So I’m sitting here at home on another summers evening. Keeping busy as usual. Not thinking of what I might have been doing had my life not fallen to pieces from this stroke of difficulty that fell upon me. Not thinking about Glastonbury or all the festivals that I might have danced at had my body not been so drastically injured by this passing invisible unknown thing that, randomly, deliberately or cruelly chose me. I’m not thinking about how long this might go on for or how I will live a life I want to live without my hearing or inner ear balance or with this awful metal on metal screeching sound in my head.
I decided today that since my hearing has fluctuated, I should not waste any opportunities to listen to music (just in case there is any further decline in future).
If you had asked me before what pastime gave me the most pleasure I would have said music. I was born singing and as soon as I was old enough was playing with records and tapes, recording sounds over and over each other to create music. I learnt flute at school, taught myself guitar as a young teen and then ditched them both for turntables once the dance music scene took me over. I’ve always loved singing but my voice got pretty ruined by 20 years of smoking. I’d always promised myself that if I could quit smoking I’d treat myself to singing lessons.By the time I quit I felt I was too old to start from scratch.
It’s always been one of my biggest regrets that I didn’t do anything with my love of music. About 2 years ago I treated myself to the most beautiful and sweet sounding Breedlove guitar. I fell in love with this particular guitar as soon as I heard it. I yearned for it for a whole summer and went to visit it in Denmark Street so many times that eventually the shop keeper took mercy on me and let me have it with a discount. Unfortunately years later it’s been sitting untouched on its stand. Life got busy with work, boyfriends and other necessities and I’ve been waiting for a quiet time to devote to it.
I’m certainly no songbird, and never really honed skills in any instruments…but nevertheless, music and singing is a pleasure to me without comparison. And so as my hearing deteriorated over the past 4 months, and sounds have became increasingly distorted, I’ve become scared of listening to music and it sounding really awful as then I’d have to face the loss of something so deeply precious to me.
And so I decided tonight for the first time in 4 months, to be brave, and try to listen to some music.
Although the quality is lost, I can hear music when it’s streamed straight into my hearing aids. I cried a lot – because I feel both blessed to be able to hear music at all, but also because I’m so sad that the quality is so awful. Because I am profoundly deaf in the high frequencies, music is distorted and compressed. I’ve lost the quality, the roundness, the smoothness. What I hear is probably a bit like the sound that comes out of speakers you’d buy in the £1 shop – crackly, edgy, tinny. … But I can still hear enough to enjoy the song if it’s straight into my aids.
But I don’t see how I’ll ever enjoy listening with other people as the music would have to be really loud for me to hear it through speakers. I worry it will sound like the TV – fuzzy, undefined, noise that I cant quite make out. Every situation where there is music playing in the background is going to be uncomfortable for me as I will be excluded from the mutual enjoyment of it and instead have to tolerate its distortion. I didn’t try playing music through my speakers tonight as I have no sense of volume and don’t want to wake the street. I’ll try tomorrow with a box of tissues and update here.
I know there is a lot worse that could have happened. There are far more people that have more significant things to be sad about. But to me, who’s life is now monk-like, unable to go out and be with people because I either hear too much or not enough, my loss of hearing and my loss of music is my sadness tonight. Tonight I play the blues for all that has been lost these past few months – for my partner in crime who left without even so much as a goodbye, for my desirability, freedom, ability to walk, drive, run, dance, hear, listen, respond, communicate, mix and merge in the world.
I’ve done so so well. People I meet compliment me on how well look and how positive and chirpy I am despite whats happened. I really feel I’ve coped amazingly. Tonight I allow myself a little crumble. There is only so long I can be in denial of how much I have lost. My life as I knew it has been taken from me and I’ve no choice but to start again…learning how to live with my poor injured ears in a world.
Here’s a song for us. Ray Lamontagne soothes my soul and I hope he soothes yours to.
I’d really love to hear from others with sudden severe hearing loss. There must be ways of managing to still enjoy music? So far there haven’t been many deafened people respond to my blog and I certainly haven’t come across any people who have experienced it as quickly as me in both ears. Anyone else out there been/going through this experience?