Can you survive and manage if you can’t hear? I think so. How would I know? Because I have been severely hearing impaired since the age of five. Why haven’t I told you before? Well, it’s not something I felt I wanted to put out there in blog world. What has changed? I had a scary episode this week that made me think even more about what it would be like to live in a collapse scenario with little to no ability to hear. The more I thought about it, writing this article seemed to be the thing to do.
Here is what happened. Monday evening after I tilled and planted a section of the garden, I realized that when I spoke my voice vibrated in my right ear and in my head. I thought it was odd, since it had never happened before, but didn’t think much of it and went to bed. Tuesday morning, my voice, Frank’s voice and many other sounds started to vibrate in my head. Now it was getting my attention. By evening, I was also beginning to become hypersensitive to many, many sounds. This was really unnerving for someone with hearing problems like me. I got to where I could not tolerate wearing my hearing aid at all. Many sounds would cause me to cringe, including my voice if I talked very loud.
Some background. I have a severe conductive hearing loss. As a child I had three surgeries for cholesteatoma, which is a benign tumor like growth that destroys the surrounding bones and tissues. It is usually found in the mastoid cavities surrounding the ear canal,
in the middle ear and in advanced stages, the inner ear. I have had a 90% hearing loss in my left ear since age five, and by the time I was 14, had a 75% hearing loss in the right ear. I did not start wearing a hearing aid until age 14, not long after the second surgery on my right ear. I started wearing a second hearing aid at age 24 when I started teaching so I could hear my students better. I do not remember what normal hearing sounds like since most of my hearing has either been at an impaired level, or mechanically reproduced through a hearing aid. The type of loss I have is very different from the loss many people experience as they age. Their loss usually involves the nerves of the cochlea and is categorized as a sensorineural loss. The types of hearing aids provided for this loss are quite different from the ones that I wear.
Now that you know a little about my background, you can see why I was very concerned about what was happening to my ear/head. The problem was in my right ear which is the better of the two. I was afraid I would lose what little hearing I have left leaving me really, really deaf. Frank has lived with a deaf wife for over 30 years now, and tried his very best to comfort me. You know what he said? Even if I did go stone deaf, as bad and as difficult as that would be, we would be fine. We would work through it. You know what? He’s right.
Thursday morning I contacted my audiologist who is about 60 miles away. She told me to come in during her lunch hour, which we did. After she tested my hearing, we found out that my good ear was now worse off than my bad ear. That got to me. We then went to the clinic where our family practitioner and ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) doctor are. Nurses from both offices were sympathetic, but said there was nothing they could do for me at that time. I do have an appointment with the ENT for Monday, but he was booked up that day.
When I knelt to pray last night, I told God how frustrated I was with the situation and that I felt like we had done all we could do, and I needed some help. This morning, the vibrating and hypersensitivity is gone. Yes, gone. Then, after I used a steroid nasal spray, which I have been using since Tuesday, and a sinus wash, my ear popped and I could hear much better. I said a prayer of thanks. It has been an interesting, difficult, but interesting week. Do I know what happened to my ear? I have some theories about a stopped up eustachian tube and fluid in my non-functional middle ear, but I really don’t know. It does give me pause to think of what I will do when things happen and we are on our own. If this happens again after the collapse, I hope it rectifies itself like it did this time. But if not, we will deal with it. One way or another.
Do I want to go into an extremely difficult survival situation totally deaf? No. But I can. It would be much more difficult if I had not lived my entire life this way. But I have, and I will continue to do so, regardless if I can hear or not. Scary? Yes. Difficult? Yes. Manageable? Definitely. You see. I want to live. Not only live, but manage well. I can still make cheese, milk goats and garden if I am deaf. I can cook, clean and laugh. I can do everything but hear.
Now, apply that to something that you have thought of, that brings great dread to your heart in a survival situation. Can you live with it? Will you be able to manage whatever comes your way? Maybe. Maybe not. There are all manner of accidents and illnesses that may not be survivable if we are on our own. I wrote this article to help you think. Think about how you will deal with difficulties that are sure to arise once things really start falling apart. Remember, mental preparation is one of the most important aspects of being prepared for a collapse. If you don’t have your mind prepared to deal with unbelievably difficult experiences, it won’t matter at all how many beans, bullets or bandaids you have stocked away on your shelves.
Yes, I am deaf. I have lots of hearing aid batteries and have kept my older hearing aids for back ups in case something happens to the ones I am wearing. I want to live. I want to do everything to make our survival as comfortable as possible, and I don’t see my hearing loss as an obstacle to that goal. I know that there are some of you that are dealing with difficult situations. There may be situations develop that you have not planned for. We all need to prepare. It gets closer everyday. It seems real close today. Please share your thoughts.
Until next time – Fern