villager article - school days

Articles from The Villager part 2

In part one, I mentioned my hearing difficulties from a very young age and its impact on my education and early careers. It seems only fitting to try and create a bigger picture as to how hearing loss can hold anybody back at any point of their lives.

School was hard work! I would often lose the plot and drift away only to be brought back to reality by the teacher, by now at my side, asking me a question on the lesson’s topic. Adding to those embarrassing moments, many lessons were dictated to us and I would panic, spending most of the time copying off others to catch up. I learnt very little in class so revising for exams became a mountainous struggle to cram everything in.

My sixth form education was centred round music and I set my sights on becoming a recording engineer. Whilst waiting to get a foot in the door, I embarked on a career in finance to fall back on. Stock-broking was short-lived as my seniors considered me to be distant and uninterested, seeming to ignore them; the problem was that I hadn’t actually heard them!

At school, this was taken to mean that I wasn’t the brightest button in class; out in the real world my hearing loss became very exposed. None more so than when I did get to fulfill my ambition- working in a London recording studio, even meeting some of the stars. A studio environment is described as acoustically dead and despite a very sensitive ear for music, listening to voiced instructions was difficult. It became apparent to everyone with whom I worked and was unacceptable to them. Beethoven did all right I countered but I was soon out.

A start on the bottom rung in food retail lead me into management but I always felt that there was something else out there to get my teeth into.
With hind-sight, it was the lack of a solid education or a rather dour looking audiologist at my local hospital who may have unwittingly steered me away from a vocation in the medical field.

Anyway, 1994 was the year of career change. I now understand the significance of my hearing loss and wear hearing aids in BOTH ears. What had I been missing? Although my hearing is still not perfect, I no longer find myself nodding in (hopefully) the right places or laughing at the wrong punch line. I am no longer afraid or embarrassed when faced with a very quietly spoken person as I won’t hesitate to ask them to repeat themselves - so no more guessing either.

Perhaps the irony is that I am once again a ‘sound’ engineer, in a different field and perhaps this is how it was meant to be.

At times though, I think it helps to remind ourselves that it doesn’t so much matter what we do, but how we do what we do.