Blog: A few ramblings about rambling…
By Gill Pestell, Hearing Link volunteer
One of my greatest pleasures is being out in the countryside enjoying the exercise, fresh air and the wonders of nature and landscape. I love it so much!
If you have a hearing loss it can be unnerving to have cyclists or runners whizz up from behind when out walking on shared paths. It worries me that I might meander into their path, so I fix a badge and an alerting sign from Hearing Link’s Personal Awareness Pack to my rucksack (as shown below).
When walking with others in a group, it also serves to remind them that I might not be ignoring them! Not hearing has led to some interesting experiences when it comes to my outdoor pursuits.
My husband and I enjoyed an activity holiday in Snowdonia when our children were young. Whilst scrambling up a rockface, with my arms and legs outstretched, I got stuck and could not see where to go next. The instructor was shouting instructions, but I could not see him to lipread. I can’t remember how the rest played out because I must have got up or down somehow; but it is a good example of how alerting others to your needs is important.
When the weather is bad, and as we head into winter, it can be a worry that your hearing aid or cochlear implant (CI) processor might get wet. I would encourage these users to ensure that appropriate headgear is worn and is weatherproof.
I remember one day after a swim I replaced my CI processor after towelling my hair dry. I then sat down for lunch. Suddenly there was a very loud sound like machine gunfire. I whipped my processor off, realising that moisture had probably seeped into the device. I quickly took everything apart as much as I could, laid it out to dry, and mercifully everything was OK.
If you want to join in group chat while out and about you do have to make an effort. Others probably won’t notice you are not joining in and you don’t want to make an issue of it but you often miss out on chat and camaraderie as a result. This applies to any group activity outdoors and I sometimes find that hard to deal with. I think that sometimes you do need to be thick-skinned.
Occasionally, I have got home from a ramble and realised I missed enjoying the scenery because I have been lipreading too much – it is a trade-off! Anyway, lipreading on mountain paths can be a hazardous 16 occupation so is best avoided!
Gill’s story originally featured in inTouch magazine. To read more inspiring stories, visit: https://www.hearinglink.org/connect/magazine/