When I was a kid me and my mates would often pose to each other the question “if you had to lose one of your senses which one would it be?”
This is the kind of question that is fine coming from a friend but would be deeply worrying if it was spat into your face by a complete stranger on the street who happened to holding a kitchen knife at the time.
Of course, being regular little Oscar Wildes we’d reply “common” before giving the matter some proper, deeper thought and coming up with taste or smell. You couldn’t lose touch because that would just be stupid and, being largely ignorant, total paralysis didn’t occur to our youthful little minds. The two senses deemed most important to keep was sight and hearing. And of these, if it came down to a final choice, sight was deemed the most supreme.
It was agreed that, at a push, we could do without our hearing. Not hearing any new music would be a pain but better that than not being able to look at Big & Bouncy anymore.
I completed a Sign Language course a year ago as some of you know so I am now more astutely aware of what a huge disability it is to lose one’s hearing.
And to enrich the experience I am today completely deaf in one ear.
This is a recurrent problem. My ears either produce too much wax, wax that is too hard or wax that resists natural dispersal.
Years ago you’d get the old syringe treatment. Wince inducing but effective and your restored hearing was like a miracle.
Nowadays they (doctors) don’t syringe unless they have too. They prefer to prescribe ear drops. Olive oil and bicarbonate of soda. The miracle takes longer and is a real fag to bring about.
In the meantime I am walking around like I have been deafened on one side by a spent grenade. It is damn weird. My ear actually feels numb even though I know it isn’t. I’m having trouble filtering simultaneous sounds. And I’m having difficulty judging their distance and direction. I also feel very irritable but my wife tells me this state of play is “situation normal”.
My wife also told me (rather uncharitably) that she never has ear blocking problems because she always keeps her ears nice and clean. The implication being that I don’t.
This is not true. I pick my ears with an assiduousness usually only reserved for my nose.
Possibly even too much.
And with my fingernails too which I’m sure is not recommended (which is daft when Nature herself has supplied the tools for the job). Sometimes I scratch too hard and the skin bleeds and scabs over. This, alas, does not help the removal of waxy deposits.
So it’s a bit of a catch-22 situation really.
I know there are such things as cottonwool buds but I am wary of inserting foreign objects into my ears. I had an uncle when I was younger who, I’m guessing, had a similar problem with his ears and was more vigorous in his attempts to dislodge the offending blockage. It was well known that he had perforated both eardrums by shoving a match into his lugholes and wiggling it about so hard he skewered the membrane.
In truth he was damned lucky the match never ignited.
So, for the next week or so while I wait for the ear drops to work you all need to stand on my left-hand-side if you wish to speak to me and enunciate loudly and clearly.
I may still ignore you but you can now kid yourself that it is down to a medical complaint and not just because I think you’re not worth listening to...