Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hearing the World

My hearing aids were lost for a while. They'd been annoying me on our last visit to San Francisco, which I put down to the head cold I'd been battling. The air pressure, the internal swelling, the itchiness I couldn't shake all led me to take them out on the plane home and put them someplace safe.

As usual, putting them someplace safe meant that I couldn't find them when I got home.  I searched everywhere. I stuck my hands into pockets of my suitcase that had not been touched since the lint in my palm was a full sheet of paper.  

I remembered worrying, as I hid them, that the plastic tubing would be crushed by the space they were occupying. I just couldn't remember where that space was.

I opened travel cases.  I poured out the contents of my dop kits - the one with the wet stuff and the one with the dry stuff.  I went back to the garage and dumped the suitcase out all over again. I opened the hidden compartments in my wallet, though there was no way that the devices would have fit there.  For a while, I thought about phoning Southwest Airlines and asking if they had been turned into the lost and found; for some reason, I never made the call. 

Actually, I knew exactly why I never made the call: if they weren't in the SWA Lost and Found then I was on the hook for replacing them.  I also knew why I'd lost them: the audiologist had explained the replacement program/insurance for lost or damaged devices at my last visit, two weeks before we flew.  

I'd never considered the possibility that I would lose them since I made a promise to myself that I would wear them all the time, unlike Daddooooo who kept them in his breast pocket as often as he inserted them in his ears.  If I only took them out at night, I would always know where they were.  Though this plan led to several near escapes in the shower, I'd never misplaced them. Not once. For those who are intimately acquainted with my behavior, this must come as a shock.

I found them last week as I was taking G'ma's checkbook out of the zipper pocket of the leather purse I'd forgotten I'd taken on my trip.  There they were, entwined together, in fine fettle.  All they needed were new batteries.  The world was alive once more.

Helen Keller wished for hearing more than sight, when asked which sense she'd most like to retrieve.  When everyone is laughing and you haven't been able to decipher the punch line through the teller's giggles.... when the kids in the backseat accuse you of not being interested when you really didn't hear them at all... when the television's volume control is set at 30 and you still can't figure out what Don Draper is saying.... then you understand the loneliness of the hearing impaired. Luckily, my damage is only in the upper ranges; I'm well within normal limits (and what a nice sound that is to hear) except for high pitched tones.

Beethoven composed symphonies without hearing a note, or so they say.  I think he heard each and every one of them inside his head, the same way I hear the Cuter's individual "Hello"'s, even when they are thousands of miles from my ears. I tilt my head a different way for each of them.  

G'ma's "Hi, Suz" has a richness that the rest of her words lack.  There's love and, for the moment, a real connection to the outside world. The way it's delivered is so much more potent than the words themselves. 

Mr. 8's "Hello, Crazy Susan," a throwback from my college days upon which he stumbled one afternoon, has always been accompanied by a devilish twinkle in his eyes.  Today, after two hours of testing me and re-calibrating my hearing aids, with the help of the UofA's Audiology Clinic and three of its finest students I can hear the high pitched glee that's in there, too.

I'm finding the keyboard keys' clacking very annoying.

What used to be a hum is now a gale force wind emanating from my desk top's tower.

The air conditioner turns on with a click loud enough to startle me.

The world is a very noisy place. I'm so glad to be here to hear it.


  1. What an enjoyable glad you had a happy ending!

    1. Me, too, B.R., me too! Glad you enjoyed this slice of my life.

  2. Glad you found them, but I hate when that happens. And it happens a lot to me. I put stuff where I think I will remember and then I don't remember. It also doesn't help to have a mischievous four year-old that is constantly moving things. For example, this morning, he was using my iphone and I asked him where it was and he said, "I hid it in your closet mommy". I started to get annoyed because it could be anywhere in my closet. Finally, I remembered that it was charged and I could call it. It was buried amongst shoes. Wish we could call everything that is missing. ;)

    Glad you are able to hear better now. The little annoyances will go away soon too. You will be able to tune them out once you get the settings right.

    Hope today is lovely.

    Megan xxx

    1. What a little fiend he is!

      I used to have a clacker on my key chain that made a noise when I clapped my hands.... a great idea if only it had worked reliably..

      I often think I should attach my belongings to my body with velcro.

  3. Hi A/b,

    My grandfather used to "save" his hearing aides.. He was always afraid of losing them. I am just curious, do they know what caused the hearing loss? I would be curious to know if the shooting had anything to do with it or if it is just age related (Don't worry, I still think you are very, very young... I am only 24 and I have hearing loss from too many ear infections!)?

    Maggie from Georgia

    1. Ah, Maggie, you are extending my demographic reach!

      The hearing loss is genetic, I think... although it may have been too much loud rock and roll in my youth (and beyond, My kids always told ME to turn down the tunes)

      It had nothing to do with the shooting, though I was very close to the bullets. I'd been losing it for some time but never wanted to be bionic until I was shot and decided to fix everything that was broken after I was really broken.
      Read about it here:


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