I learned a very important lesson today.
Sometimes it’s not just about going through the motions….it’s about what you put in it, pushing yourself, and being confident.
I think after about 26 years of on and off aural rehab/speech (was diagnosed at 20 months with hearing loss) and always feeling stuck that it’s easy to just feel like I’m just going through the motions because I don’t know what else to do. I also always felt like I was trying to do the impossible and I had no idea how to listen or how to make it work for me whatsoever.
I have a very low confidence when it comes to speech and aural rehab because 1) I’m my own worst critic 2) I have no idea what in the heck I’m doing 3) It’s always been the one constant thing that I’ve never been good at, not even close at any point in my life 4) It was always the one thing in school that had a knack for driving me to tears/anger out of frustration that I simply could not get it right no matter what I did or how hard I tried…..and I just didn’t understand it at all….
I found myself stuck once again during practice aural rehab sessions this week. I took my weekly test today with the usual 10 levels and 50 words from closed set groups of 4.
Day 1: 60% (background noise: rain on metal roof)
Day 7: 48% (background noise: girls moving into dorms which is in the same compound as my house, and we do not have ceilings)
Day 8 : 68% (I was not happy with the 48% test result so I tried again when there was no background noise)
Day 15: 62% (background noise: a few random noisy kids every once in a while)
Day 21 (attempt #1): 64% (background noise: occasional animal noises but pretty quiet for the most part)
I was not happy with my test score, it should have been around 70% since there was very little background noise. I also found myself getting 60% on levels I know I should have gotten 90-100%. I also found myself missing words that I was second guessing myself on, I had the right word in mind then I would over think it and think there was no way I could be right so I would pick a different word which would turn out to be the wrong one.
My frustration level was climbing high quickly then I quickly took a breath and gave myself a pep talk. I told myself I should at least be able to get 70% on this because I was getting 60% on the easy levels when I know I can do better than that and I needed to take advantage of having a quiet listening environment for once.
I then told myself I would retake the test, really focus, really think about and process what I was hearing, and be confident.
It took twice as long and I felt like I had done an hour of aural rehab after a 15 minute test because it is mentally exhausting. I would listen to the word, try to pick out the sounds I thought I heard and ask myself what made me think I heard those particular sounds, then I would look at the words, think about how I think each word might sound, and then I would try to recall what I heard and see if what I think I heard matched up with what I think the word should sound like. I also tried to stop second guessing myself. There were a few moments when either I second guessed myself or I let my attention wander and I would always choose the wrong word then.
Sometimes it’s all about the attitude and not just going through the motions.
I am pleased to say that after my second attempt that I got a 84% and got 100% on the first 25 words out of 50. I only got below 80% on two levels.
I think I just set the bar pretty high for myself, now to see if I can continue to get over that bar. My goal is that if I take this test next week with background noise then I expect myself to get somewhere in the 70% range but if I take this test in a quiet environment then I expect myself to get somewhere in the 80% range. If I find myself becoming frustrated with myself, my attention wandering, or second-guessing myself then I will stop and restart.
Sometimes it’s all about the approach and the attitude and not just going through the motions.