Hearing: the good, the bad, and the useless…

Updated January 31st, 2022.

I’ve been doing some thinking on my deafness, and it is probably the most frustrating of my many disabilities.

No, it is the most frustrating of my disabilities.

I grew up hearing, with good verbal skills. When I was 7 or 8, my parents and teachers began to notice i wasn’t hearing quite that well. I was outfitted with hearing aids in grade 3. I recall the teacher putting them on, yet, they wouldn’t stay there for long. Ten minutes later, I’d yank them out, unceremoniously and unhygienically toss them in my desk. Sometimes I even put them in their case! The teacher would notice, corner me, find the dang things, put them back in my head, only to me yanking them out again… it was a game! Finally, the teacher would give up, and have me move my desk to the front of the class. This happened in the mid 1970s.

Ten years later, in high school, I tried, again, hearing aids, and the FM loop system.  Both did not work.

Later, in my early 20s, I decided to try to see what would happen if I was approved for a Cochlear Implant.  I was tested and tested. The Doctor, a cranky know-it-all, said my hearing loss is due to neural damage, the Cochlear Implant would not work.

Then, when my first son was borne, I’m now nearing 39, I got a new hearing aid for my left ear. I would use it for a year or so, it helped a just a smidgen. I did it so I could hear the baby crying etc. But that smidge didn’t cover baby crying. So eventually I gave that up too.

All these hearings did not work, because, as the CI doctor said, my hearing loss was due to neural damage. Basically what I heard was not voices or music or Bob Barker explaining how to play Plinko. Instead; when I put on a hearing device (which includes today’s modern headphones) all I hear is a wall of noise, white noise, buzzing. A swarm of bees was in my ears!

As a 7 year old, a teen, this was unbearable!

Now, I want to highlight situations when I am happy I’m Deaf, situations when I’m not happy, and unless things…

The Good — things that I am happy I can’t hear…

  • Voices: whiny, obnoxious, inflaming, backstabbing, bitchy, crybaby, demanding, those full of malice, hurling words to incite, verbal Molotov cocktails, slurs, racism, yelling obscenities, disagreements, catcalling, sexist remarks, vulgar words in music, pestering kids, Donald Trump…

The Bad — things that I wish I could hear, but can’t…

  • Voices, those of my children, my wife, my family.  I would trade almost anything (even my massive collection of Hot Wheels) to hear my children talking about their school, friends, games, homework, talking about cool cars and so forth! I wouldn’t mind hearing them pepper me with constant “Daddy, daddy” (for about an hour…).  I wouldn’t mind hearing my wife using her normal voice, a calm voice.
  • TV/Movies – I wish that I could watch TV or movies and understand the dialogue.  True, I have captioning, and that has been a great help.  Yet, with my vision, I cannot read it fast enough. 
  • Random chatter of people anywhere… people who need help, are lost, need directions, etc…
  • Music: In my youth, I was really caught up with the rock & roll world. I loved music, I had quite a collection of cassettes and LPs, and yes, later CDs. Now, if there is music playing at the store, I wouldn’t know. If music is on my iPad, again, I wouldn’t know. The only time I can hear the music is when it is concert level loud, and I’m two inches from the speakers.

The Useless — things that I couldn’t care if I heard them…

  • Tinnitus can go to hell and not come back! 6 years later, Tinnitus is a constant friend morning noon and night. I guess it ain’t going away… the cymbals clanging is a good way to drive me nuts. I’m actually going to ask anyone if they heard the clanging next time they rattle off… people might think I’m up to something … crazy…

I am happy that I learned, and still am learning, ASL, a visual language of my Deaf peers.  It is an awesome way to communicate, and my primary way.  My kids are learning.

So, if I had a magic wand and could swish & flick my hearing loss away, would I do it. Simply put: No!

I am happy with who I am, why would I want to change that now?

I am a total package, which includes a sharp(ish) mind, a great body (Hey, did you just roll your eyes?!) and a great soul (a halo appears…)…

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