When you have a hearing loss there's nothing better than traveling with your HoHs! Maybe? This week Hearing Loss LIVE! Talks are about hearing loss and riding in cars. We have devices we use to let folks know we are okay with silences. We have preplanning ideas to share with your hearing passengers.
How do you travel in a car with others? Share with us at hearinglosslive.com.
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Hearing Loss LIVE! talks HoHs in cars. Julia: Good morning, and welcome to Hearing Loss LIVE! well, or good afternoon, wherever you are. We are going to talk to you today about riding in cars. What's better than a bunch of Hohs in a car? Right? We have some tips and tricks that we've used while riding together in our cars. And we're going to share them with you and maybe get a laugh or two, I hope. Michele, can you start us off on your adventures in riding in cars with HoHs?
Michele: Thank you, Julia, I forgot to turn my mic off. So I'm ready to go. You know, early on, my coping mechanism for everything was to fake it as much as I could. And I was a very good faker. When I can't see speech, I can't hear it. Or I can't lipread. And so a car, being inside a car with other people is really difficult. And so I'm, I was always on pins and needles waiting for the inevitable that someone, I was gonna have to ask someone to repeat what they said. But you know, I didn't really focus on any other solutions, because I kind of didn't know better, and I had many more adversities to focus on and overcome as a kid and a teenager. So I didn't really give my hearing loss much attention in the way of trying to find better ways to deal with things. And I just didn't really know how to say what was true. If I can't see you, I can't hear you. You know, hyperacusis, which is over sensitivity to sound, also is a factor because riding in a car is just so noisy. And it's painful for someone who has hyperacusis. And so it makes even speech that I can see even harder, because you know, when you're in pain that kind of eats up any kind of concentration that you need for lipreading. And, you know, I think I came to a point where I accepted that I couldn't always participate. So I did whatever I needed to do to appear normal. And that meant faking it nodding and laughing in all the right places. Because I didn't know how to say, I'm not getting anything you're saying. So it took a long time. But I finally came to terms with how to inform people about my hearing loss. And I came to terms with my hearing ability. And I realized that I get to choose where I can apply my abilities. I now have a profound hearing loss. And with that comes the acceptance, that there are just certain situations where I can't participate and no amount of effort on my part is going to lead to success. So what I do now is much better. In a dark car, I tell other passengers, I would love to chat, but I can't lipread in the dark. If it's daytime and I can't follow someone, I tell them that. I say what's true, I really would love to chat with you, but I'm not getting what you're saying. And then I usually have a book or my computer, or my phone and I kind of busy myself so that I don't feel awkward. Because it feels awkward just to sit there and try to continue to get the conversation and you're not getting it. And you know, you need to take yourself out of those situations by shifting your attention. And, you know, I always just to start with I'm sorry, but I -- it's a hard habit to break. But I'm no longer sorry. It's just a reality of my life. And I just have to state that. I don't have to be sorry about it. As a driver, it's even more challenging. And as a lipreader, I tell people, you don't want me to try to lipread you while I'm driving. And so, you know, I'm not really going to be able to chat with you just because it's not within my ability. And I'm honest about that. See what my other notes were? Yeah, when my kids were younger, um, we were always in the car. It took us an hour each way to get to piano practice. And I had three kids taking piano lessons. And so, you know, the kids knew instinctively just from little kids up, mom can't hear in the car. And so it was just an understanding, I wasn't gonna hear what they were saying. On those long drives, longer drives, I would pull over sometimes to say, "Hey, you guys were talking trying to get my attention, what did you want?" Or at a stoplight, I turn around and say, "Hey, what did you guys want." So there's something going on I need to know about. And it usually wasn't anything that was pressing. One thing about driving and having passengers in the car with you is that they always get freaked out when there's an emergency vehicle. And you know, a lot of people do that, they think they need to tell you that there's an emergency vehicle. And you know, most of the times, I've already seen it, and I can't understand what I can't hear. And I'm not going to look at them, to try to figure out what they're saying. I'm going to keep my attention on where it needs to be. So usually after the vehicle passes, if if a someone who has made a huge deal, and it's just really upset and excitedly trying to get my attention, I pull over and say, "you're actually making the situation much more dangerous, because you're trying to take my attention away from what I need to be focusing on, I get that you're trying to help me, but it's not helpful." And you know, that's usually received, okay, I don't try to say it in a way, that's mean. But I want them to understand, that's not a good way to handle that. A better way would be work out some gestures, or simple signs beforehand. And you know, if it's family or people that I'm in the car with frequently, they kind of already know that. But if it's somebody that you don't know, well, or somebody who's not really comfortable with your hearing loss, work it out beforehand, so you can avoid all those kinds of things. The other thing is, I can't take directions from anyone, if you want to go somewhere and you've changed the plan in the car, and you're trying to tell me, you know how the the route has changed. That's not going to work. You know, bring up your GPS, hand me your phone, let me see where I'm going. If or you know, I can always pull over tap me on the shoulder. So I always find ways to tell people how to communicate with me in the car, because it's dangerous, if my attention is taken away from driving. So that's pretty much the focus I have on riding in a car and driving.
