Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

By Nancy Boat

What sounds have you forgotten?  What songs do you no longer sing along with while doing everyday chores?  How many friends have felt snubbed because you no longer respond to their questions?

What?  That is the word that became mine forever, or so I believed.  What?  What?  What?  What seemed to be the response more and more often as my dear husband listened to me? This litany became so tedious he gave up having intelligent conversations with the woman he had married twenty years before.  What, became the precursor of tension for us both.  Luckily for me, I have a husband who is patient and kind, one who believes in the Christian ethic of forgiveness, because during the last number of years he has had to forgive a lot of what’s, what did you say, what language are they speaking on TV, what, what, what, and the what’s were becoming louder and louder?
Did you hear the eagle call, Ron would ask as we sat having our morning coffee and watching the dawn break over Birch Bay?  No, I don’t hear that was my frequent answer, so more often than not Ron would start to ask a question and then give up in frustration, he couldn’t share the sound of the rain falling on the roof, the sound of neighborhood children playing and laughing, he couldn’t share those wonderful things that make us caring human beings, those things that bring us to tears of sorrow, or smiles of joy.

We knew I had a hearing problem, the audiologist believed that the hearing in my left ear was damaged many years before during a bout with a virus.  An aid was fitted and worked just fine until it died about four years later.  Plans were made to replace it but other things kept getting in the way, a new roof, doctor’s bills, car repairs, of course there would always be those other things, and the years went by and my hearing just kept getting worse as frustrations grew.

Conversations during our Wednesday evening Bible Study became a flashback of old Laurel and Hardy skits.  A number of the members of this group are part of the “baby boomer” generation and we were all but a few in need of hearing boosters.  A frequent problem with hearing impairment is that consonants are dropped and our brains pick out new letters to take their place.  A room can become a loon, a cake can be a rake, and so it goes, a reminder of the old game of “telephone” we used to play as kids. 

Two weeks ago we decided enough was enough, I couldn’t understand conversations that were spoken softly or at lower decibels anymore, and the “what’s” were annoying everyone including me.  We knew it was time to bite the bullet, the emergencies were always going to happen and my hearing would just keep on getting worse.

After new tests, it was determined that both ears had a fairly severe hearing loss, so new aids were ordered.

Last Friday, after picking up my new aids at Hearing Northwest, while driving home I was amazed at the sounds that our turn signal made, the tires crunching the pebbles on the road.  When I finally pulled into our driveway in Birch Bay and turned around after getting out of the car, I realized for the first time in years that I could hear the creek behind our house singing it’s lilting soprano song, fed by the rains we had earlier that week.  The eagles were cooing to each other, and my husband’s breathing soothed me to sleep that night for the first time in years.  What a precious joy it is to once again hear the songs of the world surrounding me.

When asked what she would prefer to have restored, her eyesight or her hearing Helen Keller said without hesitation, “my hearing”, sight is wonderful, but hearing is our connection to humanity, without it communication almost comes to a stand still for the person with this imparity.

It’s wonderful to hear that creek sing it’s soprano songs again, although my husband may not think my singing while I clean the house is such a blessing (I still can’t carry the tune I’d like). 

Now, what can we do about my aching joints and wrinkles?

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