I’m dropping an actual blog on you today!
I’ve been without half my hearing for over two weeks.
Over the past couple of days, with a second round of medicine, it seems like it’s beginning to come back but what I hear is still significantly softer in one ear than the other.
Two weeks of only being able to from one ear has been interesting. I’ve noticed a couple things.
The world is fucking loud. When I first lost my hearing it was really sudden, I went to bed one night able to hear and woke up unable to. I slept through my alarm because I was on my side with the ear that could still hear buried in my pillow. In fact, I slept through my alarm every morning for over a week before I learned I needed to make a conscious effort to sleep on the other side so I’d be able to hear it. At work my normally quiet office was even quieter. The sound of constantly running printers and people tapping away on keyboards was dimmed so much that I didn’t notice it at all if they were on my right side (which, for reference, is pretty much my whole department).
All those little side conversations that people have, I could hear them talking but I had no idea what anyone was saying. Even if they were talking loudly but there was more than one person, nope, I just had to tune it out and ask later what the conversation was about. At first it was frustrating but that leads me to lesson 2.
A lot of what is said isn’t really worth it. Often when I asked what was said or what the conversation was about I was just told it was nothing. Rarely was it something worth repeating or worth my attention. I’m a daydreamer, I exist a lot in my own head anyway, not being able to hear found me existing there more than normal. I always thought I’d feel left out if I couldn’t be a part of the mindless office conversations that keep the day going but I didn’t really miss them. I can still have significant conversations with my friends at work and they knew to talk a little louder and slower (and more to my left) so that I’d hear and understand.
I noticed more too. Without my normal range of hearing I had to rely on other things to get me through seemingly normal stuff. Those stiff “heys” in the hallway as you pass people, I couldn’t hear those. I had to rely on facial expressions to determine if they were saying “hey” or if it was more of “oh my god, what’s on her shirt? Does she know that’s there?” I had to rely on body language too, my daughter really loves to start talking to me when I’m in the middle of 50 other things and of course all 50 of those things make noise. I had to rely on what she was doing with her body to see if this was a silly, happy story or sad, “I need support” story or “hey, watch this thing on this TV show that I’ve shown you already 50,000 times” story.
I was once terrified of the idea of not being able to hear. The idea of existing in silence … If you posed the “would you rather be blind or deaf” to me I would choose blind because in my mind I could deal with not being able to see but not hearing? When kids are little and they say they’re scared of the dark … I was the opposite. I was less afraid of the dark and more afraid of quiet. I slept, and still do actually but more out of habit now, with music on because I thought as long as there was noise the creepy crawly’s that existed in that dark space between sunset and sunrise wouldn’t come get me.
I’m still terrified of silence honestly, but living in a world that’s a little bit quieter hasn’t proven to be that bad. I’m still very glad to find that my hearing seems to be returning and I’m hoping that it returns completely but in the meantime I’m a little less terrified of the idea of living in, at least partial, silence.
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