Julia: Thank you, Michele, and thank you for offering a solution to how to handle especially emergency vehicles and people panicking that, you know, it can be scary to begin with. But yeah, have a plan a head of time. I love that. Um, I something that came to my mind because grandma didn't hear well in the car. And I think I say in my blog, how I was not a very safe driver by doing things like looking at her in the road at the same time, so she could lipread, probably not the best idea. But something that came to mind. It was a really great way to practice sitting in the silence. So if grandma needed to know something or whatever, we could talk it at stoplights. But honestly, sometimes I think people, especially hearing people, maybe I'm wrong, feel a need to fill the empty airspace. So my advice, practice sitting with the silence and being comfortable just going somewhere together might be a nice thing. I know with with Chelle that if we're in a car together, she's not gonna hear anything from me if I'm in the backseat. But Ken and I will get into these little, her husband, he'll say something and I'm answering him and he's saying some and it's just nonsense. So she gets to sit there and not listen to the nonsense and I get to talk it back to somebody so [laughing] but I remember early on in my early days at the Sanderson Center, we traveled to St. George quite regularly to provide services. And so we would have plans and and a lot of times one of the gals from the center was the one driving the van and she was hearing that there would be me, there'd be a couple of hard of hearing maybe a deaf so there'd be all sorts of different language. But if we were going to stop for lunch, everybody had a plan on what they were going to get Jorie got it ordered if we were doing drive thru and took out that middle part of angst on who's going to hear at the drive up, and it worked really well. And it's how I learned it. I didn't even realize it. But it's how I learned how to just be comfortable in a car in the silence, I guess is the best way to say that. But yeah, you hearing people practice sitting with the silence. It's great. Chelle, what are some thoughts you've got on riding in cars?
Chelle: I love riding with my HoHs and cars. Because they are conscious of how to talk to me or not talk to me. And I just love it like when Michele and I go somewhere together. And it's agreed, you know, she watches her bone map. And she goes the way she wants. And I'm like, okay with that. And we're just sitting there in the silence. And oh my gosh, I am comfortable with that. I like it because it is a struggle to hear in the car. And I do need lipreading. And some some of my hard of hearing friends haven't worked out so well. There's one little lady I used to give a ride to. And she would talk the entire way. And she had a soft voice and she, she was around hearing people most of her most time. So she forgot how to talk to hard of hearing people and I would let her know. I have my hearing aids in. I'm leaning way to the side trying to hear. And then we get on the freeway for a short jaunt. And she would, I would be like okay, now you really have to stop. Because I'm it's too much road noise. Let's see what else did I put in my notes. So, so yeah, it was really nice to ride with hard of hearing people to me, because we can listen to music, I can play on my phone. There's, there's no struggle there for me most of the time. And Michelle was mentioning, you know, emergency vehicles coming up. And one of the things I learned early on is really I don't hear them until they're right up on me. And sometimes I'm at the front of the stoplight, and like get green. But I'm very conscious of how people are holding back. And I'd be like, okay, something's coming up. And I have to look down the streets to see where the ambulance is. But, you know, I can't hear'em. And if I wasn't conscious of that, I would just pull out and probably get slammed by'em. So it's just watching the flow of things. And I know I've learned to pause intersections and look both ways, even if it is a green light now when I'm the first one to go through. Too many people run these yellow lights anymore. [laughing] So I'm very careful about that. And Michele mentioned people having fits in the car when you're driving. I was in Maui with my husband, Ken, and we did the road to Hana, which is a teeny tiny road two vehicles barely get by. And sometimes you have to pull off to the side. And I'm either hugging the mountain, and like trying not to scrape the rental car on the side. Or there's a complete drop off on the other side coming back home and looking down at the coast. And Ken was, you know, he means well, he's trying to help but he kept oh, oh my gosh, you know, you're getting close. You're getting closer, you need to get over and I finally had to tell him to be quiet because it like as Michele said, it was not helping me it was already a very stressful drive. And I and I was watching and very observant. And I think, you know, I asked him to stop talking and I think he did for about an hour. He wasn't happy with that. But it is just so rattling to have somebody do that. And me trying to look at him and understand and then I had to quit looking at him actually. Because it is crazy. Hard, crazy hard. And then my kids have always been really wonderful in the car. I love the rule talking or radio, not both. And you know they're in their early 30s, late 20s now, and they still hold that rule to themselves while they're driving around because that's common courtesy. I mean there is so much noise. Did you know that when you're riding with a window down, it's when you're on the freeway, it's close to 90 decibels. My mom had a friend who drove back and forth, I think there's the hour- and-a-half to work, and then back, and she always had the window down. She had a hearing loss in that year. So be aware of that, too. And, yes, books and phones, you know that that applies to not even when I'm not in the car, I'm really happy to take a book with me wherever, just so I can have like a hearing break too.
