— or at least some respect
Posted: September 9, 2014
Updated: September 10, 2014
Sitting quietly beside my daughter on an old stump in a canyon where we’d gone rambling recently, I listened with joy to the warble of a bird and the babble of the water nearby.
One of my great pleasures is the fact that those sounds — and the ticking of a watch — are unimpaired by a pretty devastating hearing loss. If you’re going to be left with remnants, those are lovely.
Then my teenager spoke, the words mostly unintelligible, and I was reminded of precisely how much I have given up with decades of casual disregard for my ears. The fact that my hearing loss is most likely self-inflicted just increases the misery.
If you have kids, pay attention and talk to them about this early and often. Because hearing aids are a lovely tool and I am very grateful for mine. But this is one do-over I’d embrace in a heartbeat, were it possible. Artificial hearing cannot compare with the real thing. If you’ve got it, take care of it.
When I was in high school, I went to a ton of football games to root for good old Idaho Falls High. Screaming, it seems, was not optional. Hearing protection should not have been, either.
A few years later, as a young reporter, I reviewed concerts. And for at least a decade, it never occurred to me that I could hear the concert pretty much unimpaired even if I wore ear plugs, which would have been a dandy notion. The most I’d have lost is some of the shrill shrieks and whistles that are so many audiences’ contribution to a musical occasion.
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