Sunday 24 March 2013

Deaf Girly and her hearing aids

This weekend has been amazing. I've had Miss K staying don't you know as it was her hen do.

I was half in charge of organising this, along with the Mountain Climber and luckily, it was a complete success.

Aside from that though, for me it was a little bit bittersweet, as I realised just how deaf the non hearing-aid wearing me was... and the fact that I actively decided not to be that person anymore still breaks a little bit of my heart.

Which is of course ridiculous, but then this is me we are talking about. So let's start at the beginning shall we...

On Saturday, we went to a spa for the day. There were six of us and we all went to have a treatment before enjoying the sauna, hot tub and pool.

Given the fact that I am insanely accident prone, I decided to take out my hearing aids from the start while still in the changing room, to make sure there was no way they'd end up floating in the jacuzzi or dying of stream inhalation.

Immediately, I lost all idea of what was going on. Who was talking to who. Where sounds were coming from.

'I don't remember it being this bad,' I found myself thinking.

We went in the jacuzzi. Over the sound of the jets, I couldn't hear anything. I didn't know a lot of the people there either so they didn't lipread easily.

'I don't remember this so much either,' I thought.

I went for my massage and they turned down the lights and I realised I couldn't follow anything.

'Was it always like this?' I wondered.

I mean sure, I remember the frustrations of being really deaf. Heck, this very blog is evidence of that. And even with my hearing aids, it's not like I can hear everything. It's not like everything's perfect.

But I yesterday I realised what was making me feel sad was that I missed the old feeling feeling not knowing what I was missing.

I always used to laugh at people who asked me what I could and couldn't hear, because honestly, if you can't hear something, you're not going to be able to tell someone about it as you won't know it exists.

Yesterday however, I was acutely aware of what I couldn't hear. You see, I forget that I used to not even bother to try and follow conversations and just go into my own world in group situations. I never realised that I could be included. But with my hearing aids, I am included. I follow group conversations more, I expect to know what's going on, so when I am without them and I don't, it's a shock.

Tonight, I walked into my bedroom, took off my make-up and took out my hearing aids. The sound of the water running in the bathroom vanished. The hum of the traffic outside vanished. The audible light in my world vanished. And rather than running around my room in a panic like a headless chicken - as I once did after taking my hearing aids out - I just felt sad.

I felt sad that the original Deafinitely Girly wasn't enough for me. That I'd spent 32 years of my life coming to terms with being that person and then suddenly changed her.

I don't like my world without my hearing aids now. A world I once proudly defended to all audiologists who tried to change that.

I accept that my world with hearing aids is better. Things happen that I know wouldn't have otherwise.

So why do I feel so sad?

I know I've got to make peace with my old world, and the old Deafinitely Girly, and accept that this is my world now. A world that's noisy by day and quiet by night. As one of my mates said recently, 'Some people would pay good money for a world like that!'

And she was right, they would.

I'll find my way. I'll work out how to let go of the past. And I'll just have to get less clumsy so that on the next spa day I come on, the hearing aids can come, too.

Happy Monday peeps (or Sunday if you're reading it as soon as it goes up)



Emily Dame said...

Change is always hard and I feel for you.

Anonymous said...

Take it as it comes and enjoy the good. Keep writing!!

@lucyclare said...

Hello DG! I follow you on Twitter and found your blog that way.

What you say about the 'original' you and the way you are now with the hearing aids really resonates with me.

I am deaf on one side only, since birth. As a child I never used an aid, and when I was offered one at 18 it was a helpful thing rather than a massive life change.

But now I've been offered an operation which would quite probably fix my deafness almost completely, and I'm hugely ambivalent about going for it. In practical terms it would be good, but there's emotional barriers which I haven't been able to articulate. What you have written makes a lot of sense to me. My hearing impairment is an annoyance but it's part of me. Do I want to change me? Would that mean that now-me isn't good enough somehow? It's difficult. I decided rationally a few months ago that I should have the operation but I still haven't written to the hospital to say that I would like it.

(Having it, I'd lose one of the handy things about my deafness, much like what you've said - I can sleep with my good ear in the pillow and ignore outside noises! I'd miss that.)

Thanks for writing about your experiences.

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