Facing a Giant | Teen Ink

Facing a Giant MAG

April 14, 2017
By AlyssaSimons BRONZE, Wyoming, Michigan
AlyssaSimons BRONZE, Wyoming, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 2 comments


ver since I was little, I have had issues with my ears. Whether it was 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 and to patch up the holes in my eardrums. Each issue comes with its own problems: I can’t put mt head underwater, I have to deal with a lot of pain, I can’t eat certain foods, and a lot of money is spent. Because I’ve dealt with ear issues my whole life, I got used to feeling like nothing was ever going to fix my ears. But everything changed a few months ago.

We were at an appointment with my ear, nose, and 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 me.

“So … What can we do?” My mom asked.

“We could try patching it again,” Dr. Winkle told us. “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, I went numb. The glimmering tools in the pocket of his medical coat seemed to stare 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 – one that might not even work – was not worth the risk. We decided to try the hearing aids.

Hearing loss runs in my family – my uncle had the same problems when he was little, my mom and grandpa have hearing aids, as do my aunts, my uncles, and my cousins. It was not a big surprise to my family that I would end up with them at some point. But we weren’t expecting me to need them so soon.

I remember clearly the moment my doctor wrapped the hearing aids around my ears for the first time. Suddenly, I was aware of every sound I had been missing; it was astonishing! I could hear a clock ticking in the background. The tapping on keyboards, the sound 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, were voices. My voice sounded muffled, 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 a new voice. It was so great to finally be able to hear everything!

Later, it hit me that I was going to have to deal with hearing aids for the rest of my life. I would constantly be buying batteries and having to be careful about not getting them wet, accidentally, in the rain. Sleepovers would never be the same; I’d have to carry my hearing aid case with me and take them out when we went to sleep. Swimming at the lake in the summer would be difficult. I wouldn’t be able to wear them near the water, so I’d have to deal with not hearing things while swimming. On vacations, I’d have to bring back-up batteries. Hearing aids made everything slightly more complicated.

Although it would be hard, I loved the idea of finally being able to hear well. There are no words to describe my feelings when I finally heard 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. 

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