Cogitationes me: Thought of the day (for myself) [002.021.337]


I always thought that if there was a sense that I would not mind loosing it was my hearing. Today’s world is so full of sounds. The street noises, the planes criss-crossing the sky, the radio, the tv, the incessant chatting. The music has become cacophony and it is more of a distraction now. I thought it would be like being in a sensory deprivation box. It would be relaxing and calming. Like letting myself float at the surface of the lake (or pool), hearing only the lapping sound of the waves on the quay and the muffled, distant noise of the other kids playing on the beach. I valued vision so much more because it was definitely more essential for the input of knowledge by reading, watching documentaries, observing my surroundings, appreciating the beauty of the world… I don’t know how I would be able to continue living if I was loosing my vision. However, I thought that loosing my hearing wouldn’t change me much, could be a blessing even. I had an uncle that had become completely deaf after an accident and he was managing well. Hmm…. There is nothing that makes you appreciate something more than loosing it.

I have been practically (and hopefully temporarily) deaf for four days now . That’s what a rhinitis (very bad cold) coupled with a bilateral otitis does to you. Inflammation and cerumen block the ear canal, possibly impeding the movement of the tympanic membrane, infection and mucus also possibly obstructing the Eustachian tube, and voilà: you have hearing loss. These days, with the coronavirus pandemic, it is hard to see a doctor and even more a specialist like an otorhinolaryngologist (ORL). There’s no one to treat you quickly and reassure you… There’s just medication (antibiotics and ear drops) and patiently waiting for a distant appointment. In the meantime, I can barely hear anything but my aggravated tinnitus, people have to talk loudly right to my face, I have to put the phone volume to the max, I cannot watch tv without making enemy of my neighbours (or if I use earphones with the volume cranked up my head hurts after an hour), if I hear a sound I cannot tell from where, I cannot hear the birds nor the wind, I cannot hear the cat when he’s hungry or angry, I cannot hear the doorbell or the alarm clock, I cannot hear someone walking or a car coming, I cannot hear the silence (yeah! That’s thing) and I can’t even work (I can easily handle an exceedingly boring job that necessitate brutal concentration even with the terrible migraine I’ve had since May, but listening all day only to my tinnitus and not being able to understand needed instructions or essential informations, or even the office chit-chat: that’s unbearable). Maybe it’s the perfect time to catch up on my reading and writing?

No, being deaf is far from relaxing or calming. It is the most stressful experience of my life. I realize that it is the loss of nearly half the sensory information that my mind has access to (smell [the dainty fragrance of a flower], taste [the sweetness of a fruit] and touch [the warm softness of a woman’s skin], all together have a much smaller bandwidth than vision and hearing; although their data is more subtle and profound, triggering more easily connections with memory). It is now obvious to me that loosing the sense of hearing, it represents a lot. Enough to make you feel cut off the world. It also makes you paranoid, wondering what’s lurking beyond your field of vision. This vulnerability of not being in control of my full perception makes me annoyed and irritable. I hate being in that state. Hopefully I will get better soon. So, believe me when I tell you to enjoy what you have while you can because you never know when you gonna loose it!

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