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.