It was a simple mistake. The payback for that mistake is written on the utility bill now. Jake now needed to come up with an unexpected cost of one thousand dollars. Unsure what he will do or how he would come up with this money.
It started about three weeks ago, in the spare bathroom next to the front entrance. Jake needed to use the bathroom quickly after returning home one day. He entered the guest bathroom in his 1400 square space unit. Usually, he would use the ensuite bathroom in his bedroom. Out of his usual routine, he stepped into the washroom right at the entrance and flushed the toilet. Nothing seems out of the ordinary. He went on to carry on his activity for the next three days.
The opening of the flush valve would not close. The flapper tilted over, and it was not sitting down correctly. The water supply kept coming and coming through, draining water out of the tank as it entered. One hour later, the water kept running. 24 hours later, nothing was stopping the water from running. 39 hours later, running water continued to flow in and out of the tank. Finally, the toilet tank reached cold temperatures as the cold water supply cooled the toilet surface.
The sound of running water whispering around forty decibels throughout the condo unit. The sound level of a quiet library or the refrigerator humming. On Saturday morning, Jake’s son came to visit over the weekend for a change of scenery away from his college campus. Upon his entrance, Jake’s son can hear the toilet running. He was aware of this reoccurring problem with his Dad not hearing things at times. So his son figured out the problem and adjusted the flapper inside the tank to stop the water from flowing. Of course, Jake didn’t know any of this because his son never told him. Well, until he saw the bill.
Jake is thinking to himself that he needs to pay better attention to things. It is natural for Jake to believe that his lack of attention is the problem. Many would think this is an attention problem. As individuals with hearing loss, we are taught to think that attention should be our strength to manage when we can’t hear. We are to believe that we have a sixth sense to control what we can’t hear.
To Pay Attention
Attention in biological terms is mainly about the level of our alertness and how we engage with our surroundings. Attention is about focusing and processing specific information that we are doing. Our body was specifically designed to limit the number of things we focus on. It was purposely designed for our survival.
Not all human beings have the same level of focus. In fact, we all have a different range of attention determined by our genes. Many centuries ago, back in our hunter days, we needed a community of people who had different levels of awareness. Each group member was assigned roles and responsibilities to collectively survive. In modern times, we’ve managed to create an external environment that is structured and organized to focus on tasks that require a lot of our attention.
Our society favours people who can do repetitive jobs that are less stimulating for a very long time, particularly in the workforce. Yet, the brain naturally can’t always keep focus. We are wired for some distraction to help us change focus and attention from time to time.
If you have short attention span genes, you are not looking for the small details in your environment. If you have long attention span genes, you are too focused on the small details that you can’t see what else is around you. Attention span can be obscured based on environmental factors such as diseases, illnesses, stress, and substance abuse like alcohol or drugs.
Distraction is natural
As individuals with hearing loss, we are more likely to be distracted than hearing individuals. This is because we take in a broader view of things. We add our visual perception to our attention more than hearing folks. Our vision is accessing what’s essential or not. Without the audio cue to filter our attention, it needs to be seen for our attention to be there. So we tend to fall into the lower end of the attention span. This is one of the many reasons why children with hearing loss are misdiagnosed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
There are multiple types of attention needed at any given time. Sometimes we concentrate on spending more time on one thing. Other times we have to block distractions to stay focused. For example, we sometimes need to do multiple tasks with equal attention when driving a car.
We are giving a selected number of reserves for attention. Part of our brain balances between conscious awareness to unconscious habits. To bring us out of our unconscious mind, there needs to be an awake subject, which draws our attention from one thing to another. This is what clinical scientists call focus attention.
In order to act, we need to know, and in order to know, we need a greater perception of our surroundings. This is why alerting devices can help us focus on what matters to us the most. We no longer need to rely on visual cues on our own to access what sounds we are missing or when we can’t see the problem. Instead, we have the tools to effectively engage.
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