How it felt to be deaf for four days

Apr 4, 2016 5:56:00 PM / by Vu Long Tran

Being deaf is not the most delightful thing in the world. Those who are permanently deaf, experience a world that we can only imagine. As it is not often that we are faced with the same disability as they do.

How I became deaf for four days...

Recently however, I was welcomed to the life of a deaf person. Not be deliberate choice. But as
wax in my ears builds up fast, I had recently used Soluwax to resolve the issue.

Soluwax is meant to help soften & aid removal of earwar and as it says online is "formulated to easily disperse and remove excessive amount of hardened ear wax which can cause earache and poor hearing".

Usually it works for me okay, but this time round, after being prescribed it by my doctor, after using it, my ears simply became blocked....

Maybe it was the way I put it in with the dropper. Or that I didn't get it all out after dropping them in my ear and tilting them after . But my ears were blocked. So naturally, my only solution available was the ENT.

I was at 20% in left ear. 50% hearing left in the other. I was still able to work and I was still working fine. By the weekend, that changed to  2% on the left ear and 5% in the right ear.

What I could hear at that point was vibrations and muffles of sounds. To most people around me I looked normal. However I often found myself sometimes no longer understand the people around me.

How people around me interacted with me during this time

As far as people could tell there was nothing wrong with me. However, I could only read teletext or read lips. Making out the words, phrases and sentences that people were saying.

So my need to guess what people were saying grew, learnt to use more body language and to try to re-iterate what was said to me so that I can confirm my understandings further. Most people I told acknowledged that I couldn't hear them or at least couldn't hear them well, yet forgotten very easily about 10-15 minutes later.

Internet instant messaging chats and apps were helpful but nearly not enough or speedy enough.

What it means to me now

In those four days I felt the frustration, discomfort and lack of awareness that would have been typically.  It was a strange feeling yet very enlightening. I value my hearing more and the ability to pick up signals from the world around me via this vital sense.

Today, I have an even greater desire to learn sign language and lip reading. Or at least ensure I always have communication ability with the world around me, for in the social and interactive world that we live in, we all need to continue to communicate...

Vu Long Tran

Written by Vu Long Tran

Solutions Engineer APAC. ex-@Forrester consultant. Writing on #cloud #howto guides and #tech tinkering!