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A Humbling Infection

For almost two weeks I have had some sort of eustacian tube/ear issue. Sound is muffled and the tinnitus is pretty bad.

Compounding the problem are masks, especially the N95 type. Masks muffle the speaker.

Over a week ago, I was in a court hearing. I don’t think I realized how bad my problem was until we started. The judge didn’t wear a mask so I could understand him okay. The court was fine with lawyers removing their masks when speaking. I did, but the first defense lawyer did not and the others followed suit. Honestly, I was not getting much, but I knew their arguments so I could respond appropriately. Nothing bad happened and the court ruled as we expected/hoped.

Later that week and again last night, I hosted a church related book discussion group. Clearly, some of the participants wanted to be masked so all of us wore them. That’s just the reality of our time and it’s not a big deal. However, between the masks and my own hearing issues, it was hard work to engage effectively. I didn’t understand anything a couple of the people said. Talking intelligently about Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisted was a challenge to put it mildly. I just hope I didn’t embarrass myself too much.

My condition is likely temporary - I certainly hope so at least - but regardless, this period has given me a real life insight into the plight of hearing impaired individuals. It’s kind of hellish, actually.

I shudder to think of the times I have found myself irritated with someone who didn’t seem to be listening. One can quickly assume they are just not paying attention. That might or might not be the case.

As is true with so many aspects of life, we might understand something intellectually. Living it is another matter entirely.

I can’t help but think of our clients with hearing issues. There have been more than a few. I just hope I have been empathetic enough, but I have my doubts.

The past couple of weeks have been humbling. I suppose that’s good for me.


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