Hear Today, Gone Tomorrow

I’m almost 73. If I live to 90, that means I’m in the top of the seventh inning with one out. If hearing is comparable to a fastball, mine is down to 65 and dropping. It still gets to the plate—on a hop.

There’s a novel, Deaf Sentence, in which the protagonist says blindness is tragedy and deafness comedy. True, but only for a while. About a year ago I was not feeling up to par mentally. Bob said, “You need to get your self-esteem back.” I looked at her and responded “I need to get myself a steam bath?”

Well, it’s no longer funny. I’m scared and I’m sometimes reduced to tears. A well known writer, whose name I’ve forgotten, was asked recently which she would choose, if forced to decide—blindness or deafness. She didn’t hesitate, as if she’d already given it deep thought. “Blindness,” she said.

Her answer may surprise you, but her explanation makes sense. If deaf, she felt she would be more isolated from the world, separated from loved ones and friends—alone because she would miss sounds more than sight. Conversation is everything to her—with friends, even strangers. She loves listening to music and intelligent discussion on the radio and television (yes, you can still find it—just avoid Fox and Friends). She loves to read, and would miss the printed word, but audio books could compensate.

It’s a tough choice, but for me the fates are already choosing. In addition to “significant hearing loss,” I now suffer from tinnitus in the left ear—a high-pitched tone, often loud. Even when silent, it’s still there in my mind—ready to pounce. I’m trying to make it my friend.

I already experience that writer’s fears—the isolation from my dear Bob and my sisters and friends. Bob, bless her heart, makes it bearable with her inexhaustible compassion. We are trying to get good hearing aids, but so far have been disappointed.

Meanwhile, I can still listen to ballgames on the radio, despite the annoying drivel described in the previous post. As our dear friend Russ Brown says, “Getting old kinda sucks.”

Remember, it says Red Stitches: Mostly Baseball.

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