I’ve spent the past couple weeks visiting out of state family and friends I don’t often see. Often when visiting people, they like to take you around to see the sites. We did a lot of site-seeing this time as usual. Whenever we go somewhere that offers a short, non-captioned film clip, or tape recorded presentation, a play, a non-captioned movie, etc. . . I find myself in the awkward position of having to turn it down, with family and/or friends pressing me to at least ‘try’ to listen because they think I just might be able to hear this time. Fat chance with a progressive hearing loss. My hearing is worse now than it was six months ago.
Recently, it was like this–
We stopped at a nature museum where there was a short non-captioned film. I knew it wasn’t captioned because I asked. I have not been able hear non-captioned films for years. There’s no point in watching. EVER. But I didn’t complain. I was happy to browse the museum while others watched the film. There was a nice little hands-on display with colorful cards that explained the items. I wanted to look through that display while the others watched the film. However, one person kept pressing me to come ‘watch the film.’
Me–“No thanks, it’s not captioned. You go ahead. I’ll be fine here.”
D–“Why don’t you just try??”
Me–“Because I won’t hear it.”
D–“How do you know?”
Me–“I haven’t heard anything on film in years.”
(If this had been the first time I’d ever explained it to this person, maybe I would have understood the pressing, but we went through it all last year at another museum where I stupidly got talked into viewing a non-captioned film I knew I wouldn’t understand. ARGGHH)
After the film, he wouldn’t let up.
D–“That was a great film. You should have watched it. I bet you would have understood his voice. It’s just like mine!”
Me–“It’s OK, I was fine here.”
D–“I got so much information out of it. I’m sure you would have understood! Why didn’t you watch it?”
Me–“Because I’m sure I wouldn’t have understood.”
D–“Even if his voice was exactly like mine?”
Me–“I’m pretty sure his voice wasn’t exactly like yours.”
The guy kept pressing and pressing, telling me how much I might have learned and how great the film was. I countered with information I had learned from the display, and how satisfied I was with my choice not to view the film.
D–“Why do you think you wouldn’t understand his voice if it was exactly like mine?”
Me–“Do you want the long or short explanation?” (I’m pretty sure we’ve been over this at least ten times– AT LEAST! He’ll never understand. . .) But I explain AGAIN. . .First of all, your voice and lips are familiar to me. Secondly most films have a lot of voice-overs so I never see the face to lip read. Thirdly, even if YOU were speaking on film, I wouldn’t understand because voices end up in a higher frequency range over microphones and sound systems. It’s not detectable to YOU, but I wouldn’t hear it. I hear live sound best, especially when I can lip read and ask for repeats.
“I’m sure you would have understood the guy in the movie. . .,” he says, “. . .besides, you really didn’t need to hear anything. It was mostly pictures.”
On and on he pressed until I yelled, “ENOUGH!”
Two days later went to yet another exhibit. This time there was one of those taped tours on an MP3 with a man’s voice in a little box telling you what you’re viewing. I passed on the MP3. The same guy from the museum who wanted me to watch the film now wanted me to try to listen to the MP3. He was “pretty sure” I’d hear it. “It’s LOUD,” he explained. We’ve been through this before too. Loud doesn’t equal understanding. Six months ago, while viewing an art museum with this same guy, I couldn’t hear the MP3 guided tour. He knew I couldn’t hear it because I told him and gave back the MP3. I haven’t been able to hear any talking on tape, cd or MP3 for years. Most museums have things you can read. I get more out of reading than listening. I’m happy to read and look. I’m very visual.
But the guy pestered me again to TRY to listen to the MP3.
I finally blew. “WILL YOU LAY OFF THE FRICKIN’ MP3 ALREADY?!”
This is why I sometimes prefer people who can’t hear over people who can. I understand family and friends love me and want to spend time enjoying something with me. I just wish they’d let me enjoy it my way. Straining to hear is NOT my idea of fun.