Thursday 24 May 2012

Just visiting, in the world of the deaf

When you think of famous deaf people who do you think of? Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), of course, because he became deaf and still continued to compose. In 7 May 1824, at the end of the premiere of his Ninth Symphony, he had to be turned around to see the tumultuous applause of the audience. He could hear nothing and wept. How did he do it? He was a well-trained musician from a very early age. He must have had an incredible hearing memory of music. (Click on Beethoven's name to read more.)

Those who have been reading my personal messages on my 'sticky-post', know that I have been having hearing problems after my bout with an ear infection and influenza. Everything points to that my hearing will return, when the water behind my ear drum drains away.

 But until it does, I am not hearing normally. If someone standing to my left says something to me, I perceive the sounds to be coming from my right, because my right ear still hears normally. I have discovered the reason why we have two ears! To be able to discern the direction from which sound comes. Animals that have movable ears, like cats, dogs and horses, are much better at this than we are. But we still can tell approximately where a sound is coming from. 

I am lucky to be living in a time and place where there are good doctors, nurses and antibiotics. I only need to think back to my grandfather, and his problems with ear infections. He lived in a cold and windy town in a drafty old wood house before the discovery of antibiotics. His ear infections ended with one of his inner ears having to be surgically removed. I try to imagine how he must have suffered and what he had to go through with that kind of an operation in the beginning of the last century. I remember the deep scar he had behind his right ear. I would creep up to his one functional ear, his left ear, and whisper 'Jag älskar dig!' (='I love you!') And he would smile and hug me.

My mother, who has had many ear infections, seems to think that my hearing will return, I can be calm and grateful that this is only a visit to the world of the deaf. It is good to remember and appreciate what you have. My heart goes out to those who have hearing problems. I will return to the world of the normal-hearing soon. Not everyone gets to do that.

Best wishes,


First Commenter:


Anonymous said...

Oh sweetie! I sure hope your ear gets better! Awesome article, by the way. I've always been partial to Beethoven (and Bach). I knew about the deafness, but that little story about the applause was awesome!

Ear infections are no picnic. I never had them, but my son had them so bad his ears would bleed when he was little. His eardrums kept rupturing. Of course, at the time, I couldn't afford surgery for him, but he made out okay. I hope you do too!

Unknown said...

Dear Lisa,

Thank you for your comment. I feel so sorry for your son when he was little. I hope that his hearing is alright today.

To prevent the ear drum from rupturing, they sometimes stick a small hole in the ear drum to drain the infection. My nephew had this done.

But couldn't they have given your son some kind of antibiotic to reduce the infection? As a mother, you must have felt badly for him. Poor little fellow.

This is my very first ear infection ever, and it is probably pretty mild. My ear never bled. It hurt; but the antibiotics probably prevented it from getting that big and rupturing.

What has been tricky about this infection is the fact that my sense of balance has been affected. I feel as though I am walking on a tight rope. I fell off my bicycle. I could not keep it upright. My bike just fell over with me still in it. It was as if I no longer knew how to ride a bike. Sometimes I feel like I like I am falling down and I am only walking from the kitchen to the bedroom.

Remember James Stewart in that Alfred Hitchcock movie, Vertigo? It's something like that.

Thank you, dear friend, for your kind visit!

Tanya. said...

I often suffer with my ears blocking up but have become used to it. My mum has always had problems with her hearing and she has a cousin who became deaf after having meningitis when she was two. My boss is also deaf and wears hearing aids. I think it's more difficult if you develop hearing problems when you are older...none of the people I know have issues about not being able to hear...they just get on with their lives as normal. My Mum's cousin was issued with hearing aids once but didn't wear them for more than a day as her children were way to loud as they had grown up used to her

Unknown said...

Dear Tanya,
Thank you for your wise words. You are so right. You can live with a hearing impairment or loss if you get a little help from those around you. Just a little detail like looking directly at a person's face when you are speaking helps him or her to see that you are trying to say something. Many people actually look away when they are speaking to someone and those sounds are lost and you can't even try to read their lips.

Wikipedia's article about Beethoven, mentions that after he became totally deaf, he wrote talking books with his friends; he wrote down his thoughts or questions and others replied by writing down their answers in his book.

Necessity is the mother of invention! There are ways of solving some everyday problems.

But, still I really feel for Beethoven. What a terrible loss for a musician. It is understandable that he could feel depressed at times. He wrote a symphony called 'The Ode to Joy', in which an enormous choir sings the German word for joy, Freude, in a way that is no mistaking what it means.

Thanks for sharing, Tanya!

Best wishes & hugs,

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