In the Delta where I live, wind tosses the trees with deliberate abandon this spring Sunday morning. With the ringing in my ears, the sound of the fan in the bathroom window, and the light twitter of birds, the wind’s voice serenades me. The noises rise and drop. A bold crescendo; a soft andante.
Another Friday has slipped away without my making the appointment for the low-cost hearing test to which Medicare entitles me. I strive to understand my resistance.
I’ve been hearing-impaired since age 15. My grandfather tested my ears at my mother’s request with the equipment he had for my grandparents’ hearing aid business. He called her from the kitchen while I nervously paced the living room. She’s not ignoring you, Lucy, he assured my skeptical mother.
I don’t know why I didn’t get a hearing aid there and then. My grandparents would likely not have charged my mother, so I assume that the loss did not at the time warrant remediation. Over the intervening years, it has worsened. I’ve been urged to correct my hearing with aids. The expense inhibited me. The last estimate for the kind which I need surpassed five grand per ear.
But now I can afford the co-pay that my government insurance demands, $500 – $700 per aid. I’m reluctant, though. The chronic noise in my ear keeps me company. I’ve grown accustomed to missing most of the conversation around me. Perhaps the emotional constraints on my full participation in life finds safe harbor in my inability to hear conversation. I’ve also heard daunting stories about the overwhelming wave of sound upon correction, however wonderful the experience eventually becomes.
I want to hear, I really do. But frankly, I’d also like to experience one day of complete normalcy, with legs that stride forward with abandon and a heart that beats sure and strong. The barest whisper would not escape me; the subtlest note from the violin in the back row lift my spirit. I’d walk for miles, scale mountains, scamper into rocky crevices, and crest a young river’s wildest waves with oar held high above the ring of my laughter.
Perhaps I resist correcting one of my body’s many failings to avoid the stark contrast with all of those flaws which I can never remedy. I wonder, though, how much louder the voice of my Pacific would call to me, if I could truly hear. And would the note of sorrow sound more deftly in the voice over my telephone? Would joy ring more truly through that tiny amplifier?
When the next Friday comes, I shall make a one-item to-do list for my day away from my full-time employment. Make appointment for hearing test. A small thing, but one step in the direction of recovery from the twisted road which life has given me.
It’s the twenty-third day of the eighty-ninth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.