Sunday, September 27, 2009

Unexpected Endings

Whenever I thought about possibly going deaf, it always seemed a remote possibility…couldn’t really happen to me. The further I got from my NF2 diagnosis, it became even more distant. Then I lost my right ear’s hearing through the operation…but still…my left ear’s hearing was outstanding. I still remember though almost the exact moment I lost a chunk of my “good” ear’s hearing. I was standing out in the garage for a sale we had that morning, and I realized my ears felt stuffy and I wouldn’t be able to understand the customers. At that point I thought it was just a cold or allergies, nothing more. Then over the next few days it didn’t improve. Oh I could still hear some. I could even hear voices, but I could not understand what was being said.

It happened during a stressful time in my life anyway so this certainly didn’t help things. I will always be thankful though that I lost my hearing in gradual phases. The Lord was so gracious in allowing me time to adapt. It gave me time to adjust a little each time I dropped to the next level and to grieve the changes it caused as a result.

This year after I had my hearing test and never had to push the button when I heard the beep…because I heard never heard a beep. After looking at the test results the doctor asked me if my hearing aid did me any good. I assured him it at least helped me hear when my dogs were barking that someone was at the door. My hearing couldn’t be so bad that a hearing aid wouldn’t even help at all, could it?

A couple of weeks after that appointment I was honest with myself. It made no difference whether my hearing aid was in or not, I couldn’t hear anything going on around me…no matter how loud it was. I decided it was time to quit wearing my hearing aid. Silence though was not an option. That’s when I learned being deaf wasn’t about no sound. Now instead of voices, laughter, dogs barking…I hear whistles, bells, trains…all kinds of “fun” noises. Sometimes I can even manage to make a song out of the noises, to at least make the tinnitus less annoying. The worst though is when it sounds like someone is singing or playing a piano out of key! That grates on my nerves after “listening” to it all day long. The noises change or get louder when I move my eyes. The other day the tinnitus almost sounded like a bell choir. Well when I moved my eyes different directions the pitch changed. If anyone saw me they would have thought I was insane, but I started moving my eyes back and forth and all around. It was like getting to hear a bell choir playing a song again. Whether it is a roar, a screech, static or a bell, I have learned these are the Sounds of Silence.