Everyday I think about how important our senses are. Especially hearing. Imagine a world without sound. It would be so dead and dull. No jamming out to your favorite song. No whistling. I’d never hear the sound of my Mustang starting or my best friend’s contagious laughter. I can’t even begin to imagine living in a world and not being able to hear, but there are people out there who live with that reality everyday.
Some people are born deaf. Some people lose their hearing through injury and sometimes the ability to hear fades away with age.
But in today’s world through the help of modern medicine, many people are fortunate enough to be able to regain their hearing and some are even able to gain the ability, which they never possessed to begin with.
This reminds me of a video I saw once (video below) of a 29 year-old woman who had received an ear implant and finally heard herself for the first time. The sound of my own voice is something I never really think about. And this woman was brought to tears by it. I found the experience extremely moving and it revitalized my passion in someday helping people with their hearing disabilities as well.
I imagine people who experience traumatic hearing loss have the hardest times coping with their deafness. They know what they are missing out on. Like soldiers who lose their hearing after being too close to a bomb explosion. I imagine their experiences to be much like the time my sister accidentally kicked me in the ear while we were horsing around in the pool. My vision went blurry for a few moments and it felt like my ear canal was vibrating. I could not hear my sister apologizing or my mom telling me to get out of the pool. Their mouths were moving and all I could hear was a steady ringing. I panicked when I thought I might be like that forever. Luckily, after shaking the water out and letting a few minutes pass my hearing returned and my panic dissipated.
To continue research on traumatic hearing loss, please visit: http://www.dmrti.army.mil/documents/Acoustic%20Trauma%20and%20Hearing%20Loss%20Information%20Paper%2021%20Jul%2007.pdf
This also makes me think of Ms. Dotty. She’s 93 years-old and very hard of hearing. She has a hearing aid, which she’s only remembered to wear about fifty percent of the times I’ve visited with her. Even though her memory isn’t the sharpest (though I can’t say the same about all her witty remarks) I’m so grateful for our ability to communicate which would be almost impossible without the assistance of her hearing aid and my hearing. Being able to still tell Ms. Dotty how my job and my studies are doing and seeing her be proud of me after telling her about my classes reinforces my commitment to learning more about the ear with hopes of one day being able to benefit others who have lost their hearing due to old age.
I just hope that people realize how important of a sense hearing truly is and how complex and fragile the human ear can be.