Do You Hear What I Hear?

Song Lyric of the Day:

The sweet surrender of silence forces me to live alone / Locked and loaded, where the hell is peace of mind? / I wait on you inside the bottom of the deep blue sea

MISSIO / “Bottom of the Deep Blue Sea“*

For almost as long as I’ve been with Rich, he’s teased me about my hearing. I’d complain about how loudly our cat Buster would suck on the hem of my bathrobe; it would wake me up out of a dead sleep. Rich would ask, “How the hell can you hear that?” to which I’d answer, “How can you not?” While trying to fall asleep at night, tucked in our bed, I could hear our cats walking on the carpet in the living room, which was down the hall from our bedroom. Rich clipping his toenails pretty much anywhere in the house sounds like tiny bombs going off as the clippings hit the floor. He took to teasing me about my “bat hearing,” saying that I could probably hear the grass growing. Noises that no one else seemed to notice would bother me because they were just so obvious and loud to me.

A couple of years ago I finally went and got physical therapy for my vertigo. As part of my treatment, my ENT had me undergo a hearing test, during which I could hear almost everything going on in the soundproof booth where the audiologist was stationed. Afterward, when going over the results, both my ENT and the audiologist who administered the test told me that I could hear things most people can’t. Not that most people don’t, that most people can’t. Finally it was confirmed: I really can hear like a bat.

Having super hearing is … different. Once the hearing test confirmed it, I became even more aware of noises. I could isolate the one loud filament in a lightbulb in a noisy room. I can pick out notes in music that my family and friends never notice, even when I call attention to them. I can hear when Coraline and Sebastian so much as sigh in their sleep when I’m rooms away and watching TV or washing dishes. Hearing like this is more of a curse than a blessing, though, particularly when Rich travels for work. Because all it takes is for me to hear one tiny noise outside the house for my imagination to run wild. I’ll start out telling myself it’s a raccoon or a possum. Then that turns into someone trying to break into the house. That person then becomes a zombie trying to break into the house, because why not? It’s around this point that I curse myself for the umpteenth time for thinking that I could handle watching a movie like You’re Next or The Strangers right before bedtime when the spouse is away. Stupid, stupid Pattie.

I can also isolate noises a la Nick on Grimm. For my sanity, though, I’ve trained myself to better tune out sounds so I don’t obsess over them. Or, you know, imagine it’s a thieving zombie who’s come to rob my home and/or possibly eat my brain (their mistake) and then I end up not sleeping all night. I work to protect my hearing, using sound mufflers when I vacuum, use power lawn equipment, or use my paper shredder. I even started wearing them when taking glass to the recycling center since depositing the glass in the bins is painfully loud, although I imagine it is for most people. I also wear earplugs during movies (so does Rich) because the volume is almost always set to 11, and most of the movies we see in theaters are event movies with lots of action and explosions — you know, noisy.

I’ve made my peace with my bat hearing, though. I use it when I need it, whether it’s to ignore noisy electronics and lightbulbs so I can enjoy some peace and quiet, to figure out what the kids or pets are up to, or to eavesdrop (it’s amazing what people will talk about in public). I just choose to use my “power” for good more than for evil. Usually.

“I hear it, too, Pattie. The grass growing is SO. LOUD.”
*GIF courtesy of a Google search that led me to Black Nerd Problems

*If you haven’t heard this song before, click the song title link above and go watch the video right now. The music and video are absolutely beautiful. You’re welcome.

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