Hearing the THUMP of Cantaloupe

I went to the grocery store this morning.  I try to go in the morning now that the heat is really intense.  It’s easier on me, and easier on Chloe.  It’s amazing how hot a parking lot can get by noon!  Needless to say, we’ve started running most of our errands in the morning.

Today I was in the produce department awhile.  Two of my favorite fruits are in “season”, and therefore VERY CHEAP.  I love peaches and nectarines!  I saw that cantaloupe was on sale as well, I thought I’d get one as Terry loves it.  I guess he’s a “summer melon” kind of man, as he loves most melons!  He was after all, raised in the South.

I started “thumping” cantaloupe to feel how “hollow sounding” they may be.  You’ll notice that I said “to feel” how ripe their “thump” was.  I can’t remember the last time I heard a cantaloupe THUMP.  (Well actually the cantaloupe itself doesn’t thump, a person THUMPS it… but I digress as per norm).  However, today I realized that I could hear that base-sounding, hollow “thump”!  My CI maps tend to bring me new sounds every time I go.  I know for a fact I could not near cantaloupe “thump” last year!  So the maps done in May at Johns Hopkins brought me a new sound this summer.  I could hear the thump of a cantaloupe!

Needless to say, I sat there “thumping” awhile… if only to hear the variations.  Chloe sat and waited patiently, although she was looking at me rather quizzically!

I suppose we all take things we hear for granted.  “Thumping” away, I couldn’t help but stop and think about all those late-deafened who could not hear the thump of a cantaloupe.  It wasn’t long ago that I could not.

I hope the next time you are in grocery store… thumping cantaloupe, you might stop a moment and think about those who no longer can.  We all hear differently.  Some, (like my daughter) have an acute sense of hearing.  Small noises are almost bothersome.  Others were perhaps born Deaf.  Many others (and the vast majority of those who have hearing loss) are adventitiously deaf.  That’s basically a fancy of way saying that something known or unknown happened and they no longer hear normally.  They no longer hear the thump of cantaloupe.

I hope many will consider being involved in our nation’s Walk4Hearing.  There are many walks all over the U.S. this year.  If you click here, you may be able to find one to be involved in near you!  You don’t have to have a hearing loss to care about hearing.  Many who walk have perfectly normal hearing, but know someone or love someone who does have a hearing loss.  If you cannot walk yourself, perhaps you would consider giving towards the goal of a Walk near you?

My family and I plan to have a team for the Capital area Walk this fall.  We walk because we care about hearing loss.  We walk because many do not hear the thump of cantaloupe.  The money raised goes to help support local chapters of HLAA and the national organization as well!

Happy hearing,

Denise Portis
©2008 Hearing Loss Diary

Deaf/Blind for a Day?

usakeller2.jpg Helen Keller with President Dwight D. Eisenhower

A friend of mine named Bob MacPherson (owner and moderator bhNews, a listserve to which I belong) posted the following article: Helen Keller

I have no idea where he found this, but he’s always been incredibly gifted at digging up interesting tidbits that no one else seems to know about. Even people without disabilities or physical challenges appreciate Helen Keller and her life. I remember reading books about Ms. Keller when I was in grade school back in the 70’s.

In the last couple of weeks, one of my classes was “Deaf for a Day“. Due to a few very negative reactions from students and their families, as well the counter reactions from my family and online friends who were looking forward to the assignment’s conclusion, I decided to not discuss the assignment in class this year. I chose to have them write about it instead, and I really look forward to reading what they “learned”. (Hey! I’m wise enough to note my own emotional limitations by which to handle topics that are painful for me!)

I suppose since this is still on my mind a great deal due to everything that happened, Bob’s article on Helen Keller got me to thinkin’…

“Hey! I should remove my cochlear implant and hearing aid… wear a blindfold… and be Deaf/Blind for the day! After all I have several very dear friends who have this combination of challenges!”

Well my husband put a quick stop to this idea. He has numerous emergency room bills from falls I take when I have full use of my sight. He wasn’t about to allow me to take away yet another sense. stick-in-mud.jpg(He can be a real stick in the mud! Kidding) It didn’t seem to matter that it’s been a full 6 months since I’ve been to the ER for an accident due to my poor balance!

I did find myself longing to experience a deaf/blind day as two of my dear friends live this every day. (I posted about them recently here). It is my opinion that the best way to understand how another lives, is to “walk in their shoes”.

As I often do, I digress. Wasn’t it incredible that being deaf AND blind, Helen Keller still learned to speak so well that her enunciation was perfect? Not even someone talking with her on the telephone could tell she was deaf/blind by listening to her voice! Helen Keller learned to SING? It’s an incredible skill and testimony of hours of practice and work to speak well when deaf/blind. But to sing as well? (Honestly, my jaw dropped open when I read this!) I am only “late-deafened”, and was a member of different choirs in high school and college. Think you’ll ever hear me sing now? Think again. When I sing I use my hands now, not daring to trust that I may possibly actually sing in tune with my voice. I do sing around the house sometimes, but it’s usually when I’m hooked up to my Sennheiser TR 820 listening to iTunes. I’m fairly confident that I’m not singing in tune, judging by the winces from my family and Chloe!

Helen Keller is a great example… I suppose in many ways a hero to me. She is the author of several books. I think it’s time I re-read them.

Denise Portis
©2008 Hearing Loss Diary