Another crack, another day

I woke up in the morning, preparing for another long, dreadful day of hard work. It wasn’t that dreadful, but I’d rather stay asleep. I picked up my hearing aids, did a quick checkup on them and noticed a crack in the left hearing aid. Luckily, the hearing aid still works, even with the cracks in it.

As I pondered the crack, I began to realize how much of my life is tied into my hearing aids. There isn’t a day when I can’t answer the phone, watch TV or do regular things without having my hearing aids on.

Of course, watching TV is easy when closed captioning is on, but there are some things missed when there’s not enough adequate sound vibrating through the ear canal.

The major problem with using hearing aids all the time is that the ears do not get a chance to breathe, often leading to pain-inducing ear infections. Sometimes, the heat contained by the hearing aids makes my ears sweat. This makes hydrogen peroxide feel like a dagger in my ear.

Sometimes, I truly wish I wasn’t deaf. I wish I could hear 100 percent. I’d love to be able to walk with my friends without having the wind hitting my aids, making a loud annoying noise and drowning out their conversations.

Yet, there are times I’m grateful to be deaf. If the military draft is ever instituted, I would not have to worry, as there’s not much the military forces could do with a deaf guy. If I’m rooming on a trip with someone who snores a lot, taking out my hearing aids mutes the sound, allowing me to get some much-needed sleep.

With the crack in my hearing aid sometimes hurting my inner canal, I remember some of the pain my hearing aid has brought me when it comes to my social life.

Sometimes, people will tell a joke. They laugh; I laugh, not even knowing what was said.

Can you imagine being in a classroom with a soft-spoken teacher? I can’t count the times that I’ve had to copy someone’s notes after class, trying to understand the lecture that I missed out on. Luckily, I never let that get me down.

I worked hard to ensure that I kept a good GPA, maintaining a 3.67 GPA during my undergraduate career. I am trying to maintain a 4.0 during my matriculation through graduate school.

It’s tough for a guy who struggles to hear what his friends say two feet away from him, but I’m working on it.

There are those times when I want to simply break down, let out the anger and pain that’s been shelled into me for the last 16 years of wearing my sound enhancers. They have caused me much grief, much turmoil, much desolation.

Yet, I’m still alive and kicking, 23 years after being born in St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe.

On the flip side, I’ve been happy wearing my hearing aids – or pieces, as my fellow hearing aid wearer likes to call them. I still remember when I first got my hearing aids. I remember it like it was yesterday.

After years of being tested around the state for my hearing, my mom finally begged a doctor to let me get the hearing aids I desperately needed. I was fitted for the pieces, and I waited impatiently and patiently for me to have the hearing aids placed in my ear.

The day finally came, and I was beside myself. The ear specialist placed the first hearing aid in my ear, and my eyes lit up, hearing the hum of an air conditioner for the first time. I could hear the box move and the paper crumble as she prepared the next hearing aid to be placed in my ear. My eyes lit up again, able to hear well from both ears. It was a great day, a day I haven’t forgotten.

I hear the seconds ticking on the clock nowadays. I’ve grown from a scrawny lil’ kid with big ears and over-the-ear hearing aids to a man with in-the-canal pieces, trying to be the best I can be. I may be an inspiration to some, but it’s nothing I dwell on. I just try to be me.

As I take my pieces out, I notice that slight defect again. I can only crack a smile this time around. After all, my hearing aid matches my being; it’s imperfect.