Recently elected Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania has described a hearing disability he suffers with causing voices to sound like the teacher from the cartoon “Peanuts” when people speak. In this cartoon, Charlie Brown’s teachers are inaudible when they speak, sounding like a muffled horn.
While campaigning for senate in May 2022, Fetterman suffered a stroke, leading to cognitive issues such as a problem with auditory processing. The New York Post reports that the senators difficulty processing auditory speech worsens if he is stressed or in an unfamiliar situation, which sounds like most of the time if you are a politician.
Fox News reports that Fetterman has to carry around a closed captioning device that transcribes what is being said to him so that he can communicate effectively. A closed captioning monitor has also been installed at his Senate chamber desk which allows him to follow and understand proceedings. A custom desk at the center dais has also been fitted with the closed captioning technology when the disabled senator attends Senate proceedings.
Fetterman’s fellow democrats have insisted his disability does not hinder his ability to hold office and claim the use of the closed captioning technology is seamless. “It’s just a slight delay,” said Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez. “I didn’t notice he was using it at first. Then I was like, ‘Why are they holding it?’ It took me a minute to figure out what was going on.”
“We’re going to have to learn our own styles with it,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar stated when discussing Fetterman’s closed captioning technology. “What I was saying was accurate even when I talked fast. I wanted to make sure it was accurate. It was kind of hard to imagine what it would be like to be him.”
Fetterman was recently admitted to the hospital after feeling lightheaded. A statement was released by his team describing what happened, claiming it was not another stroke. WGAL 8 reported:
“About an hour ago, Senator John Fetterman received the results of his MRI. According to John’s doctors at The George Washington University Hospital, the results of the MRI, along with the results of all of the other tests the doctors ran, rule out a new stroke. He is being monitored with an EEG for signs of seizure – so far there are no signs of seizure, but he is still being monitored.”
“We will continue to provide information as it comes in, and we will have more updates as we get them.”
“Towards the end of the Senate Democratic retreat today, Senator John Fetterman began feeling lightheaded. He left and called his staff, who picked him up and drove him to The George Washington University Hospital. Initial tests did not show evidence of a new stroke, but doctors are running more tests and John is remaining overnight for observation. He is in good spirits and talking with his staff and family. We will provide more information when we have it.”
Fetterman was released from the hospital on Friday afternoon following the tests that ruled out stroke or seizure.
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