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Deaf and Walking

The change

Just as much as anybody else, deaf people appreciate the change in environment that hill-walking brings. They may percieve the change differently to hearing people, but the fresh air and wide views, gentle exercise, bracing winds and breath-taking vistas have the same effect on everybody; the echoless voids filled with the sounds of birds and rustling trees and grasses, the trinkling of streams and the clean thunder of waterfalls are in stark contrast to the constant rumble of urban life, even to a very deaf person.

The steam locomotive

However, bear in mind that right behind every hearing aid wearer up a hill or mountain, or on any open plain, there is a labouring steam locomotive. Yep, really, that’s the sound that the wind makes in a hearing aid. If you read the essay Deaf and Telephones, you will know that a deaf person’s voice is louder in their ears than anything else. Anything except that steam locomotive, that is.

The wind really does drown out everything. It is possible, for brief moments, to orientate one’s head so that the effect vanishes. Don’t be surprised therefore to see a deaf person walk along with their head sideways, as if they are looking for something. Or they may suddenly start walking backwards. They are trying to get their aids in a position where the wind does not go in. The trouble is, the moments of relative quiet are always short-lived, so don’t count on having long conversations.

There are two other approaches a deaf person may take to overcome this problem

By the way, trying to use your hands as wind deflectors does not work. It just makes things worse.

The Deaf Village

If you are affected by any aspect of deafness you might like to visit the Deaf Village at http://tribalvillages.org/deaf, an online community of hearing aid wearers who are more than happy to share their experiences with you.