Mask-wearing practices in the United States, at this point, are slowly killing me.
Over the last year, I’ve become more and more socially isolated. I’ve lost those easy interactions that added so much to my day – with clerks, fellow shoppers, the people in restaurants, at church.
I’m what is called HOH – Hard of Hearing. Not considered Deaf, but, due to loss of hearing function, considerably diminished in the ability to join into the social networks that surround most of us. I don’t sign, as is the situation of most of us whose hearing was lost later in life.
After I took a hearing test, and was told that I’d lost about 30% of my hearing, I ordered my first hearing aids. What a difference they made – I could hear the phone ringing, the tea kettle whistling, and fully participate in the conversations around me. Even phone conversations were crisper and more understandable.
I’ve replaced those first hearing aids several times (the life of a set is around 10 years or so, max). Recently, I bought a significant upgrade, in anticipation of needing to hear better on phones. Because of improvements in technology, the newer aids stream the conversation directly into your ears, making the process seamless and smooth.
Then came COVID.
Life has not been the same since.
Zoom calls and phone calls work, of course. But, with the population forced/persuaded to wear masks in any situation involving those not related to them personally, nearly all my communication takes place in a muffled world.
What can I hear? Perhaps 40-50% of the conversation is garbled, often completely beyond any ability to understand what is being said. That’s WORSE than the situation I faced when I first bought my hearing aids.
When I am in stores, I usually have to ask for those assisting me to repeat their directions, often more than 3 times.
If I see ONE MORE PAIR OF ROLLED EYES in response to being asked to repeat what they are saying, I’m not going to be responsible for what happens. The least that might occur would be to slap the snide look off their face.
So, mostly, I don’t go out. When I do, I resign myself to being talked over. To not understanding what is said. Which, in some circumstances, can be a bigger problem than slowing up the line.
Like misinformation about a course of medical treatment. Like misunderstanding how a medication should be taken. Like them deciding that I’m “losing it” and need to be evaluated for dementia.
Or, in the case of church in person, missing nearly the entire sermon’s message. I don’t even want to think about going to confession in a time of masking.
I am generally forthright about my issues with hearing. I generally ask for people to slow down their speech (about 1/4 to 1/3 slower generally helps, as does carefully enunciating consonants).
But, people forget. Or get impatient. Or, frankly, just don’t care.
So, I go home, and resolve to stay in my little cave.
And, every day, become less inclined to reach out to other people.
It doesn’t help when people with passionate convictions about current events and topics are equally passionate about how those who disagree should just “shut up” and be banned from social media.
Great. It’s one of the few things keeping me together. Great idea to push those like me off it.
Is there a solution?
Sure. But, it’s not one that the Left will tolerate.
It would mean that ‘Mean Girl’ pile-ons would stop. It would mean, rather than call someone a Hater for any slight deviation from the Accepted Progressive Norm (what they think of a The ONLY Way to Think That is Not LITERALLY Hate), you try to listen to what they ACTUALLY conveyed.
Maybe even say (rather than a condescending “That’s Racist/Sexist/Hateful”) “That’s interesting. Why do you feel that way?”
And, listen to the answer. You might even find out that they have a reason for their beliefs or position. One that does not stem from a salivating and depraved desire to see Officially Oppressed People DIE, DIE, DIE.
You may still disagree with them. But, having spent some time listening to them, they would be more inclined to listen to what YOU say.
Heck, maybe you might even – eventually – learn that their commitment to Constitutional Norms is based, not on a desire to enslave most of the population, but on a bedrock belief that this is the way to protect ALL Americans from abusive tyranny from government. Even those who don’t look like them.
I’m not writing this to ask for pity. I just want people to realize that getting that superior look on your face, as you condescendingly inform me that masking is critical, and only horrible people are against it, is just sucking the heart right out of me. You are putting me in a cage of silence. It’s solitary confinement.
You wouldn’t treat a ‘undocumented refugee’ like that. Or a criminal.
Open the cage. Take the masks off most of the population, as they are NOT contagious, and, hence, not a danger to the rest of the nation.
I’m there. Started on the road to deafness with the USMC in Viet Nam and being an avid shooting sports enthusiast things have only gone south. Am to the point now where I have to get my wife or friends to look at me when they speak so I can “read” their lips. I’m not a big socializing type so that is not a big deal however dealing with doctors and assorted medical or administrative types can be a real challenge. I’ve found the best way to deal with strangers is to be proactive up front and advise them of my disability. My last doctors appointment after about five minutes he finally gave up after that things went smoothly, off came his mask.
I have experienced the exact same issues as you. Unable to hear normal speech before the whole mask debacle of course became even worse after. Background noise made it impossible to carry on any conversation or understand what was being communicated. This led to increasing isolation over the past several years and near total isolation during the past year.
Last week I was finally able to obtain hearing aids which are a God send. I can now hear and understand normal conversation. Introduce a mask to the equation though and only 50% or so of what is spoken can be understood. It’s frustrating at best.
I’m to the point where I pity the folks who insist on continuing the charade of wearing masks. Common reason would tell any thinking person it’s foolish, unhealthy and debilitating. Bottom line if they’re foolish enough to wear a mask they probably don’t have anything worth listening to anyway.
Hang in there kid. While it may not get any better rest assured the Good Lord has us covered. I appreciate your writings making it a point to visit this site daily. Please keep at it!
Guys, I do appreciate your responses. It makes the effort worth the time spent on it.
This summer will be telling. People will want to move around, without masks (outside of the cities). Funnily, the Black people will likely NOT lead the push to de-mask. Most of the Black people I have had contact with are germ-phobic about covering their mouths and washing their hands. They could become a non-uniformed army of K’Arens.
I’m hoping for my husband to see the light sooner than later about selling this house. Luckily, we’re far enough away from a major city, and in a near-rural area that is relatively easy to patrol/defend (and almost ALL of my neighbors are gun-owners). So, when the cities empty out, we may be able to unload at a decent price. I’m hoping that the lure of cash is sufficient to get him on the hook.
If we did sell, the rise in prices, coupled with our relentless work to pay down the mortgage, will give us a start-over amount of equity. Enough, hopefully, to buy outright in a new place, nearer family, and off the beaten track.
I’m thinking that the eventual collapse will be a stutter-step. A series of jolts, with “money” rushed in by government to stave off catastrophe. Eventually, quick and complete collapse.
Not that worried about invasion (except by illegals and other predators). Other governments, without our shipments of food, and without our cash infusions for their cr@p, will be in even worse shape.
It’s gonna be a long couple of centuries.