Tuesday, 6 September 2016

On Becoming Un-Deaf

Excuse the poorly-worded title of this post but there isn't quite a word for being deaf and then being able to hear again - only having been able to in the first place.

During 2015, I found that whenever I had a bath, I would wake up the following morning deaf in my left ear. You'd be surprised how hard this is to notice unless someone is sat directly next to you talking to you from that side so to be honest, it didn't really bother me, as the longest it ever stayed for was about 12 hours and then I would be back to having full hearing again.

When I went to uni, I didn't have a bath in my accommodation so I had a few month gap without having one and honestly, completely forgot I'd ever had an issue with them. However, a few days before Christmas when I came home, I took a bath and woke up the following morning with a deaf left ear. And the hearing didn't come back.

Obviously being so close to Christmas and New Year, I struggled to get a doctor's appointment so ended up leaving it and then I went back to work and didn't really have time to take off to go and then by the time I finally had the chance to go, it was June and I didn't really see a lot of point in complaining about an issue that I'd managed to cope with for the past 6 months without too much of an issue.

And yeah, going deaf in one ear really wasn't too much of an issue for me. The first week was rough, as I think I was ill and it was my time of the month and I'd just moved away from my friends for 6 months, so I think a combination of it all left me ready to cry at any moment, but after that, it was mostly fine.

Working in the job that I do, I end up working somewhere new with different people each week, and most of the time I was able to get away with not even telling people that I was half deaf. Where possible if I was talking to someone, I would dart around to the other side so they were on my right and I could hear them better and no one would really notice. In fact, I think most of my friends forget it's an issue because it's really something I've just taken in my stride and I got over it very quickly.

However, on Sunday morning, I woke up feeling like there was a piece of tissue paper stuck to my left ear, and everything was crinkling. Little did I know, it was the sound of the pillowcase I was lying on. I turned on the light switch for my bathroom and jumped at how loud it was, flinched at my mum 'yelling' at me over breakfast. I woke up and my ear was working again.

And to be honest, I wasn't particularly happy to have it back. Everything was so much louder and it was a real struggle to adjust to. Funnily enough, I've actually found it harder to become un-deaf than I did to lose my hearing in the first place.

That being said, I'm grateful to have a functioning left ear again and am revelling in not having to carefully choose where I sit depending on who the most softly spoken person in the group is, and I can have my laptop on a much lower volume when I'm watching Netflix in the evening, but all in all, I honestly wouldn't say that going deaf impacted my life that much.

One of my favourite things about myself is my ability to cope no matter what life throws at me and I think this whole experience has only strengthened that. But am I grateful I went through it? Well, I wouldn't quite go that far!

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Maira Gall