For this week’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver prompt, Stephanie asks us to “write a tale from the perspective of someone who has lost the sense of hearing.” All they hear now, she says, is the sound of silence.
I’m not writing a fictional story today, as the tale I’m weaving is real. It’s personal. And what you’re about to read is a bit of a whine about both what I don’t hear and what I do hear.
You see, I’m deaf in one ear. I had surgery almost two years ago to remove a growth (cholesteatoma) in the middle ear of my left ear. By the time that growth was removed, it had eaten away most of the small bones that connect the eardrum to the inner ear.
In a functioning ear, sound waves, which are really vibrations in the air around us, are collected by the ears and are funnelled into the ear canals to the eardrums. The eardrum vibrations caused by those sound waves move the chain of tiny bones in the middle ear, transferring the sound vibrations into the cochlea of the inner ear. Without those small bones to transmit sound waves (vibrations) from the eardrum to the inner ear, hearing is lost.
I can still adequately hear out of my right ear, so I haven’t lost my hearing altogether. But I can no longer hear in stereo and I can’t hear what people are saying if they are sitting on my left side. It’s annoying.
But the one thing I can hear out of my left ear — out of both ears, actually — is a constant, high pitched ringing sound. It’s a sound that only I can hear, and because it doesn’t come from sound waves, I can “hear” it loud and clear, even in my otherwise deaf left ear.
This sound is tinnitus, a condition I’ve suffered from for more than half of my life. There is nothing that would give me more pleasure than to wake up one morning and not have to deal with the ringing sounds coming from both of my ears. I’d love to experience the sound of silence. At least silence from the ever present ringing of tinnitus.