“When I get home at night, the first thing I do is whip off my hearing aid and relax.”
I was a little shocked at my friend’s comment. Another friend also takes off her cochlear implant sound processor at times during the day just to get the same noise-free peace.
I fought hard for the sounds that I now hear through my hearing aid and sound processor and I couldn’t imagine muting them – especially my right-side cochlear implant. I celebrate every sound that becomes less fuzzy, clearer and identifiable. My hearing hardware fires up first thing in the morning and only comes off for showers and nighty-night-nights. And silence is not always the trade-off; when the equipment leaves my head, the sounds inside my head chime louder.
But something has changed.
The latest mapping of my CI gave me a tremendous boost in clarity, range of sounds and perceived volume. Sounds that previously were off my radar have become SERIOUS SOUNDS THAT CAN’T BE IGNORED.
Cats scratching in their litter box. The tractor sound of their purring. The shushy-slaps of the Hearing Husband’s slippers on the hardwood floor – is it too late in our relationship to ask him to pick up his feet? Air ducts. Water running through the pipes. And get this – I even heard a large leaf land on the road. A leaf!
Now I understand why some CI and hearing aid users crave the softer-sounding or completely silent world they had before the sounds of life were restored to them. It’s noisy out there! Especially at this time of year; when I was shopping for groceries last week, the Salvation Army guy’s rattle-jingling made me a little nuts.
Now, I have a better appreciation for those moments of modified silence. When we turn the TV off. Going for a walk in the dark, with only the night sky, stars, the neighbours’ Christmas lights and the outline of tall Douglas firs to engage our senses. Sitting in our new hot tub, without hearing aid or CI sound processor. The silence of the house after a two-year-old granddaughter and her parents have left to go home. We miss them, but the quiet is delicious.
People with hearing loss who use sound-restoring technology have two things to celebrate: the joy of sound and the bliss of silence – when and where we want it.