My sound-catchers have shit the bed, my friends. My dad has had trouble with his ears all his life, and passed that gift along to his oldest son. Yes, it’s nothing short of fantastic. So, I’m an old pro at this crap, but it’s not usually this bad. I often wake up and one of my ears is sealed off like a nuclear submarine, but this week… it’s both ears. And that’s no good, no good at all.
The worst part is how it throws off my equilibrium. Not being able to hear is bad, but feeling disoriented and out-of-it is worse. A couple of days ago at work I was talking to a big shot in the hallway, about some job boolshit, and began babbling like an idiot. I couldn’t form sentences, and once I was off-track… wasn’t able to find my way back. It was disturbing. For both of us. I mean, what the hell? Speaking is now a bridge too far?
And yes, I couldn’t hear jack shit for a while. I was constantly saying, “What?” And who wants to be around that all the time? I certainly don’t. I was annoying myself. My counterpart at work came to my desk a couple of days ago, and started to tell me something in confidence. You know, speaking in hushed tones, etc.? And I’m not kidding… I could see his lips moving, but couldn’t hear a thing. Nothing at all. It was scary. I told him to just send me an instant message. Fuck it. In fact, I probably shouted it, because I no longer possessed the ability to modulate.
But, it’s getting better. Yesterday morning I came downstairs — with both ears still sealed off — and Toney started giving me grief about the TV in the living room. “I keep the volume at 8 or 9,” she said. “And when I turned it on this morning it was at 52.” Incredulous, I said, “I can’t hear!! I’ve been telling you this all week! Do you think I’m exaggerating–” And right then, my left ear popped open and everything was clear as a bell on the left side. It was glorious. An eargasm.
The right one is still not hitting on all cylinders, though. It’s improved slightly, but I’m still a bit slap-happy. In fact, I’m having trouble writing this update. The words just aren’t flowing (and I’m using phrases like slap-happy). But, when I got home from work last night I noticed I set the volume at 24. So, there you go. A measurable improvement.
Another thing that irritates me about these episodes? Everybody’s unsolicited medical advice. Suddenly the whole world is made up of ear, nose, and throat specialists… I’ve been through this dozens of times, and seen ACTUAL doctors about it. The the only thing there is to do is ride it out. It has nothing to do with wax, thank you very much (always with the wax!), and decongestants don’t help. Oh god. I’m getting irritated just thinking about it. Everybody’s an expert, on every subject. And the stupider they are, the more they know.
So, I’m not a fan of all the advice. I’ll offer some, though. If you’re experiencing this kind of thing, leave your ears alone. Oh, you’ll feel a powerful urge to mess with them, and try to break the seal. But it’s a fool’s errand. Every time you stick your pinky in there, and wiggle it around… you’ve added another 12 hours to the ordeal. Or thereabouts. It’s almost like poison ivy. It itches like a bastard, but if you scratch it, you’re just spreading it around. Be strong and don’t mess with your ears. It’ll greatly shorten the suffering.
And I’m going to work now. Sorry I’m so grouchy, but this has been one shit-smeared week. And there are still two days left. How is it possible?!
For a Question, let’s just go with a classic. If you were forced to give up one of the five senses (XTC taught me they are ‘see, hear, smell, touch, taste’), which would you choose? And why? Use the comments link.
And I’ll see you guys again soon.
Have a great day!
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I’ve had that problem since I was a kid also. My parents smoked. And of course I did for about 3 decades. I have stopped now. That seems to help. But – it is still going on from time to time. At night it seems to get worse I have noticed.
I’ll tell you what really worked for me was… sorry.
I might consider smell if I could retain taste.
Master Blaster says
It took me until I was in my mid 20’s to realize that I spoke too loud, all because I couldn’t hear properly. no wonder I used to get in trouble for talking at inappropriate times in grade school – I didn’t possess the ability to modulate properly and therefore what I thought was a whisper was close to a shout!
BTW, scratching poison ivy does NOT spread it. once the urushiol (the nasty oil from poison ivy that does the dirty work) gets on your skin, it will eventually form a blister.
For some goofy reason, it doesn’t come out all at once, even in the same exact place on your body, One part may come out today, a section adjacent may come out a few days later – which is why people have the mistaken impression that its spreading. So scratch away and you wont’ be doing any more damage! Its gotta run its course no matter what you do. If you don’t believe me, check out what the fda says:
Hey! maybe I’m one of those stupid people who gives too much advice!
