Friday’s Fiver was themed about hearing, thanks to the Hear the World initiative’s prompting. And I’m glad, because it sparked more conversation here at home…with my son Liam.
We talked about what it means to hear, and the sounds we love. We experimented with our own hearing – covering our ears, standing far apart and whispering – trying to read each others lips. We talked about what it means to suffer from hearing loss, in varying degrees. For that lesson, I had a good example.
My father was a Navy SEAL, and was on the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team before there were SEALS. As a result of being up close and personal with LOTS of explosives, Liam’s Grandpa wears two hearing aids. I’d never discussed it with him before, but now I realize that Liam needed to understand this situation in order to better interact with my Dad. Being four, Liam sometimes mumbles and often doesn’t raise his voice loudly enough when answering adults. This happens frequently with Grandpa, and results in frustration for both of them – normally ending with me loudly repeating what Liam has said, and usually ending their conversation unintentionally.
While Liam and I were talking about how frustrating is might be to only partially hear what someone is saying, he turned to me and said “Mama, is that why Grandpa doesn’t answer me sometimes?” I told him that it was, and showed him photos of Grandpa when he was young. Photos of Grandpa diving, and photos of Grandpa with explosives. Even though I had thought Liam too young for this discussion, I had underestimated him – he got it. And when my Dad came over for dinner yesterday, Liam made a conscious effort to speak loudly, more slowly and more distinctly than normal.
And he and Grandpa talked longer and with less interruption than ever before. Both were tickled. We had raised awareness.
That’s exactly what the “Show us your Hearing” competition that’s running at Hear the World is all about. Getting us to talk about, to think about hearing. Maybe share experiences with others so that all can be better educated. How are they doing this? Well, they’re asking you to take a photo. A photo with you, (or someone close to you) in the “conscious pose of hearing” – hand cupped behind ear. (See the photo of Liam at his soccer game this morning for our example.)
Then send in that photo for a chance to win a sweet new Polaroid Camera. They’re also giving away $50.00 iTunes gift cards – one drawing is just for folks who come vote on the photos! Head over to the Hear the World site for all details, to enter, to view the gallery and to vote. But, one way or the other…get involved!
The folks in our Fiver this week have gotten involved. They’re all Hear the World Ambassadors…;)
Track 1: Annie Lennox – “A Thousand Beautiful Things”
Track 2: John Legend – “We Just Don’t Care”
Track 3: Peter Gabriel – “Down to Earth” from the Wall-E Soundtrack
Track 4: Sting – “Englishman in New York”
Track 5: Placido Domingo (with Andrea Bocelli and the Vienna Boys Choir) – “Panis Angelicus”
All photos taken by Bryan Adams for Hear the World.