What You Can’t See Can be Scary!

I have had “my ears out” for the majority of the day so far, as I’ve been grading sign language presentations for two of my classes. (It drives my kids nuts sometimes, when they know I need only to clip my CI on, and stick my hearing aid in to hear “semi-normally”). I tape my student’s presentations, thanks to the help of my daughter and “teacher’s aide”.
kp-crop.jpg I have no idea what I will do without her next year! (sniff!)

I watch the videos of my student’s presentations “deaf”. It gives me a better picture of how a culturally Deaf person might see and understand the presentation given. It takes me about 30 minutes to grade a SL1 presentation, about a hour to grade a SL2 presentation, and about 2 hours to grade a SL3 presentation. I watch them over and over again… looking for different things. It’s amazing what I pick up not being able to “hear”. At the very end, I put my “ears on” (cochlear implant on the left, and hearing aid on the right) and watch the presentation one last time. My students would be a little disgruntled to learn that sometimes this is where points come off! “Hearing” their presentation while “watching” as well, allows certain mistakes or “wobbles” to be discovered. I’m sure they’d appreciate it if I only graded “deaf”!

Today in the backyard I was giving Chloe, my hearing assistance dog, some “down time”. I had my “ears in”, and so I do hear some of what she hears with those wonderful ears. However, I’m amazed at what I still miss. For one thing, she hears with BOTH ears. I have difficulty discerning “where” a sound is coming from as I really only hear through my implant on the left side. Imagine my surprise, when Chloe stopped dead in her tracks and started circling a spot on the ground and barking! I came closer and said, “What is it, Chloe… show me!” This is Chloe’s clue to point, or take me to a sound I can’t identify. She didn’t move! She kept growling, barking and circling a spot on the ground. I got down on my knees in order to get a closer look and really used my eyes to check out what she’d found. Chloe came over and sat right next to me, and I was astonished to feel her shaking. She was very upset! As something very obviously had her rattled, and bolted back into the house as Chloe stood “guard” over the spot.

A quick shriek, “Come quick!” had both my teens at my side almost instantly. I asked Chloe to “show me again”, and she again circled the same spot, growled and barked. The kids told me that it was a bark that definitely said, “I’m afraid”. Her trembling clued me in to that, so I certainly didn’t doubt their word.

We never did discover what it was! What you can’t see can be scary! Perhaps it was a vole? We just don’t know! It was obviously something Chloe could hear, as those wonderful ears would suddenly perk up and she’d growl and stare. (The thought that I may have a vole in my yard just makes me incredibly happy! NOT!) vole.jpg

Kyersten must not have been as rattled as I as she put her “naked dog” (Chinese crested), Pegasus, in his exercise pen for a suntan this afternoon. Who knows what voles eat?

peg3crop.jpg Apparently not “Peg”, as he is still sunning himself outside.

You know? Many things that we cannot see can be scary! Deafness isn’t something you can see. One of my kiddos works in a small retail store and have noted more than once, the look of apprehension on co-workers or other customer’s faces when it is discovered a customer is Deaf. The person “looks” normal, and it isn’t until communication takes place that differences are readily apparent. I’m very glad my kids know some sign so that they can make the Deaf feel comfortable! What people with normal hearing do not realize, is that Deaf people can do everything except… hear!

SIDE NOTE: For those of you who may be new to my blog, Deaf with a capital “D” denotes those who are culturally Deaf and use ASL to communicate. Deaf with a small “d” (deaf) are those who are oral and use their voices to communicate, but they cannot hear.

There are many disabilities that are invisible; deafness is only one. I got a little “grief” from some of my extended family for choosing to get a working dog to help me. My acquired disability was invisible to others! Why on earth would I want to make something “invisible”, visible? (I’ll save that for another post!)

What we don’t understand… things that may unnerve us? Things that scare us, may be nothing more than a cute little vole! (Actually I hope my daughter doesn’t read this as she may go out… unearth the vole and adopt it!) It would be great if all of us would learn to pay attention to things using all of our senses. God has given us intuitions and gifts that are not necessarily included in what our 5 senses pick up either! Take the time to “pay attention”. What you cannot see may be scary, but what you can hear, feel, taste, empathize with, discover and enjoy may be a … well? A vole!vole2.jpg

Denise Portis
©2008 Hearing Loss Diary

6 thoughts on “What You Can’t See Can be Scary!

  1. Nonsense. You never take bad pictures. Well… ok I have some of you from this school year with your tongue out at me. Those weren’t good. Smile


  2. I’m interested in that – I never thought of dogs for the deaf till I saw it mentioned somewhere – it was a new idea to me but interesting!

    I suspect the apprehension people feel has quite a lot to do with how they will look to other people – they don’t know how to handle it, but it’s important to them that they look as though they know what they’re doing and haven’t put their foot in it in some way. I’m very deaf but I still feel that fear… can never escape from it. 🙂

  3. 90% sure it’s a vole! She went to the same place this morning and spent some time sniffing around but no barking and growling. She was still shaking though!

    Mrs. P

  4. Ohh WOW. I’ll have to look up what a vole is. Cause quite frankly I don’t remember.

    P.S. Is daughter going to post more? She had great thoughts on Different subjects.

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