I am sitting absolutely straight in a hard-backed chair in the middle of a dimly lit sound-proofed room. Wires stick out of both sides of my head. To my right the thick hazy glass of the small window only vaguely allows me to see out.
I strain my ears. Is that a sound? There! At the far outside edges of my senses, I detect something. I press the button on the black metal contraption I hold in my hands. After all, before she left, she told me that it might seem almost imaginary, but if I heard anything I should press.
I’m having my hearing tested. The audiologist went through a whole series of questions before we began. The long and the short of it was, “Why are you here?” I’m too young, really, and don’t work in an especially loud environment. I don’t regularly attend loud concerts and no one in my family is complaining that I don’t respond when they speak.
Still, here I sit, furrowing my brow and tensing my body in concentration. Do I hear that? Is that a noise? I press the button.
Last semester, I finally gave up. I couldn’t hear about half of my students when they spoke. “Speak up!” I’d say. “Can you repeat that?” Most of them just trailed off and whatever thought they’d had was gone. I know that my classes are full of kids who have mastered the art of hiding from their teachers, but this was too much. I really wanted to hear what they were saying.
The room I was teaching in is, frankly, terrible for sound. It’s right by the water fountain, the boys bathroom and a t-intersection with another hallway. It’s just a few doors down from the music room. And, worst of all, someone designed the building so that the air vent blows directly into the front of the room, right where a teacher might stand. Honestly, it was a miracle I could hear anyone at all.
When I mentioned my frustrating inability to hear my students to my doctor at a checkup, she said,”I’ll refer you.” And here I am. Oh! My thoughts have drifted. Did I just miss a really low tone? I press the button again.
Finally, the test ends. Back in the regular office, I face the audiologist with trepidation. She grins, “Your students need to speak up. Your hearing is nearly bionic in some areas and fine in all areas.”
Alright, kiddos, I’ve got science on my side: I can hear you now. It’s time to raise your voices and tell the world – or at least me – what you know.
11 thoughts on “I Can Hear You Now: Slice of Life 2/31 #SOL20”
Phew I was a bit worried you might be going deaf! Glad to hear it’s the students at fault and not your hearing! Hope you can get to hear them better soon! Imagine having bionic hearing…not sure if I’d want that!
Great story, and I had a similar experience. However, I am quite a bit older than you, and was blaming the students. Then I noticed it was only the students on the left side of the room that “mumbled.” A visit to the audiologist, same tests as you, but this time, I have significant loss in my left ear. Am now using my hearing aid, and the students probably wish I wasn’t lol, since I can easily hear their varied off task conversations now.
So happy you have science on your side!
I did that about ten years ago because my husband said I was ever listening to him. 🤪
Oh My Goodness! I can relate and I burst out laughing when you wrote this dialogue: She grins, “Your students need to speak up. Your hearing is nearly bionic in some areas and fine in all areas.”
You are so good at it, and I am learning from you; next Slice by me will be a scene with dialogue. I’d love your critical feedback😊
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This is so funny! I love how the scene slowly unfolds. The “nearly bionic” had me laughing out loud. I guess I’m not surprised, though, how many of our students mumble and trail off. I fear that school has taught them to do that.
I went through the same process and found I had significant hearing loss. What a relief it was to learn that there was a solution to my challenge in hearing aides. I am happy that your outcome was agreeable to you, too!
I am laughing to myself because I always said my father had bionic ears. He could hear someone walking through the grass in the front yard (!!) But as for students speaking up … a lot of them do mumble and don’t enunciate clearly, I’ve noticed. Unless I need to have MY hearing checked ….
It is a miracle you can hear students given all the distractions. My room was at an intersection by the water fountain and close to a restroom, but I amazed students w/ my ability to hear anything from the far corners of the room. I always told them if they don’t want me hearing they need to get out of the building! Also, I tried not to tell kids to speak up. I told them to throw their voices at me; pretend the voice is a ball and hurl it at me.
This post made me laugh right out loud! Every day it seems I am saying ‘Excuse me’, ‘Can you say that again?’ I love the bionic hearing comment! So fun!!
You go to any length for your students… more proof! This story reminded me of getting my hearing checked in the nurse’s office as a kid. I really did have trouble hearing and really did just guess at the sounds!
I enjoyed how the stream-of-consciousness test situation gives way to a slam-dunk finish in this slice. Bravo to you (and your audiologist) for ruling out one source of difficulty.
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