Listen Up!
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Student Life

Listen Up!

Why You Don't Want to Lose Your Hearing: And Why You Are.

Listen Up!

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable experiences of my time in college thus far has been the variety of assignments I am able to enjoy through various classes at Whitworth. If that sounds kooky to you, hopefully you are only almost done with your first full week of your first semester or maybe you should explore some additional courses during your time in university. Regardless of your reasons, let me explain myself. As an English major, I am very comfortable writing papers and I freak out just a little bit every time anything I deem “too artsy” is assigned in a class. That being said, I have had to complete a variety of activities that have included compiling articles of clothing that represent anger, walking around campus while wearing a blindfold and stumbling over strategically-placed scavenger hunt objects, as well as creating a playlist for characters in a nineteenth-century American novel. Lately, I have added one more strange experience to the list I have labeled “weird stuff Rachael does so she can get a good grade.” This week, I spent three hours being deaf.

I am taking an American Sign Language course this semester which so far has served not only to begin to teach me the basics of a different language and culture, but has caused me to consider my own ability to hear and interactions with people who cannot hear the way I can. One of our assignments this week was to spend three hours without speaking, listening to music, or communicating with people outside of the use of signs. The minute I started this assignment, I wanted it to be done.

I am a shower-singer. I am a headphone-walker. I am listening to music as I am writing this article even.

This assignment was hell for many reasons, some of which involve the six other girls I live with who could not understand what my head gestures, facial expressions, or wild hand motions meant for the life of them. Exasperation on both sides. A lot of rolled eyes, coming from my end. Eye contact was crucial to communication. I understood this immediately, but it seemed as though I had to make a complete spectacle of myself for anyone to pay attention to me. Great lesson in the actual significance of everyday conversation. Hint: It’s not. But I couldn’t help thinking: What if it was?

After another class, my friend who is taking the class as well was terrified of the impact of hearing loss, thanks to this video:

Follow this link to both figure out how old your hearing is and also to get a good scare.

As college students, we are used to rock concerts, music devices, and loud car stereos. We mow, some of us ride motorcycles, some of us are around screaming children. We don’t know how much this impacts our hearing, which can be seen in a study from Health Day News, which discovered that 1 out of 4 college students has hearing loss. “The research included 56 students, average age 21, who were asked to assess their own hearing and then underwent hearing tests. One-quarter of the students who believed they had normal hearing did not. Instead, those students had 15 decibels or more of hearing loss at one or more test frequencies."

If there is anything the assignment taught me was that I am nowhere near to being able to hear very well for forever. I need to preserve the amount of hearing that I still have and we all should do the same. Believe me, not being able to communicate with your voice is not fun. Not hearing people is not fun. Do what you can, minimize the amount of time you spend at rock concerts or dance clubs and put your headphones away. Listen up now or you won’t be able to listen up for long.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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