Since my youngest started school last year, the house has been devoid of the noise he usually makes. During the day when he is at school I have left the television off, and for those that know me, thats not my normal routine. I have been known to always have some kind of background noise going, whether it is music or the television. I was never comfortable for many years in the silence, with or without my hearing devices on. Silence scared me, and I took comfort in being able to hear things around me.
In part, a major reason was to an attempt to reduce the amount of electronics used during the day, however I also had a different reason to do so. After five years of taking care of my youngest day in, day out, with constant noise of some kind, I felt a need to devoid myself of sound as much as I could. So his being in school for ten months of the year allowed me to reduce the noise.
After a year and a half of this, the silence is deafening and yet welcomed after each weekend, and after the school breaks in March, the summer, and December. Still, I seem to be choosing to not to wear my devices during the day when he is in school, which does of course add to the silence. When I have my headaches, being able to do so helps tremendously in treating the pain, whereas before I would have to wait until my partner was home from work to retreat to the darkness and quiet of our bedroom.
How do I feel now about the quietness of my home when it is just me? In truth, I am revelling in it more than I once did. I choose not to hear during the day more often than not. My surgery was nearly five years ago, and afterwards I grieved the loss of the residual hearing in the implanted ear. The knowledge that I would never pick up any sounds out of that ear scared me tremendously. Knowing that it would happen did not prepare me for the psychological impact it had on me. Does my newfound acceptance and enjoyment of the silence mean that I am happier not hearing out of that ear? I don’t know. I also don’t know if this means that I am beginning to prefer being deaf, rather than having access to hearing constantly. Or could it simple be because our world is filled with too much sound that is man made, and I am desiring a little more control over how much of that noise I allow into my life now?
As for sleeping at night, am I comfortable with the lack of hearing now? Honestly, the only times I am is when my partner is home, or when my two elder children are with us. I now have an alarm clock that will alert me when the smoke detectors go off. That has definitely eased my concerns about our safety when there is a fire. Still, I am aware that my concerns about my safety will never be completely satisfied.
I will admit that some weekends, I long for the silence the entire weekend, and feel a sense of relief when Monday comes, and he is off on the bus to school. It may only be 6 hours of the day, but those six hours have come to be my favourite parts of the day. When I can choose to have noise or silence around me. Today, I chose silence. Today, the silence is deafening, and I am happy about it.