Posts Tagged ‘Listening’


A huge Thank You to everyone who has reached out to me over the last couple of weeks.  Whether it’s been to share your experience, offer support, lend an ear or just say hi, I really appreciate it.
I spoke with a counselor over the phone last week, it felt good to hear from someone who isn’t family or a friend that what I’m feeling is normal.  I choose to speak with someone over the phone for a couple of reasons, I didn’t
have to wait for an appointment, I could call when I felt I needed it the most and it was less intimidating.  My plan is to see how the next week or two goes and if I feel as though I need or want to talk to someone I’ll make a face to face appointment.
While writing my experience and feelings down wasn’t easy, posting and putting out there for everyone to see just how I was feeling helped more than I ever thought it would.  As soon as I hit publish I felt a sense of
relief.  Maybe it was admitting to feeling guilty or maybe it was by publishing what I felt I was finally acknowledging and accepting (and thus no longer fighting) what I was feeling.
This week has been easier, I’m feeling less angry and more engaged, though sometimes I have to persuade myself to go out instead of sitting at home on the couch.  I’m sleeping better, I still wake up a couple of times a night but never in fear and I’m always able to fall back asleep rather quickly.

I still feel numb about the whole incident, it just doesn’t seem real.  I still haven’t cried.
After the urging of a reader, multiple Google searches and a call to a hospital to see if I was overreacting, I went to the ER yesterday to get my hearing checked out.  I actually have really poor hearing to being with, due to a hole in my ear drum I have severe hearing loss in my right ear.  The left ear is better but due to scar tissue caused by the repairing of a hole, my hearing in that ear is below normal.  The first couple of days after the blast my hearing seemed to have improved, I was picking up noises I typically wouldn’t.  The last two weeks my hearing has been worse.
Another reality I didn’t really want to face.
I passed it off as part of being distracted and disengaged.  Due to the hearing loss it’s extremely easy for me to zone out, if I’m not looking at you chances are I’m not listening.  I’ve also had a cold so it’s possible that my ears are blocked.  But I have noticed that it has been more difficult to hear people when they’re whispering, so sucking it up and getting my hearing checked out was in my best interest.

The hearing test was worse than I imagined.  These tests always stress me out as there is no way I’ll ever “pass” and the results usually lead to really loud questioning on how I function on a daily basis.  During the beep test the women yelled at me for raising my hand when there weren’t any beeps (clearly you fooled me).  Then she asked me if I was even trying, I fought back tears and decided it was best to ignore her.  I also showed amazing restraint while she interrupted the session to diagnose my ear problems and then again later on when she got the headband stuck in my hair.
On a positive note hospital security was not notified of my visit so I should have no issues returning in a couple of weeks for a follow-up with a specialist.
The test results, my hearing is worse (though not significantly) and the hole in my ear drum is larger, both of which could be attributed to the explosion at the marathon.  The doctor I spoke with in the ER mentioned that they’ve seen numerous cases like this from people who were close by the blasts.

If you are experiencing hearing loss (for any reason) you should get it checked out…sooner rather than later unlike me.  I went to the ER at Mass Eye and Ear, despite my rant above they were extremely helpful and knowledgeable. 

Having to take a hearing test can easily ruin my week. 
Side Note: I have a hearing aid but don’t use it, I found it extremely difficult to deal with as it seemed to pick up more side noise.  For example if you and I were talking, I wouldn’t hear you any louder but I would pick up the person in the next office typing and someone across the room chewing their gum.  It actually made me feel bad for people who don’t have hearing problems, how do you deal with all the outside distractions?!
Yesterday I learned that the type of hearing aid I have wouldn’t really help my type of hearing loss and that’s why I could never adjust to it.   (I would feel better about being right if I hadn’t spent so much money on the hearing
As to how I function on a daily basis: I strategically place myself so that I’ll be able to see/hear the majority of people in the room.  When walking/running with friends I make sure their on my left. 

Also, I’m fairly decent at reading lips.  I sometimes get self-conscious that people are going to get creeped out when/if they realize that I’m not making eye contact but rather staring at their mouths.  But in reality I don’t think most people notice.  The volume on the TV is louder than most people would watch at and despite having really good eye sight I tend to sit close so that I can read the actors lips.  If the voice is off  it drives me nuts and I’ll end up changing the channel. 

I’ve also gotten more comfortable asking people to speak up and if need be explaining my listening limitations.

I can’t listen if I can’t hear you!


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