I ENJOY MAKING CALLS WITH PEDIUS: AN INTERVIEW WITH LOUISE
Hello Louise, over the last 3 years of our studies in sports and health management we have become good friends and we have experienced a lot together. Can you explain to us why you are hearing impaired and what degree of hearing impairment you suffer?
I don’t know why I’m hearing impaired. I have been profoundly hard of hearing since birth. My mother got sick with bronchitis and suffered a high fever during the first trimester of her pregnancy so she was treated with antibiotics, the further course of pregnancy was normal. I was given exercise therapy because I couldn’t turn myself when I was six months old and the motoric development took place with a slight delay. I hardly had a crawling phase for example and I learned to walk late when I was 1 1/2 years old. I was a quiet child at the time, I used to sleep for long periods and I slurred a little. My parents did not suspect for a long time that my hearing might be impaired since I was a very active baby in my surroundings and I was visually very attentive. When the hearing reactions became noticeable, the ENT examination revealed adenoid growths and tympanic effusions. When I was three years old I had my polyps removed and tubes placed and my hearing improved a little but not with a normal hearing response or any significant improvement in speech. In April 2002, two months before my fourth birthday, I was diagnosed with an inner ear hearing loss of 60 – 80 decibels (dB) in the speech area at the medical university. Normal hearing is up to 20 dB for an average healthy person and the limit considered uncomfortable for a person with normal hearing is around 80-85 dB and any sound pressure levels above this require noise protection. My hearing aids were adjusted after many examinations, at the end of April 2002.
And then what happened? How did you deal with it in your private life and at school?
I attended a language therapy kindergarten from the summer of 2002 while at the same time, I received accompanying hearing and speech therapy. I enrolled in school in the summer of 2004 but I was postponed from attending school due to a general developmental delay. I started school a year later in the regular elementary school while I continued to receive specific support for the hearing impaired. My parents and family (with normal hearing) have been and still are a great support to me and I am very grateful for it. It wasn’t always easy for me. I dropped out of high school at the end of the ninth grade because inclusion was not as advanced then as it is today. I completed my advanced secondary school diploma at the Federal Education Centre for the Deaf in Osnabrück and then completed high school in my hometown Stadthagen. After graduating from high school, I went to Hanover to study Sports and Health Management because since I was a kid I have always been very interested in sports. My teachers and lecturers during class had to wear an FM system (microport system) around their necks while talking. This system forwards sound waves to my hearing aids via Bluetooth and enables me to understand what is being said much better when background noise is reduced. The FM system has been and will also be a great technical help for me in the future. I can also listen to music on my cell phone through this system. I have lived with my boyfriend since the beginning of my studies, he is a great support to me and I’m happy to have great friends who accept me for who I am.
What are the most common communication problems you experience? Like for example in which places, with which people and what are the most common causes?
I need a clear face image for good communication. Since both the visually readable sounds and the tones heard using my hearing aids represent only fragments of the spoken word, I have to guess the transmitted information during the short period of perception like a crossword puzzle. In everyday school life as well as during my studies I did not understand a lot, for example when I had to take notes without looking at the teacher or lecturer or with a lot of background noise. I always had to ask or copy the people sitting next to me if I didn’t notice something. This has always been a common situation for me as for when I was in the playground or in the group with classmates and I wanted to hear the others talking to each other. Somehow, I always got it done, by lip reading and the few bits of words I understood. I was always so tired back home after long days at school. I avoided talking over the phone before I got the chance to know Pedius as I also rely on the mouth image. Communication in public is extremely difficult for me even now in the corona pandemic because lip reading with a mask is impossible and I often have to ask.
What would you like to do professionally and in your free time in the future? What are your goals and what do you enjoy most?
I will continue studying Business Administration after graduating in Sports and Health Management. Meanwhile I am searching for positions in Human Resources and Corporate Health Management since I enjoy working with other people. My goal is to have a good job that I like and that gives me financial security. I would like to start a family later on. In my free time I do fitness and ride my bike. I also play the piano and hang out with family and friends.
Do you have fears or rather are you worried about situations in the future?
I have no fears. Of course, I hope that we can enjoy life as well as we did before the Corona period and that there will be no more pandemics. Nonetheless, I remain optimistic and try to make the best out of it. I think that getting angry doesn’t help at all.
I showed you Pedius a few weeks ago. What is your opinion about the app and do you think that Pedius can be helpful to you in everyday life and at work?
I am very enthusiastic about Pedius and I can recommend it to everyone. Before I was told about Pedius, I always said to my family and friends that there should be an app like Pedius to enable deaf people to really “hear” phone calls. Pedius will for sure help me in the future at work in a company where I will need to make phone calls. The app is super easy to use and can be downloaded very easily, whether for Android or iOS. Since using Pedius, I have enjoyed making calls a lot more.