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Long Island Sound
Dr. Larry’s Most Embarrassing Secret Don’t Let Your Hearing Stay in the Gutter I’m about to reveal an embarrassing secret, one that I typically try to keep to myself and avoid telling a single other soul: I was in a bowling league in grammar school.
abundance of new sounds, and develop your focus. I encourage my patients to wear their hearing aids full time so that they can really master the art of active listening. (Remember: people who have normal hearing hear normally all the time – whether they like it or not!) When I stepped up to the foul line for the first time last May, I was feeling self- conscious at my lack of bowling prowess. What if I messed up? What if I humiliated myself? I made my share of mistakes, but once I relaxed and let the worries leave my mind, I bowled much better. Don’t let fear or impatience get in the way of participating in conversation. Make a conscious decision to put yourself out there and do your best at listening – you’ll be glad you did.
There it is. Yes, it was an uncool thing to do. Yes, I did have my own custom-made bowling ball — my favorite color, royal blue. And yes, I did use one of those goofy wrist braces. In my opinion, it didn’t help my game much, but it did look good. At least I thought so at the time. For about a year, I would show up once a week to the league and bowl. You would think that bowling every week with a coach and fellow teammates would turn me into at least a decent bowler, but you would be incorrect. I remember admiring my fellow teammates who were adept enough to roll consistent turkeys, but when it came to my own game, I struggled. However, despite my consistently mediocre performance, I learned how to have fun during those weekly competitions — an important lesson for any kid. Last May, the Valley Stream Lions Club put on a big bowling fundraiser. At first, I hesitated to accept the invitation, but that lesson came back to me: If you only do things you are great at, you will miss out on a lot of life. Besides, I’ve been a member of the Valley Stream Lions Club for many years and they are a terrific organization dedicated to helping those in need. (For more information, see e-clubhouse.org/ sites/valleystream/projects/php). It was the first time I’d bowled since that
year in grammar school, and I was jarred by the changes I saw in the sport. Gone were the little golf pencils and wide paper scoring sheets, replaced by flat-screens suspended above the lanes that played animated cartoons after every roll. What I wasn’t shocked by was my skill level. I’ll just say that I was more than a little rusty. It was a lot of fun anyway. Plus, with every frame, the muscle memory came back little by little. In many ways, listening is a lot like bowling. It’s a skill you master through practice and exposure. Dozens of factors affect your active listening ability at any moment: background noise, conversation volume, how fast the person you are listening to is talking, or the cacophony of bowling balls striking the pins out on the lanes. For this reason, achieving adequate listening ability takes time . I didn’t head to the bowling alley for the first time since grammar school and expect to be a fantastic bowler. It’s the same thing when someone begins hearing sounds they have been missing. You can’t slap on hearing aids and expect to be able to listen perfectly right away. The aids need to be adjusted as you become acclimated to hearing more, but your own skills need to develop. You need to relearn how to filter out ambient chatter, adapt to the
– We’re listening to you®.
– Lawrence Cardano, Au.D.
Dr. Larry at the lanes
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