I know that we all have things that we did in high school that we’re a bit embarrassed about. I definitely have a bunch, that range from mildly embarrassing to totally mortifying, and one those things that I did was improv comedy. Part of me mortified about it, but there’s something that improv taught me that has actually turned out to be useful in real life, and that is the concept of ‘yes, and’.
You see, improv comedy, unlike sketch comedy or stand up comedy, is a team effort. When it’s your turn to speak, the goal is to give your teammates something to play off of, so the cardinal sin of improv being to not leaving them something to work from. Hence, the ‘yes, and’ rule.
‘Yes, but’ works well too. As long as you’re giving your scene partners something to elaborate, you’re doing improv right!
Now I’m sure you’re sitting in front of your screen wondering what improv comedy has to do with anything, and if you’ll stay with me through the Story of the Audiologist’ I promise that it’ll all make sense.
Once upon a time, I was at a conference, and I discovered the magic of captioning. For the first time ever, I could understand everything that was being communicated. I remembered what had been talked about, and my brain didn’t hurt by the end of it.
So, me being me, I started researching, and what I can up with was Auditory Processing Disorder. APD means that while your ears can hear just fine, your brain has a lot of trouble interpreting the input.
It explained a lot, like why I can’t talk on the phone (everything sounds garbled), and why I can’t really hear people are saying if they don’t face me when they’re talking (turns out that reading lips is pretty effective!). And don’t get me started on how distracting facial hair is.
So I talked to my team, and we decided it couldn’t hurt to get tested, given how much trouble was having following my professors in lectures, and after a two-month wait, I finally got to see the Audiologist!
The above sentence may have implied that I was excited on the day of my appointment, but that is incorrect. It was a 7:30 am appointment. And it was 3 hours long. The testing was exhausting, even with my venti coffee. Although I have to say, the tests were fascinating. They tested if I could put syllables together to make words, if I could tell which ear sound was coming in, and if I could pick out words when they were layered with words or static. It’s totally the fascinating science-y type thing that I’d love to watch happen to someone else.
These sorts of tests need to be scored, but I did poorly enough that the Audiologist was confident saying that unofficially, I had APD! Amazing news, because a diagnosis is always necessary to get help.
I thought we were all set to go (and after 3 hours I was so so so ready to leave), until I realized, to my horror, that she had BUT face, and said that we also need to talk about something else.
Turns out that one of that tests that I took was a standard hearing screening, and it also turns out that I didn’t do so well on them. She told me that I had mild/moderate bilateral hearing loss. She also recommended hearing aids.
Hearing loss WTF
Hearing aids WTF
Turns out scaring and calcification on your eardrums can really fuck with your hearing. And that hearing loss makes Auditory Processing Disorder exponentially worse.
3 years ago thought I was pretty normal, now ASD, CAPD, Hearing Loss, probable Learning Disability (did I mention the Testing coming up in January?)
I feel very validated, but also kind of freaked out. All of these things are new, and I don’t handle new very well (but I’m sure you knew that). I’m excited to get my new tech, but I know I’ll be really frustrated before anything gets better.
Anyone with hearing loss/hearing aids/FM systems have any experiences they’d be open to sharing?