The Sound of Hearing

Note: this is a very personal post, so if you don’t want to know and don’t care, run. Run far, far away.

Those of you who are long-time readers may have noticed me mention, here and there, that I am rawther deaf. I have otosclerosis, which, in a nutshell, means I’ve been losing my hearing for years now. I have always been an awkward person, so the awkwardness of being unable to hear conversations, especially with people whose voices I am unfamiliar with, was not so much a shocker as an extension of my natural state of being. I wasn’t particularly put out by being unable to make friends with random people. I am an introvert, all the way. Besides–I am a librarian and a knitter, and adding hearing aids to the melange seemed a sure sign I had veered from Quirky to One of those People Strangers Avoid in Bookstores. But when it got to the point that my hearing was interfering with my ability to interview effectively, I finally caved and got hearing aids.

At first, it was awful. Nobody had mentioned that getting hearing aids involves lots of poking and prodding to get them fitted properly, and then tested to be sure they’re working properly. Then they’re turned on, and suddenly the AC is roaring, small children’s voices are even more raucous than before, and the clicking of a mouse is deafening.

I braved going back to work, and when I got there, I had a conversation with my favorite archivist. About knitting. At a distance of 6 feet or so. And I didn’t have to ask her to repeat a single word. That never, ever would have been possible before.

That was wonderful, and so was the look on Querido’s face when he discovered that he could talk as quietly as he likes and I’d still hear him (irony of ironies, I fell for a low talker).

I am holding on to those two moments, because today it’s awful again. The air conditioning is so loud I can’t concentrate. I am distracted by people talking outside my office, because I can hear the words of what they’re saying. The tapping of my keyboard (that one Dell model, black plastic, that I thought was ridiculously loud before) is almost too loud to bear.

I am losing my mind by inches, and wishing I didn’t have to know what hearing sounds like.

4 responses to “The Sound of Hearing”

  1. Yikes. I’m glad your hearing has improved with the hearing aids, but I can’t even imagine how hard it is to get used to! Not really comparable, but the best I can do: I always have problems when I get new glasses. There’s always a bit of an adjustment period where things seem too sharply focused, sometimes to the point that it gives me a headache. So frustrating, but it does go away. Maybe it will be similar with you, where you eventually get used to a louder volume? I hope so!

    • Thanks, Courtney. The glasses analogy is a really good one, and since I’ve survived many New pairs of glasses, I’m hoping the adjustment period is about the same for hearing aids.

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