I’ve often said that the single most important sense, to me, is my sight. It is my sight that allows me to photograph beauty, to read emotions in others faces, to find my way. The never ending buffet of emotions that occurs inside me is mainly the result of what I see.
My hearing is a very close second, though. Without my hearing, I could still take in words by reading, or even by sign language. But I’d be a washout as a lyricist. Admittedly, no one is banging down my door wanting to record my songs as yet so maybe I already am. But writing lyrics, complete with melody and guitar is a big part of my creative life, and one that could not be done without my hearing.
As I age, I’m aware my hearing is deteriorating. Not drastically, but I perceive the degradation. And this is bothering me … because I already have two other hearing problems related directly to my ADHD.
The first problem is a hearing impairment that has to do with distraction. Ambient noise can mingle with the thing I’m trying to hear and make it completely decipherable to me. Maybe distraction isn’t exactly what’s happening here, maybe it’s that prioritizing thing. Maybe it’s both … the unwanted sounds get my attention and then my brain must give processing time toward determining if those sounds are worth paying further attention to. By the time I’ve decided, the thing I was listening to is either finished or so far progressed that I’ve lost the thread. The worst is conversation in public places.
And the worst problem? The worst hearing problem occurs when I am tired, or overwhelmed, or trying to force myself to focus on something I know is important but isn’t exciting enough to keep me focused. That problem is the hearing of gibberish when someone speaks to me.
Words are spoken, and I hear them. Each word is obviously a word, I even recognize them. I could give you definitions for them, even recognize that some of them go together commonly. But what do they mean collectively?
No help there. I’m still hearing “Tractor seat banana garden ear piercing wrench on a pie crust.”
I furrow my brow as I listen intently. No help there. I’m still hearing “Tractor seat banana garden ear piercing wrench on a pie crust.” Nothing sensible comes through. No, I’m not actually hearing that kind of nonsense, I’m just unable to make sense of the words I am hearing, and I don’t know why.
I’m intelligent. I can solve problems almost as quickly as I create them. But this is one of the most annoying facets of ADHD that I experience. It frustrates me greatly when I get fogged in while talking to someone, anyone. Knowing I’m intelligent isn’t enough for me, it has always been important to me that I be perceived as intelligent, that others know I am intelligent.
Call it my greatest vanity, I don’t care. I know I’m different from others and I’ve spent my life revelling in that difference. But part of my accepting that difference is balancing the good with the bad and I need the knowledge of that intellect on the good side of the ledger.
Having to ask someone to repeat what they just said in different words is like asking someone to dumb something down for me. But I do that if I need to. It may not make me look intelligent, but I’m not going to look any more intelligent if I don’t understand what’s being said, am I.
And the good part is that once I grasp what’s being said, my mind, like a stone being released from a slingshot, often surges ahead with unbridled comprehension. I’m able to make up for my comprehensive deafness and display my ability to think after all … unless there’s too much ambient noise at the time.
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Last reviewed: 4 Sep 2012