Saturday, September 23, 2017

My Hearing Loss Paradox

I've had hearing problems with my right ear since I was a little kid. I used to frequently get bad ear infections that would make my ear ring and hurt. I later went through a period of having inner ear and balance issues when I was in 5th grade. I had always been good at sports during recess but over a span of several months I could no longer hit a baseball when it was pitched to me. My mom took me to several doctors and specialists but we never figured out what the problem was. (It wasn’t just a hitting slump either.) I remember one occasion walking to school and getting so dizzy that I had get down on my hands and knees and crawl back home. I eventually got better but I’ve had a faint ringing in one ear ever since then which I have gotten used to. Here is the link to a prior post telling about my ear infections.

About 20 years ago I started receiving hearing aid ads addressed to me in our junk mail and I’d laugh and say “How old do they think I am?” as I tossed them in the trash. It wasn’t until the last couple years that I have really noticed an increase in hearing loss and realized I might benefit from having one. When my wife sits on my right side and whispers something in my ear at church I have to turn my neck 180 degrees like an owl and look behind us so she can repeat it in my left ear. In case you were wondering, they are not sexy whispers but rather reverent ones.
I'm starting to relate to this guy.
I now constantly find myself turning my head and placing my “good ear” closer to the mouth of people when they speak to me. Earlier this year I received yet another insulting flyer for a hearing exam presentation and this one offered a free dinner for attending so I decided to give it a shot. The short presentation was actually quite informative. After completing my hearing test, the doctor showed me the results and asked if I had ever done work with blasting or explosives. He explained that there was a certain range or sound register where my hearing perception just disappeared in one ear. He showed me some cool hearing aid devices that work with smart phones but they were out of my price range so I told him I’d have to get back with him down the road.

Before you who feel bad for my hearing loss, I have some additional information that may surprise you. Despite my hearing problems, ironically, I also have some hearing super powers too.  Many times, when we are in a noisy environment I will say “What is that squeaking noise” or “can you hear something dripping?”  Everyone in the room will usually answer that they can’t hear anything. I will then tell everyone to be quiet and eventually point out some subtle noise originating on the other side of the house. My family is always in awe that the deaf dad can hear such quiet noises as caterpillars crawling and dog whistles but can’t hear regular conversations.

Apparently, I am kind of like Cyclops of X-Men. My weakness is actually a super power. I am still waiting to find out how to fight crime or make an exciting movie about my ability to hear water drip in another room but I’m sure the day will come when my auditory anomaly will save the day. In the meantime, I am seriously going to check out some of those new state of the art hearing aids when I get back to the States. 

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