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The Mom perhaps exaggerates a touch. I’m not completely deaf, but there is a range of sounds and tones that I don’t hear. This is exacerbated in an open plan office, or when at home, when The Mom tries to tell me something on another floor of the house, behind a closed door, with her head deep in a cupboard. Shockingly, I find it difficult to hear what she’s saying in these instances.

Anyhow, this lack of hearing has been alright until recently. Up until a few months ago, I just kept asking people to repeat themselves, it’s only now that I don’t always catch what they’ve said again, that I decided to go and have my hearing checked.

I was reluctant to go because though I’m no stranger to medical maladies, harbouring not one but two chronic disease, the idea of losing my hearing seemed more inconvenient than my other health issues. And it provided me nothing new either, whereas the arthritis and Crohn’s at least provided me with excuses to not go out if I didn’t want to. Excuses that I knew would never be challenged. Being unable to hear properly isn’t a reason to stop doing anything.

I mentioned all this to my GP one day when I was doing one of my quarterly visits wherein I list off anything that has been bothering me over a reasonable period of time – what I mean is that I only take in the lasting things, if it’s been bothering me for a week or so, it doesn’t rate. If a symptom wants to stick around until the next appointment, fine, but it’s got to prove it has legs. The hearing thing had been bothering me for years so it warranted action.

My GP duly wrote to the Audiology people at the local hospital, who duly wrote to me to inform me of the date of my appointment. I dearly love the NHS and am very grateful for it, however I do wonder if perhaps it might be time to give up on the letter writing campaign, and start making appointments over the phone. I just think it might speed things up a bit.

Anyhow, off I go to the appointment with Audiology and it turns out that I could do with some hearing aids. The doctor lady looks at me expectantly, like she’s waiting for me to jump for joy that some of my hearing may be restored. I’m less enthusiastic and view this as a sign of old age.

I regretted not taking better care of my ears as a teenager and in my twenties when I spent most nights wither at a rock concert or in a club with no ear plugs whatsoever. But when I finally made the decision to try the hearing aids, and mentioned this to the doctor lady, she shook her head no. The damage is more or different than that apparently. And I was able to put the blame squarely on The Mom not getting tubes put in my ears as a kid.

Regardless of how I lost my hearing, the fact is that it’s gone. Some of it at least. If I’m in a group of North Americans and were shouting as North Ameriacans tend to, then I’m usually fine. But as I live in what’s left of the UK, and people only shout about Brexit, I’m missing things.

So I got hearing aids. And they’re okay. They’re on the NHS so they’re not top of the line, and the day I got them, which coincidentally was the day of Brexit, the doctor I’d been seeing, herself German, leaned in close and warned me, “These are property of the NHS. So if you leave and go home to Canada, you have to give them back.”

These are dark days indeed when the NHS or the Border Force or the Home Office or whoever would strip a person of her hearing aids when she’s fleeing the country, but there we are. As long as I’m resident in the UK, and my papers are up to date, for now I get to keep them. Lord knows what might happen if the Tories are allowed to keep running the shop. Though, in a strange silver lining, I am now eligible for one third off rail travel with my special disabled persons railcard. All you need are a nifty set of hearing aids, and reduced travel can be yours!

So I wear them at work and I can hear rather a lot now and have learned that it’s almost not worth the effort of plunging the stupid things deep into my ear canal. But The Mom is eagerly anticipating my August return, imagining that I’ll be able to hear her as she shouts at me, head deep in the tumble dryer, behind a closed door, on another floor of the house.

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