I saw the last 20 minutes of Hear and Now
the other night. It's a sweet and semi-sad documentary of a woman's deaf parents who, after a life time of being deaf, have cochlear implant surgery.
It hit home a little for me, because while I missed the lead up to the hearing tests, I lived a small part of it myself. Listening to the mother's description of hearing everything and what she could hear reminded me of something from long ago.
My mom is hearing impaired - she has been her entire life. She has high end hearing loss - meaning that she can't hear high pitch noises, but sometimes she just has a hard time making out sounds. She had the stereotypical speech impediment that most deaf people do. Although, I have to admit - I've NEVER heard it - she sounds like Mom to me.
She never knew my brother was a non-stop noise maker, she couldn't hear the bells in our toys, and my brother and I never had to worry about her hearing our sneaky kid conspiring. That is until she was about my age (~34, I think, if I'm doing the math of our ages correctly) when she got hearing aids for the very first time.
I remember being called to the principalís office for no reason, out of the blue, one afternoon when I was in 8th grade. My mom came to pick up my brother and I from school because she was so excited and didn't know what all the noises were. She kept saying "I can hear the birds! Do you hear that?!" She thought something was wrong with the car because it was making so much noise...noises she had never heard before.
I was your typical teenager and tried to play cool - but really I was tickled. She was so happy.
Over the years, I think her hearing has gotten worse. It's hard sometimes to talk on the phone, not because she canít hear me, but sometimes she canít tell when I start talking. My parents have had to get a louder phone. Mom sometimes can't hear her cell phone ring.
Now after many years of being careful with my ears (except the years I was insurance-less, which were quite a few) I'm faced with the possibility of hearing loss myself. I'm having trouble hearing people in crowds, on the subway, on my bike, at home, on the phone. My ears ring at irregular intervals.
I finally made an appointment with a doctor to have my hearing tested and a general poke around in those things on the side of my head. I've put it off, blown it off in fact until my husband and I were in Tokyo and he got sick. He had an ear infection and had to see a doctor. It freaked both of us out how insistent the doctor was that he get his hearing checked immediately after returning to the US. He has no significant hearing loss or irritation, but he insisted that I go get checked out.
Öand now I'm saying it - I'm scared.
I'm scared I'll have to have hearing aids just a few weeks shy of my 35th birthday.
I know I'm being irrational - that I probably won't, that I probably just need some meds but it doesn't keep me from freaking out.
ok - deviation from crafty stuff is now complete....
Just had to type all that out... been bouncing around in my head for DAYS.