What My Ears Miss The Most: Music

I really hate being deaf. I don’t gripe about it very much because I can’t change it, so it’s like me griping about the existence of a disease. I can’t change it, and pity does not allow for the existence of joy – they cannot coexist. I know there are worse things in life, and I still have a small fraction of my hearing when it comes to certain pitches, but otherwise I really am deaf (the term for my hearing is profound deafness), so I should be thankful for that and I am. But still, my hearing or lack of hearing really does suck.

Between reading lips, having things repeated to me several times, staring at me while only being a foot away, and occasional charades I can usually make out what my husband says. If I couldn’t, I would miss his voice, hearing his laugh or the sweet words he says to me, most of all. But I can hear him usually, with work, and I am grateful, but it leaves room for something else to miss most, and that is a no brainer. The thing that I miss the most is music.

I can’t hear music. I have not listened to any kind of music in nearly two years. But because I’m thirty, I have the memories of my favorite songs, the songs that were my power anthems, the sad songs that gave me comfort in hard times, the beautiful songs that gave me chills and the angry songs that empowered me to fight back when wronged – but all I have is their memories. Sometimes it is enough. I can take a breath and listen closely, not only remembering the words, but the voice that sang those words, hearing the melodies, the instruments, I can recreate the song as though I am listening to it again… for a few seconds. Maybe for a verse or a chorus, but I have yet to be able to recreate an entire song. It always feels like I’m only getting a scrap of the story, and it leaves me feeling incomplete. It makes me realize that I want more.

Before my hearing became what it is now, music meant so much to me, even if I was never musical. Whether it was a bad break up, a needed confidence booster or just a general “let’s take on the world,” music was always a constant in my life. And that constant was always there. I listened to my iPod between classes in college, even if they were only ten minutes apart. On the bus, on a walk, at the gym… I was always listening. Heck at a few office jobs I had where is was desk stuff and they didn’t care what I did because I didn’t deal with people (as long as I completed the tasks at hand obviously), I listened on my headphones while I worked. Music often served as inspiration for various writings, from short stories to poetry. Music could lift me up, it could inspire me, it could enrage me and it could motivate me and make me feel less alone.

Now that music is not a part of my life, and hasn’t been for some time, I realize just how big a hole there is. I find myself thinking about a song I want to hear in that moment, for nearly half of the moments I’m awake. A special song my husband sent me, or one of the songs from a playlist I made him (I created these pretty CDs that had a playlist along with the cover art, etc.) or our wedding song when I’m feeling romantic or just happy to have found him. Or an empowering song about overcoming as I flash back to what I’ve been through and how far I’ve come. Or a song to fit the mood or enhance the experience when I am writing something. I usually have a specific song in mind, songs I was able to hear before the music world went out for me. But then I think of some of my favorite artists and how they have put out new albums that people rave about, and I am happy they are still doing their art, but sad that I will never get to hear these songs. Sure I look up the lyrics, but without a beat, without a voice, they’re just words. Music may be poetry put to a rhythm, but if you take the rhythm away, they don’t work on their own as poems. At least not to me.

This wasn’t intended to be a “poor me” post. Anyone who knows me should know that I don’t have a “poor me” bone in my body. But I just realized a few days ago how long it has really been. And it just seems so crazy to me. So, I am taking this moment to be sad. To mourn the music that will never be in my life, and try my damndest to cling to all of the music I can remember. And after that moment I feel the obligatory, “I am also thankful for,” and I am. I can still hear my husband’s voice and his laugh and while my hearing continues to deteriorate I hope we have kids in time for me to hear their voices and their laughter. And if I can have that, and hold onto those things, I guess music is a fair trade off.

Even if it doesn’t actually work that way, I’m going to pretend that it does. So I cannot hear music. And I cannot use a phone, and when people Skype with me, they have to type whatever they want to say or it’s lost. And sure my husband has to speak clearly and loudly and look me in the eye, and be like a foot away or less, or there is no way in hell I can hear him. And sometimes because of my type of hearing loss, I will never hear certain words or sounds, so he has to think of another way to say something, choose different words or resort to writing a text and showing me or playing some sort of hybrid charades. But we have a system in place and we both try, and I can still hear the things that matter most. So what the hell am I complaining about?


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