Columnist Peter Leith is 91-and-a-half and struggling with hearing and vision loss. Despite the ‘connectedness’ of the world today, he tells why he is sometimes lonely.
Quite often in the past 90-plus years of living, I have experienced ‘being alone’ without any frequent or regular direct communication with other humans.
In the past few years, I have been living in an ever-changing world of increasing isolation. Both my vision and hearing continue to deteriorate. More than nine decades of trying to satisfy my own ‘constant curiosity’ are coming to an end.
Everyone has, to a greater or lesser extent, experienced ‘being alone in your own head’.
The ever-accelerating growth of electronic media has made isolation increasingly rare and, if you seek it, hard to sustain. Unless you are deaf or blind, you cannot escape being constantly ‘informed’ about what is going on in the world.
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Trying to see, hear and comprehend everything that is going on around you demands constant effort. While such effort undoubtedly delays the onset of dementia, it is also very tiring.
Most people who have, or think they have, ‘normal’ vision and hearing have no way of understanding the limitations of someone without perfect vision and they take it for granted that their audience can see and hear what they see and hear. Some of them get quite testy at being asked to repeat what they have just said.
Which is understandable. All of us like to think that what we say is worth listening to.
The person who is hearing and/or vision impaired, tends to feel a bit isolated, a bit lonely.
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Being vision impaired is not as much of a conversation impediment as being deaf. Unless someone is actually pointing something out to you, most people are both unaware and unconcerned about what you can and do not actually see!
They quickly realise and sometimes get a bit testy if you do not understand what they are talking about.
Most of us much prefer speaking to listening and that is what makes being both hearing and vision impaired quite a solitary state. Peter Sarstedt sang, ‘Where do you go to my lovely, when you’re alone in your bed,’ but change bed to head, and those words are particularly apt for me.
Do you sometimes feel lonely despite the avalanche of news and communication options? Share your views in the comments section below.
Do you have a story or an observation for Peter? Send it to [email protected].
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