Reading Tom's blog today started me off thinking about silence. Being deaf means that the first thing I do when I get out of bed in the morning is to put my hearing aid on. Without it I really can hear next to nothing.
It is many years since I heard the dawn chorus because the birds can sing all they like and I am not able to hear their chorus. Blackbirds sing from every corner of our garden and from the top of every post - but I am oblivious to it all without my aid. I put it in and immediately I hear the blackbirds, the robin, the chaffinch, the collared doves - and the many sparrows in the holly (are sparrows really in short supply in some places? If so I really think they have all congregated in our garden).
I walk down the lane at lunch time with Tess and it is only when she turns round and looks worried that I realise a car is gently coasting along behind us waiting for us to move out of the way. Because even with a hearing aid some sounds evade my hearing system. Cyclists soar past, making me jump out of my skin and risking a tumble if Tess steps in front of them. I ask myself - when did cyclists stop having bells on their handlebars? When did motorists stop using their horns to make us aware of their approach?
Obviously I wish I were not deaf, but I have been like this since I was in my early thirties. When I taught in Comprehensive School I had to have absolute silence for calling the register (do they still do this today?) - I had no hearing aid in those days as my loss was not great enough. My form were marvellous and always got really cross with anyone who scraped their chair or rustled a paper. Wonder if it would still be the same today.
But there is an advantage. If there is something (or someone ) I don't wish to hear then I can switch off. An example - if I am on a train and reading a good book, or trying to do the Times Crossword and some one behind me or across the aisle is going on and on about something - then silence is golden. If I am in a cafe and there is that awful piped music in the background, it is rather nice to drink my coffee without hearing it. Just me and a friend sitting close together and my hearing is good enough to hold a conversation, and the music is blanked out.
It is like so many other things in life. We are stuck with them and we have to make the best of them. Music, which used to play a large part in my life, is quite a closed book now as my hearing loss is such that it is difficult differentiating between the notes and often the piece is quite a way into it before I have established the note and the key - then I can follow it but can't always hear all the different parts, so listening to music is no longer an important part of my life.
Just home from my over sixties exercise class - the first time I have been for five weeks - and by golly it tells! I am tired, stiff and ready for a sit down - but a woman's work is never done - dish washer to empty, dog's dinner to get, sandwiches to make for tea and then I can sit down and watch 'Pointless' with the farmer (an apt title in more ways than one)!