This week the theme is sound. This post is about my hearing loss and the dependence om the internet to keep up a contact with the world. Word Press has been part of that. As some of you know, I have a Cranky Old Lady inside my Pollyanna self. Cranky Old Lady part has just issued her new social media policy. Be forewarned.
“Communication is response” claims anthropologist Gregory Bateson. Social networking is response. Hence my new policy. Back to becoming deaf.
In the year 2002, I was at a children’s party at the Family Support Program I over saw then as the Director of a Mental Health Program. The party was ending, and as I stood up to leave, my right ear shut down. Sounds from the outside world were replaced by a strange buzzing sound As I had a cold, I shrugged it off. Major mistake.
Turns out I had been hit with a virus that causes sudden hearing loss. The link calls the sudden loss of hearing a major emergency, but it was three weeks before I decided it was more than a blocked ear because of a cold. By the time I visited my doctor it was too late to reverse things. If you get help earlier enough, the hearing loss can often be reversed. Stoicism is not always wise.
Also the visit revealed, I had a substantial hearing loss in my left ear. Good news: that loss could be helped by a hearing aid. Twenty-five hundred dollars later, I had about 85% of the hearing restored to my left ear.
Since then as my hearing continues to diminish, I have had to replace my hearing aid twice. The first replacement was because hearing aids only last two or three years. Planned obsolescence? I wonder. Scary to think I only have two years left on my current aid for I live on a limited income.
The second replacement was because I lost one and the insurance no longer covered loss. Hearing aids today are small little things and if you are very careful, they appear to come alive and engage you in a game of hide and seek.
Moreover, I am ADD and extremely distractable; I do not always put my aid where it will be safe and not able to run and play. I am sure I lost this one at the local Y after swimming. A review of their lost and found produced seven hearing aids. Not one was mine, but at least I knew I was not alone in the world of those dolts who lose hearing aids.
Almost had a heart attack six months ago, when while changing clothes, I put my hearing aid down on my bed side table. When I went to put it back in, the thing had vanished. I panicked, but I soon discovered it in Punky the Pup’s mouth.
Some of you know the Punk.
For those of you who don’t, Punky is a Schnokie–meaning a Schnauzer and Yorkie mix. We rescued him. His name when rescued was Pumpkin, not fitting at all. He is almost as oppositional and unwilling to obey as my beloved husband David. So Pumpkin became Punky.
Anyway, the Punk had discovered my hearing aid as it was resting on my bed side table, and carried it away to chump on. He was hiding when I started looking for it and that is why I decide to look in his mouth. He chews on a multitude of things, and hides when he knows he has found a treat not meant for him.
The powers that be were with me, however, as he only chewed the part that went in my ear; replacing that only cost sixty bucks. According to people at the hearing aid center, happens often enough that they were not surprised. Nice not to be alone in my goof-ups.
Another almost heart attack came two months ago when I suddenly realized I was not wearing my hearing aid. Nor did I remember taking it out. Nor was it in the little cases I am supposed to stow it in for safety’s sake. Nor was it hanging on the hook I use when at my desk. (I take it off briefly to use the phone or put on a headset to better hear something on my computer.
Not finding it, I decided it might have fallen out when I was walking the dog. So David and I with flash light in hand, it was night-time, spent an hour re-tracing those steps. We then headed to the local Safeway to see if it had dropped there.
Small blessing: the cashier who had waited on me three hours earlier was still at work; she remembered seeing it in my ear. That narrowed the search time, still David insisted we look at all the shopping carts which we did to no avail. We went out to canvas the parking lot once again no luck there. I crank about life with my Grumpy Old Man, but when I really need support he is there and this was one of the times I remembered why we married and have stayed married.
After a bad night’s sleep, I was at my desk, sniffing and holding back tears, while wondering where the money was going to come for a new one and thinking about just giving into being deaf. Then among the papers I was mindlessly shuffling around, there it was. my runaway hearing aid.
Grateful, but also shamed. Shame is a useless whirl pool that waits to suck us down when the stuff of life batters us just a bit too hard. But, life goes on. Life may go on but for now my blogging is ended.
Feeling glad to have made light of and gotten a post from past painful events. Hope I haven’t bored you. Someone said somewhere something like, “If you can laugh afterward, why not laugh then?”
Ha. We just don’t work that way, or I don’t. More over I have made light, but have also been pulled back a bit to the very real pains involved in growing both old and deaf.
To lift my spirits will post this and go do something else I like, eating a bar of chocolate? Play ball with the Punk, watch a funny YouTube, Remember what matters? Those are some of my Emotional Fitness Training Exercises. The work most of the time in most situations. Thank you for reading. Practicing Gratitude is another of my Daily Exercises. I need to say I am getting a bit tearful and grateful for the connections blogging has added to my life. Thank you Word Press. Thank you all.
If you know someone who might feel less alone or come to a better understanding of old deaf people, share this post. Three people will benefit. The person you share with, you and me. Sharing is caring, caring is kindness, and kindness circles back.