Djembe and Elmo Live

Djembe Drums

Isn’t it funny the things that get my attention?  I’m a late-deafened adult, and only hear through the miracle of a cochlear implant.  And yet… things that get my attention are things that make SOUND.

This past Sunday I discovered that a newer drum being used in our band at church had a different sound.  Its sound was SO different than that of the other drums in the band, I ended up cornering the young man who plays it in order to ask him what it was.  Do you know how hard it is to hear a word like “Djembe“?  Grin!  I ended up asking him to spell it for me… he was very patient.  Wouldn’t ya know, I came home and googled it!  I want one for Christmas.

Elmo Live

Did you know that Elmo also has a new release this Christmas?  (You can watch him HERE)  I am so excited!  I have already thrown out a “hint” to my family.  (A “Denise hint” means an email copied to everyone in the family with a link and picture embedded was sent!)  Elmo is also a noise-maker!  You’d think I’d choose things that would involve my other senses.  Although if you think about it… Elmo and a djembe drum DO use the other senses as well.  But I find it interesting that I am mostly excited about “hearing” both of them.

Things That Make Me Go “Hmm”

I suppose the primary reason I like “noise-makers” for gifts is because I was born with normal hearing and struggle on a daily basis to STAY a “hearing person”.  I think that is what sets adults with hearing loss who choose to be “oral” apart from those who incorporate themselves into the culturally Deaf population, employing the use of American Sign Language to communicate.  I first heard (pardon the pun) the acronym OHL from Larry Sivertson.  He is someone I’ve been able to get to know through online correspondence and hearing loss conventions.  To my knowledge he was the first to coin the phrase, but i could be wrong about that.  He has a terrific site called Hearing Loss Web.  It’s a terrific website and tool for those with hearing loss… especially those who choose to remain oral.  His wife, Char, just had her own cochlear implant activated recently.  Larry and Char would likely understand better than most why non-essentials that make “noise” are such a grand gift for someone like myself.

My family doesn’t mind my “hint” list.  On the contrary, they really love seeing the UNADULTERATED JOY I receive in “hearing something” out of the ordinary.  It has helped them to not take their own hearing for granted I suspect!  I’m sure that everyone who has a cochlear implant, has a number of “noise-makers” that just bring a smile to their face to even recall hearing them for the first time.

I take their OWN “hint” list just as seriously.  (Who’d have thought iPod could continue to come up with new “must have” gadgets just in time for Christmas!)  Prior to my hearing loss in 1991, I use to only ask for things I “needed”.  I think it’s much nicer to have a “wish list” that includes things you’d never get for yourself because you don’t NEED them!  Sure we all tend to get things we NEED as well, but isn’t it fun to get some totally nonsense things too?

Denise Portis

© 2008 Hearing Loss Journal

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