- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Deaf in One Ear
One Good Ear, The beginning.
I decided to make this hub, only because I can't find much on how a person feels when they only have one good ear. In my case I was born ( as far as we know) with complete deafness in my right ear. Which to me throughout my life it has been both a curse, and a blessing if you can believe it. I think it gives me, a sense of humor when I look back at different events that occurred and my role in these events.
I can vividly remember when we found out I was deaf in my right ear at a very early age. Of course my mother may remember it differently but I was only about three or four so I imagine my adult mind filled in the blanks or whatever. In any case I remember standing on the kitchen chair which I had pulled up to the kitchen telephone on the wall. I must have did this from time to time to talk to my grandmother. I remember standing up there and my mother finding it odd that I used my left ear to talk on the phone. Even preferring the left ear. I remember she took the phone from me to move it to my right ear, to make me talk to Mamaw this way, and I remember crying because she insisted I do it this way. Even when I said she was not there on that side. I think I thought in mind that she must have been standing on my left side at her house. See, that's what I mean about a sense of humor. Children think differently. Thinking of these things make me chuckle, even though my mother was seriously concerned I'm sure.
This was about 1973-74 so at the time they did not test newborns for hearing impairment, etc.
My mother was very young, she was sixteen when she had me and I'm guessing about nineteen or twenty by the time it was discovered. I can imagine there were times she thought I was just being stubborn or ignoring her, with my nose stuck in Sesame Street or whatever. Which also makes me chuckle, I don't know why. Probably because I know I do, even now, have selective hearing, blocking out what I don't particularly want to pay attention to.
Anyway this hub is basically to help me sort out my feelings about it all and maybe just to get it out in some sort of organized way. And maybe someone will think this is similar to their own experiences, or maybe not.
I actually had an epiphany just a few weeks ago. I now being thirty-nine years old, knew I could not hear at all in my right ear, not even a little. I can still feel my eardrum vibrate at very loud noise but no sound. What I didn't realize was that my parents still didn't know the severity of deafness in my right ear.
A few weeks ago someone, said something to me at my parents house and I had to ask them to repeat it, because they were on the right side of me, I didn't catch it all. So of course, again, I had to explain to them, ( people I grew up with ) that I couldn't hear in that ear. My dad then said, well your only about 60% deaf in your right ear.
Okay, here is the problem, the audiologist, places me in a soundproof vault then hands me a little button for each hand and a set of earphones on my ears. He then tells me to push the button when I hear a sound in that ear. Problem!!! I'm four!!! I like buttons, I push them, any of them, especially when given permission. Pair that with the fact that I can't tell where sound comes from. I was pushing buttons left and right literally. I thought it was a game.
So I guess my epiphany is, that I must compensate really well. Even people I have lived with my whole life didn't realize the severity of the deafness.
The Down Side
Of course there are down sides to having only one good ear.
The first was the fact that when teachers learn of this, I had to sit in the front row of every class. Which I hated. And the other kids thought I was getting special treatment, which led to teasing, but the good part was I just turned my head and blocked it out mostly.
Another down side is my balance. I have terrible balance, which I attribute to my vestibular system which is directly related to my ears. I fell down alot. I fell off the school bus, I fell off the bleachers, I fell for no reason at all, it seems. And you know how funny it is to see someone fall, we all laugh we just can't help ourselves.
At about four or five I was a little ballerina, took the classes etc. This was always thrown back in my face every time I fell. My dad would say " And to think you were a little ballerina." I guess he thought this was supposed to help my balance. Funny really. Kids running around in little tu-tu's what balance I mean really!
And of course the biggest down side now is that I sometimes can't hear people, and have to ask them to repeat themselves quite often. Most of the time repeating once is enough and I don't have to go into the whole explanation about how I can't hear you because I'm deaf in my right hear...............blah blah blah.
My husband gets frustrated at me sometimes because he thinks I do hear him, when I actually don't.
So it can be frustrating for me as well as to others around me.
And surround sound ! What is that ! Something my husband wants in the living room for movies, music, etc. OK, Whatever!
Deaf in one Ear, How many can identify?
Throughout childhood there were many instances when I just didn't hear or understand what the heck was going on.