Michele: And, you know, you all have mentioned, what's so challenging about riding in the car or driving in the car when you have hearing loss when you're a HoH [laughing]. And there's so many distractions, that road noise, the engine noise, you know, even the scenery passing by, there's so much that takes your attention away from concentrating on hearing. And so it's a really challenging environment, I think, even for people who can hear. And it's okay to tell people what you're doing is not helpful to me. I mean, that's not, you know, some people might take that Oh, and be offended. But there's nothing wrong with saying that. "I know you're trying to help me. But what you're doing isn't helping. Thank you. But no, thank you." And, you know, I guess maybe people think I'm a little bit gruff in my old age. But I mean, you have to be direct with people. And I have hard of hearing friends and and like Chelle and Julia, you both said, you have to be comfortable with silence or not participating in the conversation. And I have some hard of hearing friends who are very good passengers or fellow car people. And then I have other ones who aren't content with the fact that I'm okay, not hearing while I'm driving, some some people just think you need to find a way to hear me while you're driving. And no, that's your problem. That's not my problem. I'm okay with not hearing while I'm driving. Yeah, sure, I wish I could hear but I can't. That's my reality. So let other people deal with that. And you just kind of own your own self and do things the way that you want. There's no right or wrong way. And be direct. Tell people what your truth is. Say what's true. "I can't hear you I'm sorry, I'm not going to be able to participate in the conversation." So I think there's a lot of tension around cars and hearing loss. needlessly.
Julia: I agree. And I thought I've already lost it. So that's how my day is going. Chelle.
Chelle: Okay, making sure my microphone is on? Yeah, I was just thinking about drive throughs. And how hard drive thrus are. And most of the time, I learned a long time ago just to park the car walk in. But you know what? With the pandemic, a lot of times the lobbies aren't open anymore, and you have to go through the drive thru. So what I do is, I pretty much announce it up front, I'm guessing, you know, I worked as a teenager at McDonald's. So I kind of know the routine. And I'm guessing I hear the voice. But it's like being on the phone. I can't see the left mouth to lipread. So I just guessed, and I'm like, "hi, I want this, this, this and that's all." And then sometimes they'll come back and ask me, I think something about a deal that's going on. And that happened in the car with Ken and I got to pretty well until that point, I had to look at Ken and then Ken told me about the deal. And then I was like, "oh, no, you know, this isn't this and that's all. [laughing]. There's been times and I'm like, I'm sorry, I can't understand you. I'm just going to have to pull up.
Julia: And do you ever get any flack with that? I'm thinking you don't. When you say I've just got to pull up, I can't hear you. Michele.
Michele: Um, I used to get flack, years ago. I, I went to the drive thru on my lunch hour, and I had very little time. And I always say, I don't know who's talking on the speaker, I can't hear any of the audio. So I usually premise that with "I'm deaf, going through the drive thru here, and I'm not going to hear whether you're talking to me or not. So I'm just going to give you my order and drive up to the window." If you missed it, then. I'll order when I get up there. Anyway, on this particular day, the girl looked at me and said, “What are you doing using the drive thru if you can't hear?” A really nasty tone. And even though I didn't have time, and I was going to be laid back to work from lunch, I parked my car and I went in and asked for her manager and told them you know what, you really need to give your employees some sensitivity training or, or train them on how to interact with customers who are different. I have every right to use the drive thru. Yeah it seems ridiculous maybe to some people that somebody who can't hear is going to go through the drive thru but I'm in a hurry. You know, we can work out a solution here. It's not a big deal. And I actually think that they fired the young girl and I didn't feel bad about that. Because, you know, I mean, who says that to people? What are you doing using the drive thru if you're deaf? Well you know, that's my decision, not yours. You're here to-- Please stand by due to technical difficulty.
Julia: All right. Any more thoughts on driving in cars with your HoHs? Thank you for joining us-- Oh, Chelle. No, go ahead.
Chelle: ehh My microphone. So I was just thinking earlier about how how hard it is to hear and how many people are hard of hearing now. So you never know, who was on the other side, if they might have a hearing loss too. As my teenage years working in McDonald's, I started to have issues at that time. And I remember I could not tell the difference between fries and Sprite. So I got to where I would say, "is that french fries, or Sprite the drink?" So I still carry that with me. And when I, when I say my order, I'll go french fries, because you just never know. That was my only other thought.
Julia: Like that thought. You know, the more and more we do these, I realize all these things that we've taught ourselves or hearing loss people have done hearing people, and that we continue to use them in general with everybody, instead of just assuming or not assuming. I think, to me is every time we do these, we have a little aha moment that says, Oh, I do this still because of this. It's one of the reasons I love this. All right. Thank you for joining us today talking about cars and hoes. We will be talking live captions next week with our guest, Vicki Turner, who does live captioning on Broadway theater and small playhouses. She's awesome, awesome. And I hoping she'll answer some questions we have on how to advise to get live captions if you want them in your theater and what theater she works with and a bunch of other questions we have. We hope you're going to join us with our December workshop. Gifts for Hohs. Hoh, Hoh, Hoh. Christmas is around the corner. We want you to be able to have different apps and how to use them available to you for all of your holiday get togethers. And thank you for joining. Remember to subscribe to our YouTube page like us on Facebook. Send your hearing friends to our audible podcast, and we look forward to seeing you next week. Bye. Join us next week when we talk with Vicki Turner about live captions and Broadway.