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May 6, 2018: Hearing Loss

This isn’t a subject that I particularly want to write about because I equate it with growing old. I also equate it with those my age who talk endlessly about their health issues. I don’t talk about aging. And I don’t talk much about my health. I seldom seek out those who do both. First of all, such talk bores me. And secondly, it creates a reality that does not need to be. But maybe what I have to say about hearing loss will be insightful for others. I sure am not going to dwell on it.

Alys on Divide Ride at Butte House

I suffer from moderate hearing loss, which is permanent. I have had my hearing tested, twice. I think that this is in part because when I was younger, I did a lot of bicycle touring, and was close to heavy traffic-related sounds. I also attended my share of rock concerts. I never thought that this would happen to me.

I recently noticed that when I was at my sister’s place that I could not hear the television at a normal volume. The acoustics in her living room are also bad. The same holds true for Pete’s office. He has been difficult to hear when not looking at me directly. I have been doing a lot of lip reading lately. I also was recently in town, in a noisy café – I could not hear the man sitting across from me, so I checked out of the conversation. Plus, I’ve been asking people to repeat themselves far more than I used to.

Right now I am suffering from severe hearing loss, which is temporary. This past week I caught a cold and also flew home. I got off the plane and I could not hear at all. An hour later I could hear minimally. The down side of this was that I had to ask Pete to repeat himself, and to deal with the look of exasperation on his face when I did this multiple times. My frustration in having to deal with was so bad that I was glad when he went off to school because then I would not have to expend extra energy attempting to communicate with him.

The up side of this was that I fully understood what those with severe hearing loss are dealing with. Yes, I am going to get a hearing aid. But there are many out there who can’t afford this. I understand now, how easy it is to become closed off from others. And I read that those who have this problem are more likely to suffer from memory loss.

Tonight I went to a recycling function, a dinner and awards ceremony. I got by by reading lips. Then on the drive home I plugged my nose with my fingers and exhaled and popped my ears. My hearing improved markedly when I did this, much to my relief. I had been wondering if this was going to be permanent. Now I am thinking not.

I feel for those who suffer from permanent severe hearing loss. It is no fun at all, and this is an understatement.

Next: 127. May 7, 2018: Grousing

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