This week, I haven't been wearing my hearing aids. I've been enjoying the comfort of my new glasses without the additional hardware behind my ears. And mostly I've got by OK.
But there have been some noticeable times when I've struggled – mainly in shops at the till when paying. It's been so long since I've struggled with this that I'd kind of forgotten how hard it used to be – the 'Would you like a bag?' question, the random conversation they've been told to make by management, the payment chit-chat and the where-the-heck-I-want-them-to-put-the-receipt conundrum.
With my hearing aids, I tend not to have too much trouble with this.
Today however, was an absolute car crash of mishearing. In Uniqlo, I'm surprised I managed to get out of there without my face exploding in a big red embarrassed mess, while in Marks & Spencer, I tried to plan ahead as much as possible about what I might be asked and still didn't get it right. And then I started to flap, and I almost walked straight out of Oliver Bonas with an empty bag after I hadn't realised they were still gift wrapping what I had bought. And no one thought my strange behaviour was because of my deafness, they all just thought I was totally bonkers. Which actually is highly probable on reflection.
One good thing to come out of this is that not wearing my hearing aids this week has really made me appreciate what they give me when I do wear them – often without really noticing. They take my 2D world and make it 3D and they also remove a lot of the angst involved in everyday tasks that I experience without them.
And I can honestly say that I will NOT be going shopping without my hearing aids again. There's only so many times a shop assistant can repeat a question without both you and them wanting to curl up into a ball and die.
No more so than a few weeks ago when I was skiing – without hearing aids as I get feedback in my helmet – and went to the ski hire shop to get some skis. The man had a strong French accent and was a bit grumpy looking.
'What's your lover?' he said, as I tried to stay upright in my newly tightened ski boots.
'My what?' I said, looking at him in panic.
'Your lover,' he said, adding a Gallic shrug for good measure.
I looked blank.
'Your skiing lover! Tell me your skiing lover?' he continued, looking at me like I was a complete moron.
I went through the word again and again in my head, replacing bits of it to see if I got a more feasible word and eventually cracked it.
'My skiing level?' I asked.
Yes I'd got it eventually but not before he and everyone around me thought I was a total moron.
So if you ever serve me in a shop and I look like a rabbit caught in headlights every time you say something, I promise you I am not stupid, I am just deaf. And overwhelmed. And still blushing from the skiing lover mix-up thing.
Happy Thursday peeps.