Personal Loops

8-15-2003

August 13, 2003I had a personal loop system hooked up in my living room this week. My husband set the loop under “my” chair and attached it to the television. At first I was skeptical, because I have relied on closed captioning for a number of years now. However, I was amazed at what I could hear! I use my t-switch often…sometimes with a personal FM system, occasionally if a meeting room is actually looped (although that is rare…a completely separate topic!), but I have never used it on a personal loop system. I think my initial perception was that I would only hear amplification of the voices. The first thing I had to watch was “The Fellowship of the Ring” on DVD. Now as a “Lord of the Ring” fan, I dismally sat through 4 different trips to the theatre when it first came out. (My family shares my passion for Tolkien). I couldn’t wait for it to be released on video/DVD so that I could “hear” thru closed captioning! So… I thought I had experienced this movie already! NOT! I almost jumped out of my chair when I heard ol’ Gollum’s voice for the first time. (Jumping out of your chair in fright renders the afore mentioned personal loop ineffective!) My children at first were tickled at “the things Mom was hearing”.

I’d pause the movie ever so often and say, “WHAT was THAT? That noise right here? What is THAT?????”

Their prompt reply: “That’s the noise the horses make when their hooves hit the ground, Mom!”

Another ten minutes pass, and again I pause the movie, “Oh my gosh! What is that SOUND? What is that???”

Again their reply: “Mom, that is the sound of leaves crunching when their boots hit the ground as they walk through the forest!”

At this point they are sitting on the edge of THEIR seats! What will Mom hear next? I noticed out of the corner of my eye that they kept poking each other and smiling as I sat there with my mouth LITERALLY hanging open!

Another 5 minutes…”Oh geesh! What is THAT? What is that SOUND?”

Now this one took a minute or two for the kids to rewind, review, and figure out what I was hearing…and they announce, “That is the wind whipping through the trees!”

I could continue, but suffice it to say that I spent many minutes crying my eyes out for what I was “hearing”! I have never enjoyed a movie so much! My family couldn’t figure out if I was thrilled or upset! I heard noises in this movie, that I had even forgotten! I had forgotten that footsteps would “stomp, stomp, stomp” up the stairs of an old tavern. Too long it had been since I heard the water from a small stream as it tumbled over the rocks! So I sat there…crying and laughing, pausing and questioning. I enjoyed a movie with my family, and enjoyed it “hearing”! (The kids? Well they were getting a little tired of all the pausing! Who could blame them?)

My husband on the other hand, hovered like a nervous mother hen… “Is it working okay”, “Can I adjust the volume?”, “What are you hearing that you haven’t?” Grin. Talk about individual attention!

I fear my housework may suffer, and perhaps we’ll be living on take-out pizza for awhile. After all, I have a whole shelf of movies to “hear” again!

Denise Portis
©2006 Hearing Loss Diary

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