*This post was originally written back in October of 2011 but these issues seem to be popping up more lately. So much so that I think I might have to suck it up and get checked out. Wait…even as I wrote that I started to sweat so maybe not yet.
I feel like that is pretty much my catch phrase these days. Sometimes I’ll change it up and it will be, “Excuse me. What did you say?” Then there is the I’m just flighty response of, “Wait…what?” All of these to hide the fact that I can’t hear very well. This part of getting older is not fun (I know there are parts of getting older that are but I still haven’t found them yet). What makes the problem worse is that I married a mumbler. I gave birth to two mumblers. It’s true that most times Leo does try to have a conversation with me while we are at opposite sides of the house but really, even when we are in the same room, if my back is to him, I can’t hear a word he says. If he ever tries to tell me something in the middle of the night, forget it…he sounds like the teacher from Charlie Brown. Nico and Tommy are the other two mumblers. They have raspy voices to begin with but add in the mumbling and I can’t understand a word they are saying. I went once after the twins were born to have a doctor look at my ears. I thought I couldn’t hear very well because of wax but no such luck. He said they were clean as a whistle and wanted me to have my hearing checked. I did and absolutely HATED the test. He said I had some minor loss that was more significant with background noise. He gave me some information on hearing aids and I never went back. I don’t know why. Maybe it was because with all the CF stuff and all the doctors, I just didn’t want to add one more thing that didn’t work like it was supposed to. I went through a really bad time where I hated my body for not working. It was infertile…it carried a defective gene…I just didn’t want to accept another reason it failed me.
I know on a scale of loudness, I am not the loudest person but I am probably louder than the average person. There are several reasons for this: I blame the teacher/cheerleader…two things where you have to be loud. I blame the fact that my kids only listen to one voice level and that is any octave higher than talking. I could blame it on being Italian and they are notorious for being loud. I blame it on being one of five daughters growing up…if you weren’t loud, you didn’t get heard. Or…I could blame it on that I don’t hear very well so if I talk loud, the person I’m with might talk loud and then I won’t look like an idiot when they’ve asked me a question and I stare at them blankly and have to say, “I’m sorry. What was that?”
My ears have always been a source of embarrassment for me. I have my dad’s ears and they are not small. I wear long hair and will be the 80-year-old woman with the long, scary witch hair for a reason. They have an odd shape to them as well. I am not just being self-deprecating here. I’ll give you an example: We had taken the kids to see the one of the Santa Clause movies with Tim Allen and at the end of the movie there is scene where you see elves among regular people but they have elf ears. I was putting my hair up in a ponytail when Tommy gasped. He said, “Mommy, you’re an elf.”
I am afraid that people are going to start thinking I am rude. I can’t tell you how many times a neighbor will yell something to me as they are walking by or I’ll be at a game or at one of the schools and someone will say something from far away and I can’t hear what they said. I could yell, “What?” but odds are I wouldn’t hear them the second time. So if you see me out and you say something to me and I don’t answer you, I am not ignoring you or being rude…I probably didn’t hear you. It’s funny…I’ll be able to tell who actually reads this when I run into people and suddenly they are talking louder around me.
P.S. Like right now, Nico is yelling from downstairs. I have no idea what he is saying but it must be important enough for him to be yelling louder and louder and yet not important enough for him to come up here so I can hear him.