I am a chief writer for Weekend Notes, a copywriter, published poet and Editor of poetry magazine ‘Fruit Salad’ (on hold). I also write children's fiction and inspirational pieces.
Published August 7th 2016
A guide to hearing loss for family & friends
Read it to find out why it's called Rather a Small Chicken… A guide to hearing loss for family and friends.
The book launch for Rather a Small Chicken… A guide to hearing loss for family and friends, was held on 7 August 2016. This book is a God-send for all sufferers of hearing loss and their loved ones. The author, Pamela Heemskerk, works in Allied Health, speaks Auslan sign language and is a self-confessed jigsaw addict. Pamela's book is a collection of observations about hearing impairment and hearing aid use. Pamela wants to challenge people with her book to understand more about hearing loss. The title of the book comes from a hilarious mistranslation made at the dinner table.
The launch was well attended and appreciated with fun activities like finding hidden chickens and a contest to create the best plasticine ear. Useful facts about hearing loss were provided. Hearing impairment is called 'the invisible handicap' because hearing loss is usually gradual, painless and there are no outward signs. The hearing impaired can suffer from depression, isolation and alienation. Hearing loss is the third most prevalent medical condition in older ages after arthritis and hypertension. Noise-induced hearing loss is the most common cause.
People had travelled from Brisbane for this long-awaited book and some of them were those with hearing difficulties. Psychologist Vince Little, a guest speaker, recommended the book for families and partners of the hearing impaired.
Pamela didn't initially see herself as a writer, but encouragement came from a member of her writers' group. Self-publishing presented itself as the best option. Pamela related some amusing stories of misheard conversations, one of which went something like this - 'Who was on the phone? Oh, it was my sister.' 'No, I said, do you want some avocado?' This is an interesting example of communication difficulties which are not always something to laugh about, such as work-related conversations which can have embarrassing results.
Hearing aids don't work the way people think they do, ie just turn up the volume and the problem is fixed. Hearing loss is about multiple frequencies. With hearing impairment, not all of any given sound can be heard - pieces of the sound are missing. Pamela explains in her book that sounds have a set of frequencies, timings and rhythms giving the sound an identity. This is called the 'sound print' which we use to distinguish between different sound sources.
Once hearing aids are used the wearer 'behind the hearing aid' must re-learn how to hear. Hearing aids only work within a two-metre radius, which wasn't explained to Pamela when she first got hers.
Author Pamela Heemskerk signing Rather a Small Chicken.
Hearing loss places severe stress on relationships with people becoming frustrated with each other. Non-verbal responses can be people staring at the hearing impaired, appearing to be thinking 'you didn't hear what I said did you?' Daily challenges of this nature and trying to translate a sentence while the other person has moved on in the conversation, is a tiring exercise. The hearing impaired sometimes experience anger and ridicule from strangers who don't understand hearing loss.
The Rather a Small Chicken book launch was attended by author Adele Jones who also recommends the book as providing greater understanding and compassion for the hearing impaired.
People who are new to hearing aids will find relief from Pamela's wealth of thirty years' experience. For family members and friends this book will deliver greater understanding.
I`ve had the opportunity to come across this book, can`t quite remember how...But I know I ended up reading the whole thing from cover to cover. The author hands out so much valuable information in a really funny and easy-to-read kind of way. She is absolutely right when it comes to adjusting to a hearing aid. It takes time. There are many different types of hearing aids on the market. Here`s an article that explains it very well:http://www.hearlink.com.au/industry-news/explaining-different-types-hearing-aids/