Elephant ears, bunny ears, wolf ears. They all come in pairs. Same for people's ears. We have two of 'em. (do you remember that old saying about how we have two ears but only one mouth because it's twice as important to listen as it is to talk?) Anyway, ears by the twos. That's what I was saying. Every creature, including human creatures, have two ears. And that is a fact. Except for sometimes it's not.
You might have noticed that there was no blogpost yesterday. That's because I was at my ear doctor's office. The good Dr. Lundstrom, my audiologist, had to send my right hearing aid in for repair and yesterday I got it back! You have no idea how relieved I am to hear on both sides again.
I'll back up now to the beginning of the tale. About a month ago I began to notice, occasionally, that sound in my right ear would fade in and out. The sound would be there and then not and then back again. Like a hiccup.
At first I wasn't sure if I was just imaging things. I do have a pretty good imagination. Or was I just not paying close enough attention to what was being said? Or was I in an especially difficult hearing situation at the time? There's all sorts of reasons that a person - particularly a person with a hearing loss - might occasionally not understand what's being said after all.
And then there was the fact that it didn't happen all of the time. Just once in a while I noticed it. And I couldn't find any particular pattern to it. Just here and there, for a few seconds, on my right side, sound trickled in and out and back in again. Hmmmm.
I paid closer attention to the situation and eventually (I'm a little slow sometimes) came to the realization that A) it was really happening B) it had nothing to do with the hearing environment and C) I absolutely was paying attention!
So I did everything I knew how to do to try to fix the situation. Which frankly isn't all that much. I cleaned my hearing aid even more thoroughly than usual, replaced the ear buds and the receiver, put it through the hearing aide dryer and replaced the battery. That's it. That's the end of my hearing aid related bag of tricks.
At any rate, it didn't help at all. I knew that I had a scheduled appointment with my audiologist coming up anyway, so I waited until then to see her. Once I explained what was going on and what I had done to try to correct the situation, she tested the hearing aids with her fancyschmancy equipment. The left one worked great! 100% score. The right one however, not so much. So she also replaced and cleaned and vacuum dried with her far better tools. Aaaannnnddd...........nothin'. She was just as successful as I was which is to say, complete failure. Dang.
So the decision was made to send it back to the manufacturer to let them fix it. Which is fine. I knew that they would do a stellar job and that the problem would be rectified and I would get my hearing aid back in a couple of weeks. Huzzah.
The obvious downside here is that for those two weeks instead of having the occasional slow fade on the right side, I would have no hearing assistance at all. Ratz. Oh well, I rationalized, at least the left hearing aid is still working. The left ear will simply have to do the work of both ears for a couple of weeks. No big deal.
Well of course I survived, but it's a far bigger deal than you'd think. Here are a few of the things I became aware of:
When Tim and I walk, he tends to walk on the outside - the street side - of me. It's a protective thing, rather charmingly old fashioned and chivalrous. I adore that he does this. It is a very sweet gesture. But that means he is walking on my right side. The not so much hearing side. To hear him properly I would have to either walk backwards (bad idea) or we would have to switch places so that he would be on my left. Which puts me on the street side.
He kept gravitating to the outside to protect me and I kept trying to do the same trying to hear him. It was all subconscious of course. But we must have looked pretty silly constantly shuffling our positions as we walked, anywhere.
When I went to pick up prescriptions last week, I could tell the pharmacist was talking to me. I could hear a muffled voice. But between the plexiglass, the general sound in the store, the high ceilings, the hard surfaces, two masks (his and mine) and only one hearing aid, the poor man ended up leaning down to speak through the slot where he passes the prescription through so that I could hear him. I leaned in hard on my left side while he bent nearly in half to reach that opening. What a ridiculous tableaux. (but what a kind man)
Instead of switching ears during a long phone call, I had to keep the telephone receiver at just that left ear. Tiresome. Made for much shorter conversations I promise you that!
I found myself saying, "huh" and "what?" and "beg pardon?" and "excuse me" and "could you please repeat that" on an endless loop for two weeks. I also noticed that, after awhile, I stopped asking. I realized that I would just smile and nod and have no idea what anyone was saying. Oh my gosh. It was like a flash from the past. The days before I began wearing hearing aids. I had forgotten how isolating it is to not hear properly. How frustrating it is for everyone around me to have to constantly repeat themselves. How frustrating it is for me too! And oh my goodness so tiring so struggle to understand the world around me every minute of every day.
When the doctor gave me back my hearing aids yesterday and I put them back on, it was as if someone had handed me the world again. Ahhhhh, What a Relief! I was immediately so much more relaxed. It's not just physical relief, but also mental and emotional relief. It is a very big deal. But now, once again, life is good :) Like I said, two ears.
So, that's it. The story of why I did not post yesterday. I was a little busy.
Meanwhile, live long and prosper (another famous set of ears)
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.