Since my sense of smell is pretty fucked up as it is, I’d give it up.
My mother has the same problem with her ears and she also rides it out. You’re absolutely right – nothing else works!
Hmm which sense? I have lousy eyesight so that may be the one but I still like looking at things. No not sight.
Maybe touch. But if I had a kitten in my hands that would be torture.
I like – make that LOVE food too much to give up taste or scent.
Shoot – hearing? Can I give that up?? Probably.
I’d be willing to give up my sense of propriety, but there are bastard-like people who would claim I’d not be losing a thing. Some of these people listen to entirely too much XTC. Some don’t.
Best bass line ever, courtesy of Colin Moulding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Da9sc6YDBo I might be in love with Karen Bird. Also see Troy Hughes’ cover; I dare not post a second URL, but look for the song title plus tjh3113. He plays it on a Rickenbacker, as is right and proper.
A slight tangent , but sometimes your TV volume is set to 9? A 9?! An odd number that’s not a 5? How do you sleep? Allowed volume numbers are all even except 15, 25, 35, etc. A volume set to 17 (or whatever) is just chaos.
The volume on the amp in my office shows the set volume all the time – the default is 35 – if it was 33 or 37 my head would explode.
I only set my volume to a number in the standard Fibonacci sequence, so that I know as I go louder or softer I’ll either be approaching the golden ratio or receding from it in predictable incremental steps. So 9 wouldn’t work for me, nor would 52, but 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55 and 89 work great, although 89 causes behavioral changes in the hearing impaired people next door.
I just make sure the volume is set to a prime number.
Well, there are a couple of factors.
I see what you did there.
And that’s fine, at least you have a rule!
Do you first flip a coin a certin number of times in succession to help determine which Fibonacci number to set the volume to?
This is not medical advice, I’m just curious. Have you ever been on an airplane when you’re locked up like this? I’d expect there’d be some resultant pain. Am o right?
I’d also like to see what would happen if I put you in an 80%/20% helium/oxygen environment. I do this at work for certain people who can’t clear their ears. Using a lower density gas often helps. This is not something that’s remotely realistic for you, nor (again) is it medical advice. My only purpose here is to air my scientific curiosity.
There are a couple of other experiments or small surgeries I’d like to try, but seriously the paperwork to experiment on live humans is ridiculous. Plus I don’t have access to the size cage I think I’d need. Nevermind.
I’d be an awesome mad scientist. Does anyone know where I can hire a hunchbacked assistant?
There is a hunchback who works at my local 7-11. He might be interested if it entails a pay raise.
If you work at the local 7-11, a job at the petting zoo taking the turkeys out to shit entails a pay raise.
I’ll go with sight. I’m tired of looking at some of the people I work with.
Sorry about your ears. I hope they either improve or you become deaf enough not to hear the army of Volunteer ENTs.
Say, is memory a sense? I’ve already given that one up. My hard drive must be full. Can’t retain anything new. My beard is getting gray, my eyes are going, and I can’t remember where I was going with the third point of this sentence.
Oh I’m supposed to volunteer one of my senses. Sorry I digressed. I’ll go with smell. The absence of smell would be like a super power.
“Stand away from the vomit… I’ve got this… I’m Captain NoSmell!”
Regarding memory… that’s a completely normal symptom of middle age. We call is CRS (Can’t Remember Shit).
I remember things that happened in 1962, but last month might be a problem.
I’m already nearly blind (nearsighted as a mofo), but that just makes me want to hang on more tenuously to the sight that I still do have. I think I’d choose taste – perhaps then I’d learn to have more control over my consumption.
Never mind, that’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever said.
I met an old artillery guy last year that lost his hearing. (No matter what protection you have, 20+ years of explosions going off next to your skull is going to kill your hearing.)
He would speak whisper quiet. And force you to ask him to speak up. Then he would only get louder a little bit each time you asked him. It was like throwing dimes at the TV volume knob.
he said he did this because he remembers when he was a young artillery man, he hated when all the older guys would shout all the time because they couldn’t hear himself. Now he says he knows what he is saying and he doesn’t want to shout at people, so he makes them slowly turn the volume up.
Seems appropriate to point out that mutton (Mutt and Jeff) is rhyming slang for deaf, if you want to talk like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins.
The doctor said, “Let’s have a butcher’s.”
Lee Harvey Ramone says
You should switch the brand of gum that you chew. That oughta take care of the ear problems.