Chris DeWald: Hearing loss with strokes

Hello, readers. I had a wonderful adventure the other day, and I thought I would share it. According to the American Heart Association, stroke can affect people in different ways. It depends on the type of stroke, the area of the brain affected and the extent of the brain injury. Brain injury from a stroke can affect the senses (such as eyesight, touch, awareness of body positioning), motor activity (movement of arms or legs), speech and the ability to understand speech. It can also affect behavioral and thought patterns, memory and emotions. Paralysis or weakness (the inability to move the arms or legs properly, or at all) on one side of the body is common.

After a stroke, most of these problems can improve over time. In some patients they will go away completely. I am not one of those patients. Yes, I have improved but issues remain where I can not return to any type of work.

The American Heart Association also writes that stroke usually doesn’t cause hearing loss, but people may have problems understanding speech. They also may have trouble saying what they’re thinking. This is called aphasia. Aphasia affects the ability to talk, listen, read and write. It’s most common with a stroke on the left side of the brain (because the speech and language center of the brain is located on the left side of the brain), which may also weaken the body’s right side. Another possible symptom of a left-brain stroke is weakness on the right side of the body. Stroke effects can be found at

Now there are some that beg to differ on the hearing study. I am one of those. I take it as who’s shoes you are in. I am in sneakers. OK, it’s a joke people on the sneakers.

I agree on one point, I do have issues understanding certain linguistics. Wow, a big word for me. So, I can’t understand certain inflections that are foreign. I guess it is because the brain is trying to reprogram what it is hearing and renewing the data base in the brain.

Mine does not work, apparently. The other day I clearly understood a couple speaking Spanish wherein the words were pronounced in a dialect I knew. I understand English but do find myself saying, “What?” quite a bit. Sometimes it is the speed of the person talking or a form of slang thrown in the middle of the sentence where the mind pauses to understand what was being said. Then here it comes “What”? You can see the frustrations on the person talking to you, then you get frustrated as you are trying. Strokers? Let me tell you, some have lost the veil of keeping things internal and lash out without thinking it through. Magical words formed in the military or teenage years seem just to come out during this frustration. It may be directed at you, or a release for them as they try to adjust.

Now, after attempting to explain that some stroke survivors have this and it does not just get up and disappear, I shall tell you a story.

Yesterday, I had to buy a new monitor for my computer. My computer is over 6 years old, and it works. Knock on some wood, please. I tried to setup my new LCD monitor and was surprised it came with a CD disc for startup. Usually, you just plug a new one in and go. I plugged it in, and it went into a mode that told me my input did not match the monitor. A white rectangle kept moving about the screen and covered a third of my monitor. I could not get it to disappear.

So what do I do, ahhh, a manual. I grab the manual, typical male, and open it. It was just the warranty in four different languages with call this help number. So, I called the help number. I waited on hold for 45 minutes and had a foreign-speaking toned man. He had me for 30 minutes getting the information from me, and I wish I had a quarter for every “What?” I said. I could hear the frustration in his voice. He finally said, very rudely, he can not help me. My computer is too old. He then gave me a live chat address for my computer. Wonderful, a third of my screen had a roving square telling me my input was bad. So, I start typing in the address block in between this moving roving square.

I got into live chat and within three minutes and had a live person (I think) typing to me. Now, picture yourself chatting in between a roving block and trying to read. Now think of a stroke survivor doing it. I started laughing because this was too surreal. I told her I was a stroke survivor and typed slow and had a roving square I could not get rid off. She was nice in writing, and I understood her wording format. She agreed my computer was old enough that they did not keep records on it, but could help me anyway and solve my issue. I say less than two minutes, she told me how to correct it to display the input that my old computer would only put out, and I was done.

So now I have a new screen. It is working and displaying this WordPerfect edition right now. So, the lesson learned. For the stroke survivors, this may be part of your stroke and is now a normal mode for you. Don’t blame yourself and ask for someone who can speak English if you get frustrated. Tell them why you need an English-speaking person without the inflections on certain words. I did not. I got hard-headed, and it did not get us anywhere. “Say what?”

If you can read and understand written word better, ask for an on line chat person. Explain to them that you are a survivor and are slow typing or whatever your shortcoming may be. It does work. For the people who know a stroke survivor, please realize this is part of the physical strike taken against them. They can not help it, so please be kind.

Column by Chris DeWald

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