What do you take for granted? (Hearing Unilaterally in a Bilateral World)

Quick question: What do you think I have in common with these two women?(images from here and here)







I will let you know it is not obvious. In fact the only way you would be able to tell is if you talked to them. And that only depending on where you were standing when you talked to them.

Are you scratching your head yet? Well the commonality that runs between Jane Lynch (better known as Sue Sylvester from Glee), Halle Berry and I is that we all have some form of single sided deafness. Unlike Jane, I wasn’t born this way and unlike Halle, I wasn’t hit in my ear to become this way.

I ended up losing hearing in my right ear after a severe sinus infection while I was in graduate school. So up until that point, I had perfect hearing in both of my ears. I actually took it for granted that I could hear. After all, don’t we all take for granted the things that are supposed to come naturally to us: talking, walking, etc. It is not until something happens to us and we lose those basic things that we realize how importantly they are.

I don’t think none of us(if I knew them personally) would classify it as a true handicap since we can hear for the most part. However, if you talk on our deaf side, we may not hear what you say. It also makes it hard to be in large groups because you can not sometimes filter out voices and distinguish who is talking to you.

For a long time after it happened, I beat myself up about it. Why didn’t I go to the doctor earlier? Why didn’t I think this sinus infection was serious? In addition, I felt very self-conscious when I would go out, especially with groups. Still to this day, I like to sit in a way that I can hear everyone when I am out in public. It always feels awkward to have to explain to people  I can’t hear them. Most of the time I chose not to. I will pretend to hear whispers and thoughts when someone tries to speak in my right ear.

You may ask why am I telling you this?  Actually this message is more so directed at me. For you see, today I was feeling a little sad for some reason (maybe seasonal affective disorder?) and I had to remind myself that I am blessed. I am blessed that I can still hear myself when I chose to sing out loud or when I want to talk to myself. I am blessed I can still hear my family tell me that they love me.

So I am  blessed and thankful. And I will go to bed tonight remembering this with a smile:)

What are you thankful for?


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