If I could be a hearing person…


My brother’s former fiance used to try to drag me to Oral Roberts’ revivals for “healing” when I was a kid, thinking I could be “cured” of my hearing loss and be “normal.” Without getting into my opinion on faith healers, the one thing “Sheba” didn’t understand is that my state of hearing was MY normal.  I didn’t want someone praying over me as if there was something wrong with me.

Do I wish that I could understand what hearing people understand?  Yes, certainly.  I wish I had a clue about how hearing people do what they do.  I wish I understood how they are able to understand the directionality of sound.  I wish I could understand a teacher talking to a blackboard.  I wish I could cope in large groups of people.  What I don’t wish for is “normal” hearing.

Why not?  I can’t remember ever having “normal” hearing.  I can’t remember what it is like to have a virtual cacophony of sounds impact my brain.  I have no idea how hearing people cope with this level of noise.

Most days I put my hearing aid in the moment I get up and I doesn’t come out again until I go to bed.  There are times I remove it for a while (generally when I get “sound headaches”), but at the end of the day the last thing I want to do is hear.  I’m exhausted from it.  So, I’ve never wished I could hear it all, all the time.  The concept is overwhelming.

I had a profoundly deaf friend in college who had surgery to restore hearing and remember her misery. She could hear her hair scraping on the pillow – something she’d never heard before. There was sound everywhere. And there was no way to stop it.  At least with a hearing aid or CI you can turn off the sound.

And it is not that the HoH or Deaf are quiet.  We’re not. We can’t hear that we’re tramping loudly, banging doors or cupboards or lots of other things.  We just don’t hear most of it.  Often we don’t hear a lot of it even with hearing augmentation.  I never understood why reading a newspaper (rattling paper) could be annoying until I got my first hearing aid.  I didn’t understand that an escalator made sound – it just made a vibration as far as I knew – until my second to last hearing aid.  So the concept of hearing it all – things I have no idea makes noise – is not something I can imagine wanting to experience – not unless my brain was programmed to know what to do with all of it.

I’m actually pretty comfortable in my own skin regarding my hearing, it’s merely situations which require hearing that drive me crazy – if that makes sense.

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10 comments

  1. I understand it, and yet to think I would not hear music would be a major loss. And yet, having some hearing loss, I can identify with needing some quiet time, more so now than before, as I get older and our society is getting louder. Sometimes taking out my hearing aid is very calming!

    1. Hi Rachel, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. As you’re aware (since you are HoH yourself) most HoH and Deaf/deaf can hear something. In my case, I can hear music, although often I have no idea what the words are unless I read the lyrics. One of my favorite workout tunes used the “F-bomb” and I had no idea. 🙂 I thought it quite a pretty tune. LOL I think everyone could use a rest from our very loud world now and then.

  2. I don’t know how many people tell me they leave the TV or radio on “for noise.” I do the same. As I was reading this about having a sound headache, I wondered how the constant noise impacts me.

  3. I’ve come across your interesting site and looked in because it was ‘another boomer blog’. I’m searchng for blogs about grannies, but I guess that boomers come in all shapes and sizes and a large range of ages. I couldn’t pass by without saying hello. I don’t feel qualified to comment except to say that your outlook on hearing makes sense and I hadn’t thought of it that way before. The internet is wonderful, isn’t it? You can share all sorts of interesting things with a wider audience. 🙂

  4. Thank you for the insight and perspective. Being a mother of five, I occassionaly experience that I am surrounded by too much noise, but I am sure that it is a completely different experience from yours since I am used to noise. I can try to imagine your challenge and gift. A very inspirational post!

    1. Thank you for stopping by to read and comment. I can only imagine what life is like for you with all the joy of five children and the noise that would entail. For myself, I treasure quiet times with my daughter and grandchildren – often taking one wee soul off for a trip on a river or some other individual pastime. 🙂

    1. It makes perfect sense to me that you’d feel the same way. My ex was blind when I met him, but had been partially sighted before. He never “got it” about what I could see and why I couldn’t just spot the precise thing among many that he was looking for. I had to explain it was like one note among many in a symphony that he could hear better than I could. 🙂

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