Cumberland Times-News

Maude McDaniel - Living

August 27, 2011

Back in the old days when one could hear

When I wrote this column in October of 1982, I could still hear without hearing aids, thanks to a good doctor and some timely operations! Alas, those days are gone forever. In later years I have had to resort to hearing aids on both sides, and, despite helpful technicians, these are far from perfect. Just ask my family, and some long-suffering friends. They will be so glad to tell you about it!

Nobody’s perfect and I have this ear that doesn’t work. It’s my left one, but the odd thing is that for 17 years it was my right one that couldn’t hear. Then I had an operation, when a very large doctor attached a very small Teflon tip in place of a bone that had stopped vibrating, and suddenly I could hear again.

It was like a whole new world, everything booming and crashing and screeching that used to thud and buzz and hiss. My pillow was so noisy, all those feathers bending and cracking under my ear, I couldn’t sleep for years.

I was just getting used to all the racket when my left ear went out. It’s not as bad as the other one, and I’ve been living with it for some time now. In fact, there are certain advantages to living with a deaf ear that I’ve decided I’d hate to give up. If you’ve got a couple of seconds, I’ll mention them.

Partial deafness means getting to hear all kinds of sounds normal people miss. Bells ringing when it’s not Sunday, ocean waves in the mountains, poppings and cracklings that’ll entertain you for hours. Saves the price of a radio.

Partial deafness means giving enjoyment to your children. I can’t say how much entertainment I’ve provided the kids, because I never heard any of it, except a little universal merriment after some comment of mine. All I know is that I have a marvelous reputation for (unintended) wit. If one of the children said, “Can I have a dime?” and I answered, “It’s going on three o’clock,” it was apparently hilarious.

Partial deadness livens up one’s love life, too. I know a joke about that I’m not going to include, but I’ve been told that there is a unique fascination about a women who, when her husband whispers over their anniversary dinner, “I love you, dear,” answers, “No, mine’s delicious.”

It’s also a protective device against those mutterings under the breath which even the best of children indulge in, from time to time. It relieves the parent of having to punish, just to save face. In fact, you can pretend you didn’t hear, even if “mean old thing” (or worse) does happen to get through to your good ear. Then they’ll think they got away with something, and won’t have to resort to drugs or drink to show who’s boss.

Partial deafness leads to exciting new relationships too. There’s the dentist you didn’t hear say, “This is the one to come out, right?” and beauty operators you didn’t hear say, “Now you’re the one who wants a crewcut.” They also include a policeman whose sirens never really got through to me, and (before an operation) a hospital urinalysis technician who, it turned out, didn’t invite me to tea.

Then there are community concerts at Fort Hill, when you’re sitting in a row with your friend on your wrong side. In order to hear her, you have to turn your good ear in her direction, which puts you eyeball-to-eyeball with the person sitting in back of you.

This is unsettling for everybody, and can be solved by dropping your program on the floor so that you have to break eye contact in order to get down and look for it. Unfortunately, the other person often takes the same way out, in which case you may meet each other crawling around on your hands and knees under the seats.

On the other hand, partial deafness can be an ice breaker. Confessed to among strangers, it brings you immediate attention, sympathy, and about 40 more decibels. You also hear about everybody else who’s deaf — 73.29 percent of everybody’s best friends and relatives have some loss of hearing.

It’s exciting being deaf, but I will admit, I was happy when the operation was a success. Even though I still don’t hear as well as I’d like, I want to enjoy it while I can.

You know what they say: “Hear today, gone tomorrow.”

Maude McDaniel is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears on alternate Sundays in the Times-News.

Text Only
Maude McDaniel - Living
  • Trivial questions you don’t have to answer

    Every so often in this life, my mind, all on its own, generates questions that have no real answers. So I have decided to pass them on to you. I’m tired of them. If you come up with any answers, let me know. Remember when TV jealously guarded the time zone before 9 p.m. for wholesome shows that children could watch. My gosh, how many years ago was that? It seems like another world nowadays, when you can see murders, torture and rape, or those implied, every hour on the hour, somewhere on your public screen. It might be comforting then, to remember that most children nowadays are glued to their little machines with whole different worlds on them, that they can access all day long. Except that in these different worlds they also can view murders, torture and rape on demand.

    April 20, 2014

  • Rusty writes about the nature of doghood

    I am a dog.
    Therefore I bark.
    I don’t understand why it is so hard for humans to understand this.
    I mean, there are certain things that come with the territory, right?

    April 5, 2014

  • Free-range reminiscing and occasional nostalgia

    When I was in grade school, (many more years ago than when either of you were in grade school) my daily winter (fall, spring) routine included walking to school across a railroad track.

    March 22, 2014

  • Beatles return us to what might have been

    Here’s a a free gift from Goldy (to your left), and it should get us going with a good laugh, that both my readers will approve of. Then, after that (fair warning) I am going to turn a little sour.

    March 8, 2014

  • What’s missing in TV cooking shows? Lots

    As if badmouthing cupcakes isn’t bad enough — I have to go on and say this: I think the plates of food that are winning so many of the prizes on the Food Channel are well — boring.

    February 22, 2014

  • Only one person doesn’t like cupcakes

    Cupcake-wise, the last four or five years have ballooned into a huge plus for almost any bakery that attempts them. (Not to mention the ballooning of many of the individuals involved.) You could call cupcakes the up-cakes of our time. Well, you could, but I guess only I would, and even then only in a column on a very good day, when everything else was go!

    February 8, 2014

  • Some of us are ‘privy’ to certain information

    Outhouses used to be an object of fascination for me. (and in fact I wrote a column about them in 2007. Since we have all forgotten that, I decided to write another one this week.

    January 25, 2014

  • Just the right thing for very cold weather

    Beginning the new year with a tasty recipe always seemed like a good idea to me. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it should be a healthy recipe, and I’m a little short of those. It turns out that the period I learned to cook in (the 40s and 50s) was not noted for its general nutritional values. Although, of course, we thought we were pretty much on course there. Later, the next generation informed us that we were way off track and what did we mean by raising them in such unwholesome habits. (Foodwise, I mean. They arrived at certain other unwholesome habits on their own.)

    January 12, 2014

  • Who thinks these things up, anyway?

    Here are some of the best jokes (of the email world) in 2013. Have a Happy New Year, as I plan to!

    December 28, 2013

  • How do we compare with rest of the U.S.?

    I recently purchased “The World Almanac 2014,” reviewing events of this year, energy, government, science and technology, past and present celebrities, U.S. and world history, nations of the world and sports.

    December 14, 2013

Latest news
Must Read
House Ads