We Live in a Noisy World

For years I’ve known I was losing my hearing. I even blogged about it a couple of years ago. Did I do anything about it? No. I ignored it, laughed about it, even denied it. I could still hear, I just had to crank up the volume.

Capt. Mark didn’t bug me about it. He can’t hear worth a damn either. But my kids were insistent. “Mom, you need to get your hearing checked.”

We did have a lot of laughs, and I warned them I wouldn’t be as funny:

Kids: “I’ll peel the potatoes.”

Me: “You’re going to pee on Play Dough?”

You get the idea.

I got tested by an audiologist for an hour and a half. At the end I was fitted with temporary hearing aids and, whoa…I could hear! A week later my permanent ones arrived and I went back in to have them fitted. I wasn’t used to the noise. The world was too loud. Life hurt my ears.

I went home, aware of sounds around me I hadn’t heard in ages. My very quiet house is noisy. The dishwasher, the refrigerator, the air conditioner…all make noises I didn’t hear before. My shoes squeak when I walk. A soft rustling sound is made when I put on my clothes. I can hear myself talk (yup, I talk to myself…out loud, usually in the car).

Outside, the bird chirping on the light post is almost overwhelming. Wind sighs, gravel crunches under my feet. Cars roar as they pass, cars I always thought had remarkably soft engines. I can hardly wait for my next writer’s group meeting. I won’t have to sit in the front row.

There is a downside. I need the volume on the television to be low. Capt. Mark can’t hear it at that level, so I guess he’s going to be the next one to visit the audiologist. And frankly, the little devices—which I cannot see from the front or the back— still represent something new hanging on my ears and I have to get used to the new pressure. Wearing glasses adds to it because the frames sit on top of the nano-computers hidden by my ear flaps.

But I’ll wear them faithfully and I’ll go to my appointments for the next sixty days while micro adjustments are made because hearing aids are truly a miracle.

I remember my sweet mother-in-law nodding and smiling when she couldn’t hear. She said it was a neutral response to make people think she was listening. I don’t have to do that anymore. My hearing now is so sharp I heard workmen three houses up the street laughing and talking about their rather graphic plans for the weekend.

Yup, there are some things I don’t need to hear.

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