Thursday, 30 March 2017

My deaf bionic ears

Waking up one day with partial hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis is a very strange phenomenon. Though I can barely hear you talk to me, if you drop cutlery or clank plates, it will sound to me, like dustbin lids clashing.

On the one hand, I have bionic ears that can literally hear a pin drop in the next room and yet will need to watch your lips and ask you to slow down on the phone to hear you.

The reasons for this are speculated to be because the brain sometimes over-compensates for hearing loss by amplifying some sounds. Or others believe it is because the scilia hairs next to the damaged ones are trying to help out by grabbing more sound.

I rather like the idea of having a brain clever enough to have a go at amplifying in a new way and having kind, caring scilia hairs that want to help out their friends.

Either way, I am left with this sometimes overwhelming combination of not being able to hear and yet being able to over-hear.

Once people realise I am 'hard of hearing' they tend to raise their voice to me. Then my hyperacusis kicks in and my head speakers blow. It is as if they are shouting. I can feel myself physically cringing with the pain of it.

If someone is speaking through speakers or with a projected voice, like say, a teacher in the classroom, it is as if they have a mega-phone by my ears.

So little is known about tinnitus and hyperacusis which is why boffin scientists are working very hard to try to find out more about it ...

But in the meantime, I have decided to raise awareness through my craft as a writer, blogger, meditation musician, poet, performance artist and publisher. After all, with these bionic ears, I am in very good company (see video above: wink)

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