Sometimes in life, you need to take a risk — go outside your normal day-to-day routine for a chance to enrich your life, learn something new, or push yourself to develop new skills. For me, that time is now. I am embarking on a 4-week yoga teacher training in Fiji. It is something I have always wanted to do and the timing is perfect with my children at summer camp. Maybe one day I will teach yoga classes for people with hearing loss.
I am excited, but also scared. Yoga teacher trainings are not for the weary. They typically include at least 200 hours of instruction and practice. On my program, this averages out to about 9 hours daily. How will I manage the hearing loss exhaustion?
My worries are many:
- Will I be able to fully hear the instructors?
- Will my typical hearing loss work-arounds apply in this unique environment?
- Will I be able to absorb the new information, most of which will be presented orally, while battling listening fatigue?
- How will I keep up with my likely-to-be much younger fellow students?
- How will I cope with being so far away from my support network?
These are real concerns, but ones I have tried to assuage through preparation. Well, except for the age issue — not much I can do about that.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.” That is what I keep telling myself. Here are the steps I have taken thus far:
1. I self-identified well in advance. Before signing up, I told the instructors about my hearing loss and discussed my concerns. They assured me that they have had people with hearing loss in their trainings before with no issue. I will also let all the participants know about my hearing loss right at the start, so they are prepared for the likely mis-hearings in our future.
2. I tested the voices. I spoke to the primary teacher on the phone to see if her voice was easy for me to hear. Thankfully, it was. And she is not a mumbler!
3. I reviewed the material in advance. I did some pre-reading to familiarize myself with the terms and concepts that will be covered. This way, it won’t be the first time I am “hearing” some of these new words.
4. I planned for hearing aid malfunction. I am bringing back-up hearing aids. I have also loaded several speech-to-text apps onto my phone in case I need additional assistance. I don’t use a Roger pen or other FM-type device, but if I did, I would have brought those too, including extra batteries and chargers!
5. I took care of my health. I practice yoga almost everyday, but I have made a special effort to eat well and get plenty of rest in the weeks heading into the training. Bringing a strong body to bear will be a good head start.
6. I set up a mobile support system. My family and I have figured out ways we can stay in touch while we are far apart including WhatsApp calling and texting, which is free over Wi-Fi. It won’t be the same as being in the same room, but it is something.
As I write this, I am well on my way. I have scheduled posts for the time I am gone, but please forgive me if it takes a little extra time for me to reply to comments for the next few weeks. Wish me luck!
Readers, do you let your hearing loss keep you from taking on a new challenge?