Now That's An Earful
Forgive me if I start sounding like an old man, but I am going to talk about a malady of mine, specifically ear problems. For about a month now, I have had trouble with my right ear. At first I thought it was a build-up of ear wax, which happens to me with too much regularity. So I went to the doctor expecting a quick flush and brush. He took a look and much to my surprise said my ears were clean. He suspected an infection and prescribed a “Z Pack”. I faithfully followed the instructions and finished the medicine, but my problem didn’t get any better.
As I write this, my ear feels a lot like when water caught in your ear after swimming. Of course whenever I got water in my ear after swimming, a few hard shakes and the water was out and I felt better. No amount of head shaking has been able to free this fluid. My wife, tired of me saying “what did you say?” scheduled an appointment for me to see an ear, nose and throat specialist. They did a complete analysis of my ears and found that my right ear was full of fluid behind the ear drum, and my left ear had unequal pressure on either side of the ear drum. In short I was a mess.
Don’t tell my wife, but I admit that there are some advantages to not being able to hear very well. But the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. Here are a couple of examples: Because of the fluid, you can hear yourself breath and especially talk. I found out over the last month that because I can hear myself so loud inside my head, I have been talking more quietly. This of course requires the people that I am talking with to ask me to repeat myself. Then I feel like I am yelling.
Eating is another problem, kind of. The problem is that I can hear myself chewing, which is very annoying. Subconsciously I think I have changed my chewing habits because I am much more aware of the sounds reverberating inside my head. I am also chewing less gum.
The last time we were together I talked about the importance for small business owners and managers to be able to communicate. I also talked about the ability to ask insightful questions and really listen to the answers is the key to the ability to communicate. But what if you are like me and have a hard time hearing? Unfortunately not being able to hear well doesn’t relieve you of the responsibility to listen. As we all know, hearing is different than listening. What I have found in the last month is that I really have to concentrate to hear and listen to what people are telling me. It is way too easy to not hear certain people when they are talking to me.
The ear nose and throat doctor prescribed ear drops that contains an antibiotic and a steroid. I have to have them put into my ear twice each day. My wife has dropped them into my ear without complaining or any hesitation at all. I think she is hoping that I return to normal with my selective hearing instead of just overall poor hearing. Let’s hope this is the last malady I talk about for a long time.