Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hearing, Ears and Such

I recently had to do this Random 25 Things about me that's going around Facebook. It was kind of funny. My old elementary/junior/high school friends really put a lot of detail into their lists. We could write books about what people shared! One of my random things was that I've had a hearing loss pretty much all my life. The assumed cause is the rolling down someone's basement steps with no railing and slamming my forehead on the stone slab at the bottom of it. The next day, most likely due to the disorientation caused by the previous days trauma, I fell down our front steps and repeated ending above on the sidewalk. I have a picture (gotta find that!) and a bump on my forehead to this day to prove it!

From that point on, I was tested for this residual hearing loss. Of course, there was no mention in here of the hereditary factors (like my grandfather being nearly deaf!) that might have played a role in such a handicap. Instead, the conclusion was drawn that I should 1. avoid playing the violin, since I am unable to hear super high frequency sounds and other super low ones. 2. avoid all rock concerts (yeah, right!). and 3. understand that sound discrimination would be an issue, especially as I get older. Well, they were right. If there is noise of any kind, I can't hear you!

I shared a portion of this being sure to add that if anyone yelled to me, either in the hallway at school or at the overly crowded 20th reunion and I appeared to be ignoring them, chances are I couldn't even hear them. It's difficult enough for me to hear a person in a crowded room yelling into my ear! As I think about it, though, there are other instances when I've been an embarrassment to my friends and family.

For example, for each of our birthdays senior year of high school, a small group of my friends and I would set up elaborate celebrations - or scavenger hunts, or kidnappings.... For mine, my friends kidnapped me, which entailed a very tight blindfold that covered my ears (mistake of utmost importance!) and took me to one of our favorite restaurant, Sidetracks. Once inside, I "announced" that I knew we were in Sidetracks, removed my blindfold and was looking at 6 very redfaced friends. They were totally quiet, looking around... until one of them finally said, "You didn't have to scream it!" Honestly, to this day, I don't recall screaming anything, but clearly I did!

Another remembrance that comes to mind, as I gather my things to head down to the basement, is the MP3 player. My husband kindly tells me to "keep it down" when I have that thing on, and he does not mean the volume! He basically told me "Don't even whisper!" Truthfully, it's embarrassing to be yelling when I don't even realize I'm yelling. When I have nothing over my ears, all anyone ever does is complain how softly I speak or that they can't even understand me. It's such a dichotomy there can only be one explanation - this hearing thing!

So, let this be a warning to you... if you see me, tap my shoulder. If you see me with headphones on, don't listen. It is sure to be a doozy!

1 comment:

Linda said...

I can totally relate to you about the hearing loss. I've had hearing loss all my life. My folks had no idea until I started school that there was a problem and it has never really improved. I talk very loud a lot without knowing that I am speaking loudly. I hear nothing if the person is behind me and if I have ear buds in my ears forget it.. The tv is usually very high to hear it clearly...I totally understand about the hearing loss.