In one ear and out of the same

Anyone who has never had to have their ears syringed won’t know what a life-changing experience it is. I say this up front because otherwise such people won’t understand why I would write a blogpost about the experience, let alone such a laudatory one as this.

My ears had started to get blocked earlier this year, I think: living next door to Hugo, Chavette and their mewling infant meant I had difficulty sleeping at the start of the year, and used earplugs extensively. The nurse I saw yesterday said I had naturally small openings to my ear canals and I think once they started to block then that just made them worse.

I had to wait a while for an appointment because of holidays, and the receptionist did the usual thing of trying to direct me to the often-broken, advertisement-playing electronic booking system which I then had to go through the rigmarole of refusing; but once I reached the nurse’s room the treatment was remarkably good. She agreed my left ear in particular was a disaster area, and over the noise of the motorized pump for the syringe water jet I did at one point hear her swear rather quietly in astonishment as something definitely shifted inside my poor beleaguered ears.

Her astonishment was nothing compared to mine as I wobbled slightly dizzily home, regaining both my balance and my contact with the rest of the world. I didn’t really think about it before, but my gradual hearing loss (and the discomfort of a ringing, full-feeling, slightly confusing ear) had made me just as gradually more and more miserable and stressed.

Music wasn’t as much fun, and I had to have it on louder. I rarely sang or hummed to myself, which any anthropologist observing me for long would confirm is a sign that I’m at peace with the world. I also found really loud noises oddly more objectionable – police sirens, roadworks, even social occasions – as they only served to amplify my inability to pick out other sounds in the background.

Now I can hear the treble in my own voice again, which is an odd experience to have to rediscover. I’ve also started singing around the house again – K, you’re a lucky, lucky woman – and I generally feel more comfortable in my own skin. So, for anyone having outer-ear hearing problems: I strongly recommend you see your practice nurse. It will in all likelihood make you a slightly better person.

Only, I wouldn’t suggest you do it yourself (kits do exist for that purpose, I’m told) in order to save time waiting. A trained nurse is more likely to be able to diagnose what’s going on in there, if anything, and recommend any further consultation. Also, that water jet fires at a variable pressure, and if you’re not daft enough to stick a propelling pencil in your ear then you should look at what the sea is doing to the Seven Sisters at Birling Gap and think on.

This entry was posted in art, body, discomfort, health, music, person, service. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to In one ear and out of the same

  1. looby says:

    Doesn’t it also amplify the sounds of the charming child next door?

  2. BeaPH says:

    ah yes, I remember with fond joy the pop when a pea-sized lump of wax was removed from my ear by a similar nice young nurse a few years ago. I wonder if it’s that feeling of clarity which makes people have colonic irrigation? Well, I say I wonder, but I am not curious enough to actually want to find out.

  3. sbalb says:

    @looby technically, yes. The child doesn’t whine as much as he used to, though; the main problem these days is his dad’s drum and bass, which as you can imagine isn’t muffled in the same way as treble sounds. It gets transmitted through the bones in my jaw.

    The main thing I’ve noticed is that the designers’ slightly tinny music at work has become harder to bear. I wonder if they’ve all got actual hearing loss, and so turn up the treble.

    @BeaPH clarity is the word. When I cycle, the wind past my lugholes makes me feel like someone’s taken the top of my head off. I dread to think what the colonic analogue would be like.

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