I remember one time in particular. It was probably about 1978, I was eight years old. That winter there was quite a bit of snow. we lived a little ways out of town and about halfway home, dad noticed a truck that had slid off the road, down a hill and was sitting at the bottom. There was a man inside and a young boy, I was in the passengers seat. So dad stopped on the side of the road. I was on the side closest to the truck, so he instructs me to yell down and ask the man if he needed him to call a wrecker. So i climbed up out the window hanging out enough to holler down " Do you need us to call you a record ?" The man laughs, my dad laughs and I just sit there wondering what was so funny. It wasn't until years later I guess till I figured out how to spell wrecker that I actually saw what was so funny.
I have a habit of filling in the blanks sometimes when it comes to words or sentences. Just because it's faster and I usually can get by with it. But there is the occasion, that sometimes I try to do that only to find out that I wasn't being asked if I'd like a drink, but rather they want to know ,( Them: "What do you think?" Me: " Yes, I love one, thank you." ) ughhh..........
How do you Cope?
I know there are other folks out there with the same issue. And some handle it very well. I think it made me more introverted than perhaps I would have been. Very shy growing up. I always second guess myself, because I think maybe I heard it wrong or something.
I do better now, I got good at filling in the blanks, or reading lips, but I was wondering how others fair with the same problem. I don't know anyone else around here who was born deaf in one ear. I know people who have become hard of hearing for one reason or another. And they usually say one ear is worse than the other, and complain about it. And I can't see what the big deal is since I got by on just one ear my whole life.
So if anyone would care to comment let me know how you are doing. How do you cope? How do you compensate for it? As I am sure you all do whether you realize it or not. Since it's probably just natural to go about your lives and not give much thought about it, unless an issue arises.
It's not a big deal most of the time, but there are times that it is annoying and just down right aggravating.
I Hate to Drive.
Just something I thought I'd throw in. I hate to drive. Well at least when others are in the car with me. Since I am deaf in my right ear, and all hearing is on the left. I hate to drive because if anyone tries to talk to me while driving I can't hear them at all. I usually hear a lot a mumbling but nothing coherent at all. I usually end up making them repeat themselves often.
Same goes for keeping the radio off. It just drowns out all other noise. I might miss something sombody says or sounds from outside like sirens or horns. I think this is almost a paranoia of mine. My husband thinks it is a little odd, but I can't help it. Even when he's driving the radio is off most of the time. He has been really good about it. I have had some people who insist on having the radio on but he puts up with it. I think we have had some really good conversations in the car due to the radio being off as well.
Just thought I'd throw this little bit of info in here because I wonder if there others who do the same thing.
My husband thinks I have selective hearing. I think he is right about somethings. I mean often times he is on the right of me which is my bad side. And if I am busy doing something at the time that means I have to stop my train of thought, and the activity I was doing and direct my attention to him fully. This is sometimes hard to do. I mean when I am on my train of thought I don't want to loose it, I want to stay focused. I think if he is on my good side when this happens, I am much better at multi-tasking and listening to him and completing what I started.
So sometimes I guess I do have selective hearing. I do tend to tune him out on occasion. I mean if I think what I am doing is important, or if he could just wait five minutes to let me get done with what I am doing, then I could focus on what he is saying. Otherwise I would have to stop what I am doing and direct my full attention to him by turning around so I can hear him.
He gets so frustrated. I think it's more because of the fact that most of the time it is no big deal and I manage to figure out what he is saying even without asking him to repeat himself. He sometimes forgets that I am deaf in my right ear.
Once I explain it to him though he is usually pretty understanding and usually gets mad at himself for not remembering. It can make for some pretty bad feelings sometimes though. But we usually work it out just fine.
Give you child an advantage, in School
- Giving your Child who is Deaf in One Ear an Advantage in School
Some suggestions, on what you can do help you child in school. Things that parents can do as well as teachers, to help a child succeed in a school setting when there are so many distractions for children who are deaf in one ear.
Deaf in one Ear Page 2
- Deaf in One Ear Page 2
This page is a supplement to my first post on deafness in one ear and my experiences with it. That page has been getting alot of good stories and input from many people in the comments section. There...