Monday 3 April 2017

Deaf Girly and the opticians

When it comes to vision and hearing, I am unfortunately blessed with very bad levels of both. I am comedy short-sighted, to the point that, if I was ever without my glasses or contact lenses, I would have a lot of difficulty navigating my way anywhere.

I first realised just how short sighted I was while on a climbing trip at university. We were staying in a cheap campsite – cheap because it had not toilets or showers and instead had a single cold tap that daily washing activities took place around.

One evening, after most people had gone to sleep, I nipped into the woods for a trip to the ladies. In my haste, I forgot to put on my glasses and for privacy, I turned off my head torch once I'd wandered a little way into trees.

And, on turning the head torch back on again, I realised that I had no idea where the campsite was or how to get back to it, and what's more, I couldn't follow the noise to it either. I was stranded. In a wood. In a section of wood that was more of a public convenience than a wood... not the sort of place you'd want to trip and fall over in.

So instead, I stood and yelled until Tigger – who was also on the climbing trip – put down his book and came to find me, guiding me back to my tent and reminding me to put my bloody glasses on before venturing out for a pee in future.

I have always felt incredibly grateful that my trips to the optician also see me leaving with lenses or glasses that restore my vision to 20/20. That give me everything back and allow me to see all that people with perfect vision have. I am acutely aware that trips to the audiologist, while good, never result in me leaving with my hearing restored.

But today, I left my optician feeling disappointed. And a bit sad.

You see, because my vision is quite bad, my lenses are quite thick and therefore if I don't want to bankrupt myself with the cost of new lenses, then I need to have quite a chunky frame. But the problem with chunky frames? Along with my hearing aids, that's a lot of face furniture behind my ears.

And while I know it's not the end of the world, it changes how much I like the glasses, because when I tie my hair up, my ears look different and therefore my face does, too.

I've written about that before. About my sheepishness that I should be so worried about how my face looks with hearing aids and glasses with my hair up. But it's something that, how ever hard I try, still bothers me.

And that got me thinking – are there glasses that have thin legs but also chunky frames to allow for short sighted people to have affordable lenses in and wear hearing aids?

At Vision Express I found none... although the guy who served me was very sweet and helpful as I got more and more frustrated about this. But surely there have to be some out there somewhere?

Some lovely peeps on Twitter gave me tips about which frames they'd recommend so I will check all of those out, but I am also going to go on a tour of opticians to see if I can find the holy grail of glasses that don't encroach on the space needed for hearing aids, are comfortable and come in a range of frame shapes to suit the range of people who wear hearing aids.

And if I cannot find a range, an optician, a single pair of glasses that do this? Then I am going to ask them all why they don't have this... with a population that has a growing number of deaf people and hearing aid wearers.

Imagine – a hearing aid-friendly glasses range? That's nice. Fashionable. Affordable. Comfortable.

If you know of one, please shout, but in the meantime, I'm going glasses shopping.

I'll keep you posted peeps.


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