Ever since I was little, I have had issues with my ears. Whether its ear infections, not being able to hear well, or even my eardrum bursting, there’s always been something. I’ve had multiple surgeries to get tubes in my ears, or to patch up the holes in my eardrums. Each issue comes with it’s own problems. Either I can’t go underwater, I have to deal with a lot of pain, or I can’t eat certain things, and a lot of money is spent. This has just been something I’ve dealt with my whole life, and I was used to the consistency of nothing ever fixing my ears. But everything change a few months ago.
We were at an appointment with my Ear Nose Throat doctor, Dr. Winkle. I was relaxing comfortably in the cushy chair that all patients sit in. He sat down on the stool next to me, and looked at me sympathetically.
“The hole in your eardrum has not closed up,” He said to my mom and I.
“So… What can we do?” My mom asked.
“We could try patching it up again,” Dr. Winkle told us. This would not be the first time
I would get this surgery. “However, I can’t guarantee that this would improve your hearing and you might be more prone to ear infections. Another option is hearing aids…” When he said those words, my nose went numb, as it does when I get nervous. The glimmering doctor tools in his pocket seemed to stared at me. My mom and I didn’t know what to say, we stared at him blankly until he finally broke the silence, “Why don’t you guys take some time to talk it over and think about it.” We drove home without a word, both of us lost deep in our thoughts, not knowing what the right move would be. After a lengthy talk with my dad, we decided that another surgery, that might not even work, was not worth it. So we decided to try the hearing aids.
Now, hearing loss runs in my family, my uncle had the same problems when he was little, my mom has hearing aids, my grandpa, my aunts, my uncles and my cousins all have hearing aids. It was not a big surprise to my family that I would end up with them at some point. But what we weren’t expecting was for me to need them so soon.
I remember clearly, the moment when my doctor wrapped the hearing aids around my ears for the first time. Suddenly I was so aware of everything I had been missing and it was astonishing. I could hear a clock ticking in the background. The tapping on keyboards, the sounds of people talking in other rooms. There was so much to hear, I was instantly distracted by all of the new sounds. The most surprising of them all, was voices. My voice sounded muffled and like it was on a radio. My mom, sounded like she was talking through a can. Not only that but her voice was different. I could hear what her voice actually sounded like. It was like everyone had gotten “new voices”. It was so great to finally be able to hear everything!
But it never really hit me until recently. I realized that I was going to have to be dealing with hearing aids the rest of my life. Constantly having to buy batteries. I always have to be careful about not getting them wet, accidentally, in the rain, or getting spilled on. Sleepovers would never be the same; I’d have to carry around my hearing aid case with me and take them out when we went to sleep. Going to the lake in the summer and swimming would be difficult. I wouldn’t be able to wear them anywhere near the water which means I’d have to deal with not hearing things while swimming. On vacations, I’d have to bring back up batteries, etcetera. It all changes. Hearing aids made everything slightly more complicated.
Although it would be hard, I loved the idea of finally being able to hear well. It all took adjusting but it was well worth it. There are no words to describe the feeling that it gave me to finally hear what my family’s voices actually sound like. I can now have a conversation without having to lip-read or ask “What?” one thousand times. I can understand what my teachers are saying, even if they’re turned away. Everyone faces scary, giant moments in their lives. The outcome, good or bad, all relies on how you handle the situation. Next time a giant tries to creep up on me, I’ll hear it coming, just like the ticking of a clock.