Lately, I’ve been told that I’m very insecure. This has caused me to pause and think, “Really? Am I?” Yes, I suppose, for most of my life and for a number of reasons, I have been. And, while I’m not going to get into all of them, I’d like to address just one of them, for now.
Growing up, I suffered severely with recurring ear infections, quite often double. Without knowing early on what caused them, they kept coming back, over and over, sometimes several times per year. My doctor, while “old school,” was an exceptional ENT specialist who took great care of me, back in the ’60s & ’70s, but really didn’t try to find out or test me to see what was causing the infections. It wasn’t until my early teens, that the Dr. discovered that my Eustachian Tubes were short, quite narrow, and almost horizontal (instead of vertical like most normal tubes are.) This caused the majority of my issues. Suffice to say that while growing up, I had considerable hearing loss during and following each episode. Being the introvert and/or extremely shy growing up, I never had the nerve to ask people to speak up when in group settings, such as at school.
Having had tubes put into my eardrums several times, during one of the last insertions, the left tube failed, with the resulting hole in my drum needing to be repaired surgically. A bit of skin was taken from behind my ear and placed over the drum to seal off the hole. Still, infections returned, year after year. I’ve had several hearing tests done, over the years, confirming that I do indeed have significant hearing loss, with about 75% of that in the left ear, with the surgical repair. Add to this, from the stress of it all I have probably 50% loss in the other ear, as well.
I had always been a swimmer, growing up, and it was extremely difficult for my mom during the Summer time; everyone else was in the pool, and I had to sit out because when you have tubes in your ears, you can’t swim under water. Plus, it seemed like I had them every year during Summer. I didn’t, but it sure felt that way! These days, if ever I DO get into a pool, it’s just to kind of float around. I can swim; just not with my head under water, as my eardrums still cannot take the pressure. I’d love to be able to scuba dive, but that’s out of the question. Even ear plugs don’t begin to take away the pressure.
Over the years, whether in a group setting or at church, if the speaker was soft-spoken, I had great difficulty in hearing them, unless I happened to be sitting right next to them. If the speaker at church is soft-spoken and doesn’t use a microphone, forget it; I might as well not even be there. And while I have no problem hearing someone whose voice is naturally loud, Sarah, my daughter, has threatened to get me fitted for hearing aids; I suppose I should look into them. Having heard so many different things about them, I’m just not sure they’re for me.
I think my hearing issues are one reason I became such a loner. It was really hard to go to parties or outings and not be able to hear everything that’s being said. I know most people don’t like to have to repeat themselves and I hate having to ask people to speak up all the time too. I know it’s annoying to be asked over and over to speak up, so I remain silent. My insecurity at work. I need a shot of boldness, I think.
Enter my husband, Tom; he’s actually the one that decided we needed to look into over-the-counter hearing aids. He’s my researcher, he’s excellent at finding things online. He began a search and found some very inexpensive aids at a local store he loves to frequent. So, he found and bought what they had. We didn’t wait to get home before trying them. As soon as I put it in my ear, I was overcome with emotion. I couldn’t stop the tears! I could hear and it was GLORIOUS!! Since then, we’ve upgraded and I now wear one that is a bit more expensive, but it works great and it has improved my outlook on life. I’m not quite as insecure as I used to be. A wonderful place to be, finally.
I have always loved to sing, for years as a Worship Leader. It’s amazing to me; after all these years of dealing with my eardrums and hearing loss, that I CAN still sing and stay on pitch! God has truly blessed me in this area! I love to praise Him and give Him all the glory for the voice He’s given me. I’ll always use that gift to bring Him all the Glory!
So now you know why I appear to be so and most likely I am, insecure. I know I’m an introvert which doesn’t help my cause AT ALL.
So yes, I needed to look into getting hearing aids to see what a difference they could make in my life, at the very least. I was delightfully surprised.