“But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence”
The Sound of Silence, Simon & Garfunkel
Do you know what the sound of silence actually sounds like? I’m not talking about the exceptionally brilliant Simon and Garfunkel classic, we all know what that sounds like. I do mean the sound silence makes.
This week I have been laid low by a cold which has developed into perforated ear drums. Yes, that is the plural, BOTH of my ears have been affected and they may be like this for up to 6 weeks. I feel as though my head has been filled with spiky marshmallows, every time the mallows shift I get a shooting stab of pain through my ears. I cannot hear the phone ring, the morning alarm, the general chitter chatter of the household. I can however hear my body and boy is it a noisy place.
The sound of silence is LOUD.
I guess it has to be to drown out the cacophony of everyday hustle and bustle. The sound of silence is like the whooshing of an underground train coming into a station. The sound of silence is like a fully open tap gushing water. The sound of silence is a whispering that winds round and round a cathedral dome. A lot of the time there is a steady drumbeat in the background, the heart beating time to the dance of life. Sometimes there is a high pitched whistling, steady and true that breaks through the muffled noise of nothingness, the whistling providing a monotonous melody that rapidly becomes annoying and ceases just as abruptly as it began.
The sound of silence is broken when you drink a cup of tea or eat a piece of toast, you become acutely aware of every slurp, every crunch believing that everyone else in the room must think you a badly mannered beast to be consuming food so raucously. Your own voice takes on a whole new persona, it is faraway and no longer part of your being. You have no idea how loud you are talking until someone looks at you and says “you need to speak up.” They don’t realise that speaking through the sound of silence magnifies your every utterance.
Finally the sound of silence is all encompassing and unbelievably isolating. I don’t feel able to contribute to the meal time conversations, I have no idea what is actually going on in the lives of children this week. The sound of silence makes you feel disconnected and lonely.
The problem with having no hearing is that the world is a busy, impatient place. It leaves you discombobulated (love that word so yay, I have managed to use this wonderful combination of letters in a sentence whoop whoop). It makes you feel insignificant and overlooked. I hope that my hearing returns before my family gets tired of repeating themselves louder all the time and gives up with a shrug before turning and unintentionally excluding me from their adventures.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, there have been a handful of humorous moments this week. There was the trip to my parent’s house, sat in the car with Steve driving (because having no hearing means I can’t drive of course) and I felt as though I had moved forward about 30 years. Not just in our relationship as an old married couple but that this is what it would be like with the children taking their deaf old mum out for a day trip somewhere. Another mildly amusing incident was when J asked me how to spell ‘choir’, “C H O I R” I duly repeated before J looked at me blankly and said “No, Mummy. Koala.” Then last night I watched the final part of Gareth Malone’s Choir, Best in Britain, I have been following this since the beginning of the series and wanted to know the outcome. So, despite not hearing a single note I watched the final of this heavily sound dependent music competition… with the subtitles on.
I hope that my hearing comes back in time for Christmas and then I might just be able to get a few minutes of peace and quiet.
In the meantime:
“Speak up dear, I have a hearing disability”.