Saturday, May 27, 2006

You rang?

I was sitting in the living room reading the paper about an hour ago, when suddenly half of my world went very quiet. It's been raining here almost constantly for what seems like the last ten years, and I could hear the manic rushing of water from the stream outside the house, but only with my left ear. My right had gone completely deaf.

Then it started to ring almost painfully loud. Somewhere around high E.

For a while my whole world felt lop-sided, as if someone had twisted the balance control knob all the way over to 'l'. But slowly, over the course of the last half hour or so, my hearing has seeped back in. The ringing has subsided, but it's still there, like a telly on the blink.

Many, many moons ago, the Horse Doctor* and I went to visit a friend who was working in Amersfoort, just south of Amsterdam. On the ferry over, something similar happened to me, my right ear suddenly going profoundly deaf. You could click your fingers right next to my head and I wouldn't know. Unlike today's incident, that time I remained deaf, without the annoying campanological accompaniment, for the whole week I was abroad. When I finally made it home, the doctor took one look at me and sent me to see the nurse. She dug out some fearsomely Victorian-looking apparatus, a towel and a bowl of warm water and in mere moments a large obstruction of wax had been syringed out of my ear canal.

The noise, after more than a week of straining to hear anything, was incredible. I could pick out leaves falling off trees on the other side of the road. I could hear the home-brew beer ageing in the bottles in the attic. Ants, arguing in the garden three storeys below our flat, kept me awake late into the night.

I felt like superman with his amazing super-hearing. But only on one side. And within a day or two it had gone back to normal.

Today's incident is just a little ringing, more's the pity. But it is a timely reminder to go and wash out my ears.

* although she wasn't even the Horse Student back then. In fact, I think that might have been in the days when she was trying to become a management guru.


Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

Damn. I read the title and thought this would be an update on Hollywood calling.

And I just want to say that slow drivers piss me off! They are as much a safety hazard as fast drivers, because usually they don't know how to drive, are scared, or can't see over the steering wheel. And for those of us who comfortably drive at the legal high end, you turn the bend and have to slam on the brakes because gramps is going 25 instead of 100 and you hope to hell the guy tailgating you is paying attention and you don't get schmucked.

I wish the police would ticket slow drivers. Get off the highways and use the dirt roads if you can't go a reasonable speed.

May 27, 2006 5:07 pm  
Blogger Stuart MacBride said...

Ah, the great ear-syringing. I've only had it done once - during the honeymoon - but the relief was lovely. The kidney dish full of earwax wasn't though.

Do you think they make candles with it?

May 28, 2006 11:41 am  
Blogger JamesO said...

Earwax candles? I don't know. They'd be a bit whiffy when you burnt them.

Sandra, in the UK you can be done for going too slowly on the motorway - I think there's a legal minimum. The problem is all the traffic cops have been replaced with cameras, which don't care if you're tootling along at glacier pace.

May 29, 2006 1:45 pm  
Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

On highways in this country, you have to go at least 20 miles below the speed limit. So there is a minimum speed. But...cameras don't care.

Re: earwax. My cousin and I did that with my grandmom. She's mostly deaf in one ear, she went deaf in the other. We took her to the ear doctor. He sucked out the wax. Then showed me her ear canals so I could assure her that he had indeed, done his job, so it was okay to pay his bill.

After that we took her every couple of years for the ear sucking.

May 29, 2006 4:05 pm  

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