Thursday, 12 May 2005

Muffled Sounds in a World of Silence

Oh dear. I'm half-deaf.

It started out last week when my right ear was blocked, and I couldn't get it unblocked. I could hardly hear anything out of it. I'd get it unstuck occasionally, but then it would get stuck again.

Then the other day, while I was on assignment in Pahang, I bought some cotton buds and started to clean my ears. I cleaned the right one first (which still didn't get it unstuck), and then decided to clean the left one as well.

Big mistake.

After a few pokes inside the ear with the cotton bud, I realized that I couldn't hear out of the left one as well. And with my right one already partially blocked and me hardly being able to hear anything from it, I was practically deaf.

Everything sounded muffled, and no noises were getting through. I couldn't hear the fan blowing, I could hardly hear people speaking to me, and there was just this really eerie silence that was really scary.

If not for the faint sounds of crickets I could (barely) hear outside my window, I'd have really panicked. I also realized I would have a real hard time doing my interview the next. Thank god I brought a tape recorder.

I went to the doctor when I came back this morning and he told me that it's nothing serious, just a lot of ear-wax inside the ear that hardened and blocked my hearing. Thank god for that. He gave me a bottle of eardrops and told me to see him in five days time to get it cleaned out.

How embarrassing.

Right now, I can't judge whether I'm speaking too loud or too soft, and I occasionally find it really hard to hear what people are saying. Also, when watching Star Wars this morning, I kept getting the feeling that I wasn't exactly getting the whole full experience... Sigh....

Anyway, this whole experience is certainly making me a lot more sympathetic to the deaf. It's weird that it takes something like this to happen before one realizes how lucky we are to be able to see, hear, feel and talk.

I hate the feeling of not being able to hear things properly. It's incredibly frustrating. Being deaf is no fun at all, and my heart goes out to those who can't hear.

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