I’ve had a perforated eardrum. It was the non-implanted side, after a chest infection/cough….sudden sharp pain…..fluid coming out of my ear…..ring 111…..trip to see emergency doctor on a Saturday morning. It all seems fine now but yes I did panic. I particularly panicked when I couldn’t hear my hearing aid’s reassuring plinkety-plink-plink sound when I turned it on. My GP said it might take a few weeks for the eardrum to heal enough to give me my “normal” hearing back in that ear but, just two weeks after it all began, things sound pretty good. So that’s not the main point of this post. The point is……what do you say to yourself to check that your ears are working???
The sound my hearing aid makes when I turn it on is a huge “tell” for me. I can tell immediately if things are OK with that ear, because the plinkety-plink-plink sounds like it should. If it sounds dull or unusually quiet then I start thinking either that I’ve got a build-up of ear wax or perhaps a stuffy head from a cold. I start worrying about it until it recovers its normal levels of sharpness. Last week I was worrying so much I forced myself only to try to hear the sound once a day. I’d take myself off to some quiet place, turn the hearing aid on, close my eyes, send off a million wishes and concentrate feverishly. When I started to be able to hear “something” I think I started cheering, it was such a relief. Hurrah hurrah! I have very little hearing left in that ear but I like what I have. I don’t want to lose it.
On my implant side I get a reassuring “snap” in the morning when my speech processor locks into contact with the magnet in my skull. It’s unmistakable but I still like to try out a few sounds to check I’m in touch with the world. I might cough, or listen out for the sound of the light switch.
I know I’m not the only person to have these little rituals. A couple of years ago Charlie Swinbourne (Limping Chicken) wrote a post about how he made a clicking sound with his tongue to check that all was well when he turned his hearing aids on. His wife (also a hearing aid wearer) said “ha”. Someone else he knew said “hello hello hello” and people commenting on the post admitted to other variants, including “testing one two three”, “go go go” and clapping. It’s all very entertaining and you can read it here.
So what do YOU do?
And do you do THIS? Do you ever check what you can hear without any technology to help you at all? I am now so completely deaf on my right side and very, very, very deaf on my left side that the world without my two contraptions is an incredibly silent place. In the shower I can’t hear if the water is running, I have to look. Nigel knows not to try to say anything to me in the night. So sometimes I experiment with what I CAN hear (aid-less). My “tell” for this one is to click my finger nails together right at the entrance to my ear canal. On the right side……nothing. On the left side……yes, definitely something there. WHY do I do this?? I really don’t know. Is it just me??
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