MOST OF THE TIME simply stating I am deaf in my right ear is easier than trying to explain how, a year ago, I lost 70 percent of the hearing in my right ear in an unexplained episode of sudden sensory hearing loss.
Hundreds of times since last March, I’ve repeated, “I am deaf in my right ear,” then turned my left ear toward whomever is speaking to me and asked them to repeat what they’ve just said.
This is not easy, this missing out on conversations, this always conscious effort to remember to sit or walk on the right side of a person. It is exhausting and frustrating and sometimes I just give up.
If I’m in a roomful of people, I may as well sit by myself in a corner. Hearing any snippet of conversation unless I move in close and concentrate is nearly impossible.
About now, you’re likely thinking, “Oh, Audrey, don’t be so vain, just get a darned hearing aid.”
Oh, believe me, if a hearing aid would improve my hearing, I would have one. I cried when an audiologist told me a hearing aid will not work with my type of hearing loss. Yes, I’ve been to specialists, done the MRI, the whole nine yards.
Nothing will change the fact that the door to hearing in my right ear slammed shut in an instant on a Friday afternoon in March of 2011.
In the grand scheme of health issues, hearing loss ranks rather low. Sure it’s inconvenient and annoying and bothersome. But it is not deadly or painful or totally life-altering. I can live with this disability.
And there’s at least one benefit. I live along a busy street, meaning traffic can sometimes keep me awake. Now I need only sleep with my right ear up, left ear pressed against the pillow. And, come morning if I’m still sleeping in that position, I won’t hear the alarm.
© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling