It’s been awhile. Life picked up the pace in October and hasn’t slowed down since but tonight I have a few hours so I’m going to take advantage of that. This post has been in my head for over a month so it’s time I get it down.
I’ve been wearing hearing aids since I was 23 years old, that’s 22 years now. I started out with analog hearing aids which turned everything up, not just the high frequencies I needed. I worked in a salon with multiple blow dryers and hair dryers going (one hair dryer is 90+ decibels) which I heard too well. I worked 7-9 hours a day clenching my teeth the whole day waiting for that moment when I finished that last client and took my hearing aids out for a much needed break.
That my friends, started my habit of only wearing my hearing aids at work. When I don’t work, I don’t put them in unless I go out into public again. In my opinion, I did fairly well getting along in the world without them at home with my family and even with quick runs to the grocery store or bank.
Recently that has changed. I wear them more since I started working at the Sanderson Center. I also had to wear them at Ken’s parents house because his mom’s voice falls under my radar. I wore them so much, my ears dried out, got itchy and I created sores with my scratching. When I laughed or smiled too much, my outer ears ached from the mold.
Either I got too used to the volume or I’ve lost more hearing recently because when I take them out, sounds recede so far it scares me. For the first time in my life I think to myself, “Wow, I’m really going deaf.” I have to watch lips to understand conversation now. This scares me enough that I don’t want to wear my hearing aids and that doesn’t make sense.
Except to me it does. My hearing loss is progressive. I can go some years without much change and then a big change occurs. Or I can keep losing that little bit every year and after a while that adds up too. At some point, my hearing aids won’t be of much use so why not save using them for the moments/hours I need them most. I’ll turn them on a feel it will feel like magic compared to my new normal.
But they say the brain needs to get the noise and that I need to wear them to handle the ‘noise.’ Well I’m getting to the point where the ‘noise’ and hearing aids don’t bother me, is that because I’ve worn them so much? Am I doing myself a mis-favor by opting out again? And so my see-saw thinking goes back and forth.
Wearing them doesn’t bring back perfect hearing, that’s part of the frustration but every little helps. I’ve taken a 10 day break from my hearing aids to let my ears heal up again after scratching open a sore. Tomorrow it’s back to work and back in they will go. Tomorrow I’m working out in public so I must wear them. When I work at the Sanderson Center, I don’t need them so much because the Deaf people are slowly working me into sign language. Those that are hard of hearing and speak, know to get my attention first. There I cope better in my muted world and I feel blessed to be working there.
Once used to my quiet life, I feel okay with it all mentally and more accepting. I’m normal me again. With hearing aids, I hear better (20%) more but the whole deaf thing frightens me more when I take them out. This must be another transition phase to be thinking about it all so much. I suppose I should get my hearing tested again soon to see.