Going Deaf

1st August 1998

I was having a bit of trouble hearing things, so I decided I would get my ears tested. I did. And got bad news. I have profound hearing loss. At the frequencies of human speech and higher, my hearing drops off dramatically. This means that if I am in a slightly noisy environment, like on the street or in a cafe, I can't hear people talking. And I have this permanent hissing in my ears that obscures lots of things. This is apparently called tinnitus. It's one of the side-effects of the hearing loss.

How it happened, no-one knows. The hearing specialist said that the damage was probably done over 20 years ago, and was caused by either a loud explosion, lots of shooting, or lots of colds and flus that caused ear infections. I don't remember any explosions and the only shooting I did was in the cadets, but I did have colds and flus. Still do. I asked if it could be caused by listening to live bands and he didn't think it likely. Nor did he consider ten years of listening to a Walkman. Despite his professional opinion, I do think that ten years of listening to a Walkman did contribute to my deafness.

So there you go. I'm deaf. I can make my mind up at the end of the year whether I want to be fitted with hearing aids. I don't think I'll be doing that. I can still hear most things, especially live music, and I can hear conversations, as long as the background noise doesn't drown them out.