I can still remember the very day I lost some of my hearing. It was at a Doobie Brothers concert in Boston in the late 70’s. My friend Jimmy and I sat down front between two enormous speakers and when the band performed “China Grove” it was so loud that I felt like I had ants crawling around inside my ears. For days after the show my balance was off and I felt like I was on a boat.
Fast forward to current times and I realize I’ve learned to lip read and I say, “What?” an awful lot.
I went for a hearing test and they put me in this little booth with headphones on. The audiologist told me to raise my right arm when I hear a beep. So I’m sitting there, and time is passing. I’m wondering when this guy is going to start with the beeps already. It turns out he started right away and I just didn’t hear it. Long story short - I have nerve-related hearing loss.
People don’t have a lot of patience with those of us whose hearing isn’t what it once was. At home when I say, “What?” to one of my mumbling family members they get so annoyed. “You’re deaf!” they’ll say. No kidding. If you know that why don’t you speak loud enough so that I can hear you?
If you have a mouth full of food I can’t hear you. If your hand is in front of your mouth I can’t hear you. If we’re at a place where there’s noise in the background I can’t hear you. Can you hear me?