I lost hearing in my right ear the summer of 2015. It happened like a giant boom in my head. I woke up with static and then it felt like an explosion. It didn’t hurt. It didn’t sting. It just felt like nothing was coming in. A doctor checked it out and suggested drops. There was no permanent damage. I feel I just stopped listening to things that were happening around me. I started to tune out and it became permanent.
Throughout the last few years I’ve had moments when I felt sensations. I’ve had energy work done to it and sound has started to move through in those moments. I don’t really pay attention to it until someone is mumbling, or they speak really low, or they aren’t in front of me so I can read their lips. That’s when I realize that the sound is being muffled.
My hearing came back this past April while climbing Machu Picchu in Peru. But I am still well aware and grateful for all that my lack of hearing taught me.
I have learned to listen attentively. I’ve always listened to silence so this is not unusual. Because, I feel, more than I hear, the listening part doesn’t affect me. However, sometimes I really really really want to get lost in a conversation and if there are too many voices going on at once I zone out because one ear cannot hold onto everything at once. In order to really listen I must be present.
This is with everything in our lives. It isn’t just about listening or hearing. It’s also about seeing, smelling, and tasting. I live in a world of words, and when I cannot decipher what is being said, I get frustrated. When I ask someone to repeat themselves sometimes the message gets tangled because that person is now frustrated for having to say it again. My left ear had to compensate for really hearing all sounds but it also started to lose some of its power. It now takes all of me to be present when someone is speaking to me and I want to hear every syllable…because what is being said is important.
This was a huge gift in my life. Now, being able to hear with both ears I am aware of how precious the lessons were for me.
Being attentive is an art I learned through the small challenge. I had to partake completely rather than multitask. I had to be in complete focus to hear the things said and those that escape the ears. Losing my hearing was such a gift. It has allowed me to stop everything else around me in order to see, feel, and digest what is being said. It has also magnified other senses around me to make up for loss. This has been magnificent.
I urge you to be present when another is speaking. And if I, or anyone else, asks that you repeat yourself please be patient. The moment someone who can’t hear feels another person’s frustration everything shuts down. I get embarrassed often when someone shows me their frustration for repetition, so I’ve learned to nod and smile rather than continue asking. Somethings get lost in that translation.
Listen with your heart…and the ears never need to find sound. These days I am listening with my emotions rather than anything else. Even in your silence I can decipher what you are feeling…so if I hold your hand for no reason it is because my heart feels you and hears your aches. It’s in those intimate moments when you are near me that I can truly see your words in the language of love. I love you. ~m.a.p.