I'm sorry, I can't hear you.
Only according to the ear doctor- the one in town who is supposed to be super-good- I can hear you just fine. Except that I can't seem to hear. Is it hair in my ears? Or random wax? Funny, I was in the ear doc's office because my family doctor eliminated those things already. But my audiology tests came back perfectly normal, so obviously I can hear, right? Right?
What? I didn't catch that.
I took my mom with me. I'm glad I had a witness, or I would have thought I was crazy. The ear doctor sure seemed to think I was. The only suggestion he had was that maybe I was having trouble with "background noise", an auditory processing issue; but he didn't want to give me that test, because hey, what could we do about that, anyway?
What? I can't hear you. Can you repeat that again?
I'm not saying there isn't some possibility for this theory. I thought about when I have the hardest time hearing. After a summer of fluid in my ears (which the ear doc says couldn't have been fluid in my ears, because it is really rare for adults to have fluid in their ears, it must have been hair or wax or something like that, even though I had a doctor check out my ears and apparently my ear canals are particularly clean), I started having trouble. During, in fact, but I attribute the during to the "fluid" (which, by the way, hurts, and can cause my ears to become sensitive to high-pitched sounds like boy squeals. It was a long summer). My mom noticed it. She found talking to me in the car, I sometimes didn't even know she had spoken. My students noticed it. They have to repeat themselves a lot, which they find annoying. When my doctor checked my ears, I think she thought I was being silly, too, until she tried to tell me something while she washed her hands, and it was obvious I didn't hear her.
What's the connection there? Sure enough, noise. The staticy white noise: the rush of the road and wind in the car, even with the windows up, plus the heater blowing. In my class, I am video linked to another classroom, and for reasons unknown, they placed the microphone next to the heater/air conditioner, so that there is a constant sound of blowing air or static in my classroom. The sound of the running water with the aerator. Like TV snow.
It may not explain the occasional pain, why it seems to come and go (I have days I can hear better than others, and sometimes it is one ear, sometimes the other, sometimes both), or why it suddenly appeared. But it is interesting as a theory.
So, the good news is that apparently, my ears work. The bad news is I still can't hear you.