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.