Talk to Me

Minnie Jan porch

I love my dogs more now that I’m going deaf. They’re not interested in having conversations. They just like to hang out. Wordlessly.

It is a relief, an unburdening that is hard to explain to a person with fully functional hearing. It is exhausting to be hearing impaired. Pile on the completely unpredictable layers of self-pity and self-doubt and hearing loss very nearly becomes a mental health issue. I kid you not. Really. I kid about very little when it comes to hearing loss. Other people occasionally find it funny but not me.

It is because of this frequent slow-dancing with depression related to my hearing loss that I appreciate my dogs’ low expectations of me. They bark, but at other people, other dogs, a knock on a neighbor’s door, flies circling an apple core in the gutter. They do know how to express themselves in the world. They are not mute and they most certainly are not deaf. That’s a good thing. Their ears protect me from the gnats of life, big and small.

It occurs to me as I reflect on my verbally undemanding dogs that the path to becoming a complete recluse gets shorter everyday, more welcoming, into the green where lilies of the valley sprout from old logs and tall ferns flag in the breeze. It is shady and soft with rays of sunshine slicing between tall pines. It is silent there except for the sounds the birds flying overhead must be making. Who wouldn’t want to go there?

I do. I would. I could sit on my back porch with my dogs all day every day. I could write my blog, read, pretend to garden, communicate only with those people who have passed the test of being hearable. This means no new people. New people, well, new people could be indecipherable. The risk is immense.

I could wear jeans all the time, move around town too fast to chat, communicate with people entirely in print, watch only what is captioned. I could wallpaper the bubble I often wish I was in and live there forever.

But I think I would be lonely there, even with my accepting, unconcerned dogs. I think the life inside my head would be too small and, after a while, I would forget the sound of my own voice.

I’m not ready for that. Not yet. Probably not for a long time.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Menagerie.”

6 thoughts on “Talk to Me

  1. I wear a hearing aid: at first now and then because I didn’t really need it; my husband talking to me from a room away was the problem, then more often because I was embarrassed a time or two, now always. I studied every line of this post and related.

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  2. I never thought about acoustics until I lost partial hearing. Now I can’t tell where sound comes from and it’s worse in crowds. I’m constantly turning in circles, head cocked, trying to tell what I heard and where it came from. My husband, son, and dogs are my guides. I can look where they are looking, watch them for cues. And yes, many times it is just so much easier to be alone. Because, so many times, we’re alone anyway. I wonder why I bother going out to dinner with friends as I just sit there, head turning, alone and unable to share in the conversations. Thanks for putting this into words. And on a lighter note, can I ask how the apple core got up there in the gutter? A new type of basketball?

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  3. Pingback: Oh, my dog. | The Hempstead Man

  4. Aha, but you don’t need to hear to communicate via blog…How fortunate we are in that, at least. What I fear most is loss of vision and that is become more of a reality every day. In this case, even blogging will not help. Strange, but for the first time yesterday, I noticed that my keyboard actually has raised bumps on the J and F buttons to tell me where to position my fingers to touch type. Guess the new designers are taking aging baby boomers into account in their designs and inventions.

    Perhaps for you, a computer that translates sounds into writing–small as an i-phone to be tucked into your pocket–is the answer. My solution would have to be the opposite. Judy

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