In my Hear Better in Six Weeks course we have a closed Facebook group where my students and myself share our progress in mastering our life with hearing loss.
What my students like about it is that by reading other people’s challenges they feel like they’re not alone, and get the inspiration they need to believe they can live well with hearing loss.
I shared with my course group a story about the challenge of beginning a new workout practice in a new city. My students liked it so I decided to share it with my newsletter readers.
I hope you like it, too!
In my last year in Bali I’ve been working out at home, which has been a convenient way to keep fit but I’ve found it a bit boring in the long run.
Now that I live in Barcelona I want to do something more exciting: I want to join a new street workout movement called Calisthenics.
It’s a newish trendy form of gymnastics that involves lots of pull ups in parks. It can be done alone, with a partner or in group. Sounds fun right?
Only one problem: when I workout I don’t wear hearing aids (they’re the RIC type) to protect them from too much sweat. It’s never been a big issue so far because I didn’t have to talk to other people when working out alone. But, if I want to meet new people at the park and workout with them, it’s not going to be possible without my HAs.
I didn’t know how to solve this problem so I took some time to journal about it. Here’s a copy and paste of my diary:
“Problem: I’m not sure I can wear my hearing aids during a workout if I sweat too much. And if I do so I won’t be able to socialise with people. I will feel a bit lost with so many people around me. Is the sweat really too much to take for a workout? If I don’t run to the park, and I go at sunset, perhaps I can deal with the sweat, especially if I dry myself frequently. Wait, what if I use a spongy headband? Woah! How about two headbands, one over the other?”
In two paragraphs I had already identified a potential solution: headband! So obvious, duh! Two headbands, one under and one over hearing aids, could give me extra protection for ball sports. Such as squash and beach volley. That’s for a later experiment though. So I went out and bought two sport headbands. I did some tests outside of the sport shop, excited to try them. They seemed comfortable, both the one and two headband setup.
I was now ready for my experiment!
Armed with my new headband, I ran to the park wearing hearing aids, I had a full workout and ran back.
Success: my HAs were perfectly dry! And my sports band soaking wet. Yay!
Now, to the fun part of the story.
When I got to the park I was resolved to make friends with other Calisthenics athletes.
There was half a dozen people there, but they were all looking very serious during reps and during their very short breaks. They all wore headphones.
Nobody did eye contact with anybody.
However, I was determined to make new friends.
I approached a young guy who had just finished a set of pull ups and was staring blankly at something: “Hola?”
He doesn’t see me.
I wave at him: “Holaaaa?!??!”
He pulls his earphone out and gives me a startled look.
We exchanged the most awkward set of half sentences ever.
It wasn’t working.
I politely let him return to his workout.
Maybe I was being awkward myself, or maybe I broke some protocol I didn’t know about. Who knows!
Making friends at the park turned out to be a harder challenge than my whole HAs problem.
I’ll try to talk to someone else next time!
If I was to read a morale from this story I’d say it is this: no matter how long you’ve lived with hearing loss and how well you think you’re coping, life will always throw new challenges at you that you don’t know how to solve. Good news is that if put in the work you can find a way around most challenges!
Now I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures of my sport headband setup, I look too much like an aerobic enthusiast from the ’80s, what do you think?
PS: this piece went out of my Friday newsletter. If you’d like to receive my next thoughts, click on this link to join.