Though I find myself favouring the expression “hearing loss” to talk about “hearing that’s not ‘normal'”, it always feels wrong for me.
You see, I haven’t lost my hearing: I just never had it. Well, the part that’s missing. Because there is a sizeable chunk that is there. Give me 60 dB in any frequency (down to 25 in my better ones) and I’ll happily hear.
As far as I can tell, I was born with “hearing like that”. I share my cookie-bite audiogramme with my brother and father, a typical situation of hereditary congenital “not hearing well-ness”.
Saying “hearing loss” makes it sound like at some point I lost my hearing. Like I have a “before” and an “after”, or that my hearing is deteriorating. That I have an awareness of what life with “more hearing” is like. But my “loss-less” story is very different from the stories of loss that others like Stu, Christina, Howard or Angie have been through. Continue reading “I Never Lost My Hearing”
In late summer of 2010, my wife was dying.
Managing the late stages of a rare and fatal cancer was challenging enough, but our communication was deteriorating as well. Her voice had weakened to a whisper and my poor hearing and inadequate hearing aid could not compensate. We sat quietly in her final weeks making contact with our eyes and hands when words failed us both.
And then she was gone.
Continue reading “As One Song Ends, Another Finds Its Voice”
There are very few things about which I feel shame. Shame: “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong and foolish behavior”. Note this: the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.
However, we are often made to feel shame over the silliest things. Some people are made to feel ashamed because their clothes are “so last season”, or they are unable to have a certain amount of income. Many of us who read and write for Open Ears have had at least one experience with shame over hearing loss. But where is the “wrong and foolish behavior” in having ears that do not function as we believe they should? This ill-placed experience of shame causes us to forget what is truly wrong and foolish behavior, which we should justly feel ashamed of.
How do I know what it’s like to carry a wrong idea of shame? At age 16, I learned what shame really was by becoming a bully.
Continue reading “Parker: The Boy Who Taught Me About Shame”