I’m sure no one knew this, except my wife maybe. I’m sure I din’t know it myself. I was partially deaf for the last couple of years!
Yes, I didn’t realize it until it got much worse recently.
Now there could be a possible explanation as to why it took me such a long time to acknowledge it. Perhaps, just maybe, I actually enjoyed it.
There were several advantages to not being able to hear properly. I could manage the daily traffic, concerts, bars ‘n pubs, and other loud noised places with comfortable ease. I could ignore much of what people had to say by just nodding my head. The alarm clock failed to annoy me! Everyone seemed polite, even when they were angry! I didn’t have to turn the volume heavily down during ad-breaks on TV!
But what was really beautiful about it, is that I could hear myself as closely as I possibly could! Every breath, every heave, every sigh, and every little gurgle from inside of me had my full attention. With sounds from the world outside almost cut-off, the world inside my head had become a large acoustic studio for all the murmur within.
Over time, the muffled comfort soon turned into nothing short of claustrophobia. I felt trapped inside my head and I had to get out of there somehow. I couldn’t stand speaking to myself anymore. I hated my inner voice. He was too loud and mostly didn’t make much sense. Having a conversation in your head most times is the worst nightmare. To the deaf (in George Carlin’s words), they now have nicer way to put it across – to the “hearing impaired” this is an everyday reality and I now have new found respect to those unfortunate.
Sure I was an idiot for not listening to the Doctor when I happened to make a chance visit a few months ago. The reason too was simple enough – Ear Wax! I was told use to an ear wax dissolvent (Soliwax) three times for five days and come back later for cleaning. I agreed and never went back. First, I was lazy to follow the protocol religiously. Second, I was able to manage just fine. Until, last week! My left ear was completely sound-proofed. I could no longer hear anything coming in that direction even if it were a speeding train. This was followed by a deep sharp pain each time I opened and closed my jaw to chew food using molars on my left. This was it, I HAD TO visit the doctor and fix this once and for all.
So I finally did what I was recommended by the Doctor months ago and went in for my cleaning. He smiled, picked up an overweight syringe (I mean it was fat and huge and long), filled it full with water, placed a debris container next to my chin, and did a Swooooosh thing right inside my ear. Going once, going twice, and gone – A Big Fat Chunk of Ear Wax plopped out of my ear and that was it.
I have never felt a much greater sense of gratitude until that happened. If it were appropriate, I would have kissed the doctor. I wanted to scream, “I CAN HEAR! I CAN HEAR!” I had been handed the gift of being able to hear every sound more clearly all over again. I felt indebted, but just a Rs.500 fee settled it.
To some the gift of hearing is beyond what can be expressed with words. Watch this:
How do I feel? I feel like I’ve turned into Spiderman overnight. Like I’ve acquired this new super listening power. Tree leaves ruffling, every musical note in every song (I’m a musician, so this makes it extra special), the wind whistling, the clinking of dog chains, the random unexplained creaks at night, I can hear everything.
But the euphoria I’ve experienced since yesterday has only but died down come today, a Monday morning. The traffic, the horns, and the screeches, were so overwhelming that it got to a point where I felt like just closing my ears all over again. I couldn’t take it. Why are we killing this wonderful gift of hearing that we’ve been bestowed upon with noise pollution. If you don’t think its a real problem, trust me it is. Read this.
I can’t help but wonder, “Have we become accustomed to living like this?” “Are we just noisy by nature?” “Why do horns have to be so shrill?” I was wondering if we could replace all horns with good music or something so pleasant that people would smile at you before they moved. I’m positive the horns of our famous Autowallahs can be modified to play the best Jazz music! Imagine generators that played Beethoven, airplanes that took off to a heavy rock song. Can we do this? Can we modulate the noise created by machines into music? Can somebody think of this and come up with ideas?
Let me know, I’d love to hear!