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 Post subject: Hearing problems.
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:20 pm 
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Is it only me? We have been in France 4 years come December. I started learning French after that New Year in a 2 twice weekly beginners class that started the previous September, so a lot of catching up to do. By the end of the year I was just about holding my own. Everyone in the class noticed that I have a hearing problem. It was suggested to me by a doctor when back in UK that I was probably lip reading subconsciously. Sitting in a class with people you know to help and encourage you is one thing but sitting facing a French national, be it in the doctors, CPAM, bank, neighbour is entirely different, and lip reading is out the window. I do Duolingo every morning, be it 20 minutes or an hour and even that I am surprised I am hearing the wrong words (with headphones on) I am on 696 day streak, so I am persevering, although I do get embarrassed at my grasp of the language. Are others having problems with the language?


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 Post subject: Re: Hearing problems.
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:30 pm 
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Location: Ille et Villaine (35)
Hi Steamgunner and welcome to the forum !

Learning a language gets more difficult the older you are when you start and it is quite natural to lose the ability to hear and imitate some of the sounds - though there will always be those who are an exception !

Have you been to your doctor to check your hearing ? He may send you to a specialist to assess you - and perhaps help you.

Hearing the wrong words is easily done and is not necessarily a medical problem, but a linguistic one. Think of songs you have heard in English but have misheard the words !


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 Post subject: Re: Hearing problems.
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 9:17 pm 
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It has been ongoing for 20+ years, 19.5% hearing loss with tinnitus. Although the MOD reckon it's fine. They lost my medical records, very convenient for them. Just embarrassed that my French is not up to scratch, after 3,1/2 years, it should be.


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 Post subject: Re: Hearing problems.
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 9:30 pm 
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Location: Ille et Villaine (35)
It sounds as if you have been too close to guns ....

3 1/2 hears isn't a long time for learning a language and you certainly shouldn't be embarrassed by it. There are a good many Brits who have been living in France for a lot longer than you have and have never made any attempt to learn the language. The French really appreciate someone who tries. The first years are the hardest, with peaks and troughs and feeling that you are never getting anywhere. Then there are "déclics" when suddenly something starts to make sense. When you start learning a language, you are trying to absorb an awful lot at once and as an adult, it's really hard. It's sickening the way children just pick it up in no time at all !!!

Yes, it's very frustrating, and must be even more so for you if you have difficulty in hearing. The best thing is to ask people to repeat things slowly - and it's better to admit you can't hear than be thought stupid. Once people understand the problem, they should be more helpful.

You may find you would progress better with some one-to-one lessons.


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 Post subject: Re: Hearing problems.
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:52 am 
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Location: Le Périgord Vert (24)
I feel much the same way, Steamgunner, and I have lived here for more than 16 years.

I too came to the conclusion that there might be a hearing problem because I found that I was missing things that were said in English as well as French.

So I tested at the pharmacy and bought a small hearing aid which is very good.

The only problem is that I don't need to wear it all the time, only when I know I am going to be in a group with conversation going on, and the little battery which is supposed to last for 8 to 10 hours doesn't stop losing power even when the apparatus is switched to zero. Thus, each time I want to use it I have to put a new battery in. They aren't expensive but it is a nuisance.

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 Post subject: Re: Hearing problems.
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:53 am 
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Location: Gers 32
Your hearing loss sounds worse than mine. I 'm slightly deaf in both ears and sometimes can't hear separate words, they're all run together.
So often can't understand what people say, French or English. With the French I ask them to parlez doucement s'il vous plait, je suis anglaise. and they do.
Hopeless on the phone though.
As Blaze says, 3 1/2 years isn't long, at least you try, which is more than many anglais do.


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 Post subject: Re: Hearing problems.
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:03 am 
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Another problem with listening to a foreign language, which isn't connected to a hearing problem, is getting attuned to different sounds. When you listen to your own language, you don't have to make the same effort - the vowel and consonant sounds are familiar. Face to face, you can see mouth shapes, arm waving and facial expressions, all of which help. The phone is another matter and I think all of us would prefer to speak French face to face than on the phone !

Trying to understand what people are saying when you're in a crowded room or restaurant is not easy, even when speaking English ! I don't have hearing problems as such, but if I can't hear what is being said because of noise or the wind blowing, I cup my hands behind my ears and it helps hugely !


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