Days 1 and 2: The Silence Strikes Back & This isn’t my coffee.
For most who don’t know, I almost completely deaf in my right ear and whatever is useful in my left is assisted by the use of a properly working hearing aid. I have had issues in the past with hearing aids malfunctioning but never to a point that I would be without hearing for more than a week. My hearing aid malfunctioned and I am now thrown into a chaotic world of communicating and surviving without the ability to properly hear. I don’t use sign language, nor do I know how. Given that the largest part of the population doesn’t communicate this way, it never seemed useful to learn. Until now.
Let me preface this with the fact that my last moment among the hearing world was used up watching the movie 2012. Is there a connection to the world ending and my hearing loss? I am starting to wonder. I awoke in the morning to the hearing aid not being on, which isn’t any different from any other day as I usually don’t turn it on until I am at work. I don’t like hearing the world all of the time and its great to have this nifty little option of mine. Now when I got to work, I turned the hearing aid on, no sound, turned it off, back on, oops we have a problem. Panicking at work I am trying in vain to bring Frankenstein to life and not a chance.There begins the adventure. People who think I am ignorant most days, now really think I am a jackass as I walk by totally ignoring them. Really I am a nice guy, not a snob, if I need to pull the snob I always blame it on the hearing problem anyways. It’s a win win without having to hurt people’s feelings.
My hearing aid dispensary clinic is in the far west of the city here in Toronto and while making my way there I message my girlfriend whom shares the same beautiful world of silence as I do. Naturally being caring and worried she bolts out to save the silent guy and drive me to my audiologist. We make the long trek and land at the doorstep of my hearing aid clinic and amazingly it was closed. I just stepped back, sat down in defeated state while Carri gave me the consoling ‘poor bastard’ sympathetic pats and kisses. The beautiful thing about Carri is that she in fact relies on hearing aids and instantly took her left hearing aid and handed it to me. I am part laughing because of the cuteness of it, but the really awesome feeling of possibly being able to swap hearing aids became very sexy all of the sudden. In attempting to use Carri’s hearing aid I quickly realized how bad my hearing really is. I spent the rest of the afternoon with a pretty hearing aid in my ear that was barely a hush above whisper for this deaf guy, nonetheless adoring the fact that Carri sacrificed some hearing just for me. I spent the day tripling the amount of “what?” , “huh?” , “sorry” and generally just agreeing and laughing when everyone else did. No one else would know this except Carri who would throw the odd occasional test out there to see if I am comprehending or being an ass. Can’t con a con, that is one ammunition I can’t use on her, she gets me every time. Must drive this into memory for future reference. “SHE KNOWS MY SECRETS”!!
Excitedly I awoke to make the run to my now open hearing aid clinic to salvage something so that I can go back to work. I started my morning as usual, jumped on the streetcar and made my way to a coffee shop before I would jump on a train. I march in to order my cup of brew, so far so good, this should be a walk in the park. “Large black dark roast please” server offers up a whole bunch of words that didn’t make sense. I said again “Large black dark roast please” ignoring anything she said. She returned with something else I couldn’t make out and I just nodded “Yes” thinking she said “do you want it to go?” she disappears for a moment and returns with my coffee. Beaming, I leave the shop thinking that wasn’t so bad. I don’t drink my coffee right away because it is too hot. About half way through my train ride I open my coffee and voila I have a double double. Somewhere between the verbal exchanges I agreed to a double double. I always drink black and never veer from it. I am now on the train, can’t throw it out so I spent the rest of the trip enjoying my double double.
Arrive on the doorstep of my audiologist to find that my usual is on vacation and have to deal with someone else as he talks quietly to me about the fact that he can’t get something or other and a whole bunch of other words that didn’t make any sense to me. Problem #1 : Audiologist who knows he is dealing with a hearing impaired client and his broken hearing aid is speaking to me in a normal voice. Problem #2: Me being the hearing impaired client having to explain that you are holding my dead hearing aid, therefore you must speak up. Problem #3 He continues talking to me with his back turned to me. I am not very good at reading or hearing the back of heads let alone you talking face to face with me. Bringing Problem #4 explaining that you need to face forward so I can read your lips if you insist on speaking in a normal voice. You can understand my nervousness here right? All in all at the end there was nothing that could be done. I am now forced into a week vacation without really wanting to be on one let alone having it be a “Quiet Vacation”.
The worse part of having no hearing is not being able to work in the job I am capable of. My job requires communication and lots of it therefore making me a paperweight without ears. Off I go to work to explain my plight in person as I obviously can’t hear very well by phone. I am standing, able-bodied, no fever, no shivers, no snuffles, no mumps or unheard of flu’s. I am calling in deaf this week. I can’t work because I can not hear you is not a common every day work excuse. Feeling like a tool, bade my farewells.
I updated my profile wishing for a silent movie theatre and thus comments came in. First one of concern of whether I can hear at all or read lips to ultimately how it becomes uncomfortable for me to read lips of women as they always think I am looking at their chest. From the art of reading boobs and my new-found silent week starts my “Excellent Silent Toronto Vacation Adventure”. Rather than become a hermit, I decided to have fun with this and photograph my life daily as I go through trying to survive without normal communication with this world. I am hoping that I won’t have to drink any more double double’s this week but will be sure to keep you informed of all the gaffes that occur.