Monday, February 21, 2005

Deafness

A commenter recently asked about my deafness. I started to e-mail her privately, then realized that I have a lot more readers than I used to, and that a few people might not know about the deafness. So, for the benefit of those who are new to the blog, let me explain.

(If you're a regular reader of this blog, then you probably already know all of this stuff.)

I'm not stone-deaf. Far from it. Well, not that far ... but with my hearing aid, I'm pretty functional.

My right ear is pretty much stone-deaf. (I call it my "vestigial" ear because it's really just there for show and for storing earrings on occasion.) It just doesn't work. Never has.

My left ear isn't so good, either. It's better than the right ear (hence the moniker "my good ear"), but it also has quite a bit of hearing loss, particularly in the higher ranges (birds, cell phones, women's voices, children's voices, etc.).

Mostly due to my stubbornness, I didn't get a hearing aid until I was in my late 20's. To put it simply, the hearing aid has changed my life. My right ear is still my "vestigial ear," but my "good ear" can now hear birds, alarms, and the voices of women and children. It doesn't hear them well ... but at least it can now hear the sound. I still have a lot of trouble hearing/discerning the words of people with higher voices, particularly soft-spoken women and younger children who haven't yet learned to articulate their speech.

Don't ask me how I'm able to play piano by ear. It doesn't particularly make sense. It also doesn't make sense that, when I play piano while wearing the hearing aid, it sounds awful. When I play it "deaf," it sounds much better (to other people, as many have attested, and not just to me). Music just seems to make sense to me, whether I can hear it or not. I can't hear the higher notes (roughly the last octave-and-a-half of the piano, though some days I can hear better than others).

As far as I can tell, I've always had the hearing loss. The nerves apparently never did work. When I met my biological father, I learned that he has congenital hearing loss. So I guess it runs in the family.

So that's the abridged explanation of my hearing loss. For those of you who were wondering.

3 comments:

  1. I hadn't realized you were deaf.

    As a music lover myself, I don't know what I would do if I became deaf. However, I think music transcends our ability to hear. I don't know how, but you are living proof that it does. Great post!

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  2. Thank you for sharing that about yourself. For me, it makes your dedication to practice and music all the more encourageing and inspiring!

    blessings and grace.

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