A Weekly Offering of This n That

Rainy Day is my alter ego. She is the little angel that sits on one shoulder and whispers in my ear to forgo that 6" piece of triple chocolate fudge with the four scoops of ice cream on it; she is also the little devil who sits on my other shoulder and convinces me that I can eat just one bite of each and be satisfied, and then laughs with such great abandon when in fact, I eat the whole thing, she falls off my shoulder. Mostly, Rainy Day helps me see the humor in living and, mostly, she encourages me down the right path. Not necessarily the straight and narrow one (how fun is that?) but the path that offers the most adventure and fun.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rainy Day and Her World of Silence

Rainy Day has lived in a fairly silent world for several years, and until recently, it hasn't bothered her all that much.

Many years ago, she went to the Dr. and had her hearing tested. Turns out that it was clinically proven she was going soft in the head. Well, at least the wee little bones in her ears were going soft, so for a year, she took fluoride pills to harden those little suckers. The fluoride pills could stop the loss, but not reverse it.

One thing all those tests revealed is that she had acute hearing in the high range (the range usually lost first) and in the low range, but only 2 decibels left in the mid range, where human voice is.

So, being as how her left ear was her worst ear, she got a hearing aid for her left ear. Big mistrake! Her left ear is her telephone ear, and try as hard as Rainy Day did, she could never get used to using her right ear for the phone.  After a few months, Rainy Day discovered it was far more comfortable to allow her dresser drawer to wear the hearing aid, than for her to wear it, so in the drawer, in it's little box it did stay.

Finally, a few weeks ago, after Rainy Day attended several meetings where she could not hear many of the speakers, she decided to get her hearing retested and to try some new hearing aids. Her world of silence is now over! The new aids are digital, rather than her old analog, and while she knows they are in her ears, they are not uncomfortable, especially when she's talking on the phone!

Rainy Day's world of silence is gone, except at night. When she got her aids the first thing she noticed was how noisy Costco was! Then, as she drove home, she noticed she could actually hear her car – was something wrong?-- it sounded different. Oh, right, she'd never actually heard it before.

She came home and turned the TV on and immediately cut the volume by half! She walked into the kitchen and heard a strange sound, electrical, rhythmic, and eventually figured out it was her Grandmother's old clock – she hadn't heard it since she was a child. In her office was an annoying click, click, click, rather like a slow beating metronome. Yep, you guessed it, the quartz clock on her wall. Her office shares a communal wall (right behind her chair) with the laundry room and furnace. Can you guess how loud they seem now?

Do you have any idea how loud a key board is? Rainy Day does. Even with the hearing aid volume turned down, her typing clacks like a train with a square wheel. Or how noisy clothes are as they are put on or removed? Rainy Day is discovering the joys of hearing water come out of the faucet, her little dog bark, and the wind as it serenades.

The real joy, however, is in hearing people, especially in groups. The agony is in re-teaching her brain to filter out all the background noises that normal hearing folks learned years ago. Noises like washing machines, conversations at other tables in restaurants, the noise of big box stores.

Rainy Day also found out she had some damage done at some point, and that she has a low tolerance for loud noises (She believes her tolerance is 90 decibels, tops!). Isn't that strange? She's deaf but doesn't like loud noises, actually loud noises are quite painful. Go figure. So, it looks like attending live concerts, movies, etc. are still not in Rainy Day's future. Fortunately, the really good ones come out on DVD where she can control the volume—and hit the pause button when she needs to refill her glass;-)

Now, when someone asks Rainy Day a question, she will be able to hear it and respond appropriately instead of sometimes raising eyebrows.

Question: "Rainy Day, would you like to go shopping with me today?"

Answer: "No, I don't think snow is in the forecast."

While hearing will be fun, once she gets used to it, Rainy Day thinks she will also miss her World of Silence.

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