Adele, Imma need you to come from the other side and say hi right to my face. Otherwise, sista, I won’t be able to hear ya.
That’s what I saw my audiologist say.
Oh yeah, apparently I’ve been half-hearing with my ears and the other half with my eyes. Funny that my blog’s title is Volume and Light. I’m one big Shakespearean tragedy.
The ways of the ear are miraculous.
When scheduling the hearing test, they requested that I bring someone whose voice is familiar, so it was either Linwood or Jax. Hubs, like many before him, believed my listeners were discriminatory – “I think you hear what you wanna hear.” Such a load of earwax. I learned him. But I digress.
We made it to the audiologist on a Friday morning during a thunderstorm. The first test put the incredulous Linwood in one corner and me in the opposite corner about 12 feet apart. He was instructed to read a list of words and I was instructed to repeat, with eyes closed. Nervous and a little miffed, I sat straight in my chair ready to repeat every word from the voice I’d been hearing for more than 25 years. “Wipe” wait, what? White? “Fat” uh, Jax? No shit, it was that bad. “Ms. Hawkins, people tend to miss 2 or 3, you missed 10 and an additional 7 you guessed and got correct.” I hate you, ear man. Yo mama must be so disappointed in you.
It’s amazing how soundwaves vibrate the “little hair” in the ear canal making its way to the brain in the time it takes one to snap her fingers. When the little hair is damaged, the hearing of varying frequencies become compromised. That’s me. Damaged little hair. Frequency challenged.
My hearing has been crap for several years, but when you’re not working full-time and your nest is semi-empty, you’re forced to pay attention to yourself. The years of hearing “mama, you don’t hear that?” and “Vesia, I know you heard me” didn’t really motivate me. However, my crazy, beautiful best friend did.
My bestie, Pam, recently had surgery and I couldn’t make to Atlanta to see her so I had to rely on our phone conversations. For years I have been secretly decoding our phone events. I spend roughly 50% of my input asking her to repeat herself and other times to keep her from getting tired (or pissed) I would just pretend to understand. Nearly every phone call she says “I thought I told you..” or “Don’t you remember me telling you?” I either pretend to remember or concede to forgetting. Something about her voice’s frequency translates into a garbled mess through the phone –and, oh yeah, I can’t utilize my eyes. The one person whose voice I’ve listened to for more than 35 years has eluded me. So I broke the news that our phone calls have been one big, fat lie. For the remainder of the call she spoke slowly and lowly. I cussed her good.
The audiologist with the disappointed mama explained that years of non-use atrophies the part of the brain that controls sound. So stupid. So even with hearing aids I will only take in about 90% of sound. Of course, I’m going to fight for that 90%. I assured the ear man (and I’m sure my belly hanging over my pants confirmed) that there are no issues with vanity here. I just want to hear – be part of the conversation instead of “compensating” by pretending to look at my phone or take pictures.
In all seriousness, I can’t help but wonder what I’ve missed. What have I misunderstood? I’ve conducted hundreds of business and personal transactions and, surely, I’ve missed something. So, my friends, if you have said something that warranted a response and I just looked and smiled, my apologies. I didn’t hear a word you said. Charge it to my ears.
“Hello from the other side
I must of called a thousand times
To tell you I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done
But when I call you never seem to be home
Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I tried…” – Adele