TMP — What Did You Say?

Every Monday, Paula Light, with her The Monday Peeve prompt, gives us an opportunity to vent or rant about something that pisses us off. My peeve today is about my hearing.

Actually, there is some good news mixed in with the bad news. The good news is that more than two years after losing my sense of taste as an unintended consequence of ear surgery, it seems to be starting to return. I am actually beginning to taste food again. Hooray!!

The bad news, and what my peeve is about, is my hearing. I lost the hearing in my left ear when a growth was removed from my middle ear at that surgery that caused me to lose my sense of taste. The growth in my middle ear had eaten the tiny bones that connect the ear drum to the inner ear, which is the mechanism that converts sound waves into actual sounds. So I’ve been deaf in my left ear for more than two years.

I bought a set of noise cancelling, Bluetooth headphones to use while my wife and I are watching TV together because, in order for me to hear the sound, the TV speaker volume was too loud for her. These headphones enabled me to hear the TV without blowing my wife out of the room and worked great over the past two years. But a few weeks ago, the sound coming from the right earpiece began to sound muffled to the point where the dialogue was so muddy-sounding that I couldn’t make out what was being said.

I thought the issue was with my headphones, so I contacted the manufacturer and they promptly sent me replacement headphones. And that was when my worst fear was realized. It wasn’t the headphones, it was my hearing. Fuck! It seems I’m losing the hearing in my right ear. Both spoken word and music sound muffled with or without headphones.

I decided to try other brands of headphones. I ordered a pair from Amazon, but had to return them because they were on-ear, and not over-the ear, and didn’t have noise cancelling capability, so when I watched TV, it felt like I was in an echo chamber, hearing the sound coming through my headphones, but a millisecond later, hearing the sound — at a lower volume — coming from the TV speakers. Ugh.

Then I decided to spend more money and I bought a pair of relatively expensive Beats headphones. Here’s my comment that I posted on Amazon:

These headphones are beautiful, comfortable, well-built, and I really wanted to love them. They paired perfectly with my iPhone, but when I tried to pair them with my Samsung 65” HDTV, the Samsung TV couldn’t find them. I tried multiple times and the Beats headphones didn’t show up on the list of Bluetooth devices on the TV. I spent an entire afternoon on the phone with Beats (Apple) support and with Samsung support, but neither support team was able to figure out how to pair the headphones to the TV. So, regrettably, I’m returning them.

I figured the third time might be a charm, so I ordered another brand of headphones, the Soundcore Q30 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling headphones. Good news is that they easily paired with my TV. Better news is that it comes with an an iPhone app that has an equalizer functionality built in. This allows me to lower the base sounds and raise the treble sounds, making it so I can actually hear clear, crisp dialogue that is un-muffled out of my right ear. Yay!

But the trouble is that when I take off the headphones, I still can’t hear at all from my left ear and the hearing from my right ear is muddy, to the point that I’m constantly saying “What did you say?” or “Say again” to my wife. And she’s getting very annoyed about that. I may have to admit that it’s time to get some hearing aids.

Anyway, this is my Monday peeve. Sorry this post is so long.

SoCS — Yum!

For this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, Linda G. Hill has given us the word “yum” and asked us to use it any way we’d like.

The first thing I thought about was “Yummy Yummy Yummy,” a dreadful bit of bubblegum music from 1968 recorded by a group called Ohio Express.

I’m sorry that you had to listen to that. With that unpleasantness out of the way, let’s move on.

The formal definition of the word “yum” is that it’s an utterance “used to express pleasure at eating, or at the prospect of eating, a particular food.” And that made me think about Ben & Jerry’s Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream ice cream, my favorite flavor of ice cream.

Unfortunately, the sad truth is that, since I had ear surgery to remove a growth in my middle ear back at the end of 2019, I have lost my sense of taste. So these days, with literally no sense of taste, I’m not deriving much pleasure from eating food. Because without a sense of taste, everything I eat — and eat I must in order to stay alive — is fairly tasteless. Hence, I don’t often say — or feel — “yum” anymore.

Sunday Writing Prompt — The New Restaurant

“So, what did you think?” Anita asked.

“The food in the new restaurant was different,” Clark said. “I wish the chef’s style was more in line with my tastes.”

“You make me laugh, Clark,” Anita said. “Ever since you recovered from that mild case of coronavirus, you said you’ve lost your sense of taste. So how could the food have been more to your tastes?”

“That’s not the point,” Clark said. “All I’m saying is that it was a letdown. And this whole idea to trudge to this restaurant in the midst of a snowstorm because you read a good review on Yelp was your idea.”

“Hey, why are you taking a jab at me?” Anita asked. “We’re moving at the end of the month and we might not have had another chance between now and then to give it a try.”

“And since we’re moving anyway,” Clark said, “why even bother giving it a try?”

“You’re impossible,” Anita said.

Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Sunday Writing Prompt, Creating Context. This week we are to selecting one of the highlighted words in the following sentence:

“The food in the new restaurant was” delicious/different/challenging.

Also for Pensitivity101 Three Things Challenge, where the three things are “food,” “wish,” and “style.”

Also for these daily prompts: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (laugh), Your Daily Word Prompt (trudge), Word of the Day Challenge (jab), and Ragtag Daily Prompt (moving).

I’m a One-Percenter

84F7BC65-D43D-4712-BF23-763D166EF1DEFive months ago today I had surgery on my left ear to remove a mass that was growing just inside my eardrum. The outcome of that surgery was a mixed bag. The surgeon was able to remove the mass, but that nasty mass managed to eat one of the tiny bones that connect the eat drum to the inner ear. As a result, I’m deaf in that ear and, if I ever want to hear from the left side of my head again, I’ll need another surgery to have a prosthetic bone implanted. Bummer, huh?

But that’s not the worst of it. As I wrote here in February, one of the strange, unexpected, and disconcerting consequences of the surgery was that I lost my sense of taste. I can no longer taste the food that I eat.

I did some research on this phenomenon, and I learned that, due to a nerve of taste that runs under the eardrum and brings taste to the sides of the tongue, a loss of taste after ear surgery can occur in up to 10% of ear procedures and that loss may last for a few months.

But it’s been five months since my ear surgery and everything I eat is still tasteless. Enjoying delicious-tasting food is one of life’s pleasures and it’s killing me that I don’t get much pleasure out of eating these days.

Last week I called my doctor about the follow-up surgery, but he said that non-critical and non-emergency surgeries are on hold until the whole pandemic thing passes. Then I asked him about my continuing inability to taste anything and how long he thought it will be before I regain my taste. He said that only about 10% of those who temporarily lose their sense of taste after middle ear surgery lose it permanently, so there’s a slim chance I still might eventually get back my ability to taste food again.

“Great,” I said. “10% of those who have middle ear surgery experience a loss to taste for a few months and only 10% of them lose it permanently. How lucky am I to be in the 10% of the 10% who permanently lose their ability to taste food.

He chuckled and said, “Look at it this way, you can now claim that you’re part of America’s top one percent.”