Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Poet Goes to the Audiologist

I've been having problems with my hearing for many years now. My ears produce too much wax--so far, the only genetic trait I could do without; I've been lucky in the health inheritance department (ask me my cholesterol number! I have inherited my mother's family's tendency towards low cholesterol). Last year, I finally broke down and went to a specialist. My problem is more than just excessive wax. We've been doing some follow up work, and the news is good: no nerve damage, no holes where they shouldn't be. Apparently, there's a tiny bone that isn't vibrating like it should. I could have a titanium bone implanted to replace the imperfect bone. Or I could just have a hearing aid. Or I could not do anything. My hearing isn't perfect, but it could be worse.

I worry that if I go for the permanent, surgical fix, I'll start hearing everything I haven't been hearing for years, and that I'll go mad.

I wish there was an implant that would block the bass beats that everyone feels compelled to share these days.

Part of the hour of testing involved putting on headphones and repeating words that the audiologist said. My poet brain immediately started racing, connecting words and making odd associations. It was hard to concentrate on the words, but I reminded myself what was at stake and forced myself to pay attention.

It made me wonder how much of my hearing problem is due to my poet brain. Maybe some part of me is always whirling off towards potential poems, instead of continuing to focus on what I'm hearing.

One of the words the audiologist wanted me to repeat was deaf. Yes, the word deaf during a HEARING TEST!! At least, I think it was the word deaf. What kind of person with what kind of odd sense of humor put this test together?

Can I get in on that market? I'd be very good at word lists.


Shefali Shah Choksi said...

Trust you to see cosmic patterns between words and a world beyond hearing, and by extension, meaning.
loved this one.
in my worst fantasies, you know the kind in which one loses bodily parts and faculties, i think hearing is the only sense whose loss i'd be willing to tolerate. i'd miss the music (mine, not the bass) but other than that, i think i'd be more productive if i could just stop hearing, both the text and the subtext!

Kristin said...

As children, we played a macabre game: "Which would you rather lose, your sight or your hearing? Your arm or your leg? Your mom or your dad?" On and on we'd go.

I, too, have always known that I'd sacrifice hearing before losing sight. I'm finding that a lot of sound these days just derails my ability to concentrate and it's hard to get back on track.