“There are few treatments you can do, where somebody comes in with a problem and can walk out noticing an immediate improvement.”
Few, if any, medical procedures (that a nurse at a GP practice can carry out at least) it appears can deliver as much instant satisfaction as syringing a patient’s ears – or so the parting words from the nurse yesterday would suggest.
“It opens up a whole new world,” was the encouraging second hand recommendation from a colleague whose mother’s ears had been syringed.
In fact I knew that to be true as I’d had my ears syringed three years ago. But that was prompted by an infection, which had either left my hearing unhindered or the extent of any temporary hearing loss unnoticed due to the pain.
But yesterday afternoon I was in that new whole new sonic world. I’d put one foot inside as soon as the nurse pulled the small electric charged, toothbrush like plastic wand from my right ear and the dull, muted world I’d inhabited for the past three or so weeks was cracked by the sharp, almost hollow sound reception of an unblocked ear.
With my second ear cleared, and whatever hearing’s equivalent of 20/20 vision is restored, I walked the short journey from the surgery to my flat, with my head spinning as my ears soaked up every previously inaudible distraction. Not just the roar of every car engine, but any loose screw, or part in need of oil. The hustle, bustle and birds of Cathays and Roath in stereo. Sadly it’s the revving of engines that still screams loudest.
From my previous syringing I can remember the wonder at listening to the minutia of life, hearing my car key rattle in the lock. Today the sensation as I walked home was even greater as I could hear the static from my polyester (55%/45% cotton) shirt and my keys rubbing in my pocket.
While my colleagues have found my constants shouts of ‘what?’ hilarious as I missed most of anything said out of immediate earshot I can now, handily for a journalist, pick up conversations from across the street loud and clear.
At home the audio adventure is no less revealing: making a drink the tea bag acts like a mini shaker as I hear the leaves shuffle in the bag before it taps the base of the mug; running the tap sounds like a rainstorm while pulling the flush sounds as if a Niagara Falls like torrent of water has been unleashed. Every light switch pressed, door opened and closed, step taken reverberates.
No doubt these rediscovered joys will fade to background noise over time but my audio awakening has made me appreciate not just how much there is to hear everyday but how lucky I am to catch just some of it. Action on Hearing Loss provides care and support to those who are deaf and funds research into an eventual cure for hearing loss, you can visit its page here.