Hey! What are ya? Deaf in one ear?

13 06 2009

The long and short of it
I’ve had about a 20% overall hearing loss since I was a toddler, and although my parents bought me a hearing aid when I was about seven or eight years old, I wore it just a few times and gave it up, much to their dismay. Then I lost the hearing in my right ear in the spring of 1993 due to some known and unknown causes (years of scar tissue build up in the ear canal caused the stapes to no longer work or something medical-technical-ish). It most certainly wasn’t an easy row to hoe at first (have you ever seen an x-ray of your skull? Talk about surreal. Gone are fantasies of immortality when you witness your skeleton).

I eventually adjusted to life without hearing in that ear. So now I had a 20% loss in the “good” ear and no hearing at all in the other. The biggest problem I have with the complete loss in my right ear is that when I do hear something, I can’t tell what direction the sound is coming from. I assume it’s coming from my left side! This causes me to do a lot of spinning around to locate the source. And this happens regardless of whether I’m wearing a hearing aid in the “good” ear. People with normal hearing can talk on the phone and when one ear gets tired, they can move the phone to the other. I haven’t been able to do that for 16 years.

Imagine what it’s like when someone wants to share a secret with me and starts whispering in the “bad” ear. Yep, it will remain a secret that way, that’s for sure. If I don’t hear it, I can’t spread the word anyway, now can I? It’s foolproof! (And a note to all my friends—Sue, in particular—who are sensitive to my hearing loss and always accommodate me by being on the left side or facing me when they’re talking without my asking—I sincerely thank you for those thoughtful gestures.) I also get overwhelmed if there is too much noise because I can’t block any of it out as a normal-hearing person would—there’s just too much distraction and I can’t focus on what I do want to hear.

Humor on the high seas
Fast forward just a few years after I lost the hearing in my right ear. I’m on a Caribbean cruise with my friend Norma and we meet two gals and end up spending time hanging out with them at dinner and other social events. One evening we’re sitting around in a semi-circle in the piano bar and I’m listening to Norma, who is on my left (the good ear), talking away. One of our newfound friends is trying to talk to me on my “bad” side and for obvious reasons I can’t hear her. (#1. Got no hearing in that ear, lady and #2. I’m engrossed in conversation with Norma, so I’m focused on that task). She knows I’m listening to Norma, though.

Eventually she taps me on the shoulder and asks, “Hey! What are ya? Deaf in one ear? I’m trying to talk to you!” I realized she phrased the question that way in jest, of course, but imagine the look of horror on her face when I turned to reply, “Ummmm…yes, as a matter of fact, I am deaf in one ear.”

What are the odds of that happening again? She spent the rest of the evening apologizing profusely.


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5 responses

14 06 2009
chloë

aww cindy this is terrible but i can imagine you’ve done well inspite of this
i admire your light hearted nature xo

14 06 2009
thekingoftexas

I proudly echo Chloe’s comments about your having done well, and also her expression of admiration for your lighthearted nature. I echo those comments and herein tender full disclosure of our familial (father/daughter) relationship (yours and mine, not mine and Chloe’s).

Ours is definitely an undeniable relationship, one from which neither of us can ever hope to escape—we are stuck with it, and can only try to make the best of it. So far we have been tremendously successful! (Note the exclamation point!)

As is my nature, I want to expand on Chloe’s comments. You have done well—nay, very well—nay, outstandingly well—in spite of your hearing loss, but I submit that your achievements can also be attributed, in no small part, to the fact of your hearing loss—because of that you’ve tried even harder.

Your efforts are reflected in everything you do—you will neither admit nor accept defeat—you won’t give up, traits that in some respects are comparable to your learning to ride a bicycle. You almost wore out the tree in our front yard by propping the bike against it, then mounting and pushing off, peddling like crazy until you fell, then returning to the tree for try after try until you mastered the two-wheeler.

Talk about stubborn!

Just a reminder: There is a tremendous amount of talent in your family. We admit and accept the fact that you have all of it—but please stay humble!.

As we in Texas are wont to say—all of us except the very few who do not speak Spanish—“Muy bien hecho!”

Very well done!

One quick footnote: Your learning problem with biking was with the two-wheeler only. You mastered and maintained control of the tricycle almost immediately—again I say, “Muy bien hecho!”

14 06 2009
spamwarrior

Haha. you’re just like me! I have little hearing in my left and if people are talking in a room full of crowded people, I will not be able to make them out. As a result people think I’m rude. Some of them are nice after I explain but some are not. I just avoid those people >.< And if you talk in my left, I won't be able to make anything out either.

But it seems like you've made a lot out of life in spite of it 😉 we both have. That's kind of funny about the lady. Once that happened to me and she was shocked speechless.

14 06 2009
spamwarrior

Hmm… where’d my comment go…. weird. I guess it’ll show up eventually.

15 06 2009
cindydyer

Hi spamwarrior!

Thanks for the comment. It looks like your longer comment got thrown into spam (where I found it when you inquired about where it was). Then your second e-mail did NOT go into spam. Wonder why that is? No matter, your comment wasn’t lost for long and I appreciated the sentiment!

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