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,


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