speaker, uses an FM Assistive Listening system in the workplace.  As mentioned above, Mary currently lives inside a free range aviary with her muse Luigi and a second bird named Binky, in Victoria BC.  She is happy to have found SWC, and we are happy to have her.  To see more of Luigi’s shredding technique, go here: 


Disclaimer:  By providing links and/or references to other websites, the SayWhatCub in no way implies endorsement of the website content, operator or administrator, information, materials, products and/or services for sale.


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