On Being Deaf in One Ear and Owning a Parrot
I’ve recently discovered a new benefit to being deaf in one ear. Until now I’d only been aware of one advantage – being able to sleep in noisy environments. All you have to do is turn onto your ‘good side’ and the pillow muffles most of the sounds making it much easier to drop off. Very handy.
But that single benefit doesn’t really make up for the inconvenience of being deaf in one ear. When someone is on your wrong side and strikes up a conversation, it can cause all sort of difficulties. It’s almost impossible to have a ‘wrong-sided’ conversation with someone on the street due to the noise of the traffic in the background. When someone is talking to you like that, all you hear are the vowels and the odd consonant, so that sounds like – aw oo ear ar ee owls an ee od onsonan. You can understand how this is a hindrance to smooth conversation. And there are those times when someone starts a wrong-sided conversation with you at the office when you’re engrossed in your work. You eventually pick up on the person’s presence when they finally give up repeating your name and tap the desk with a pen. Oh and as well as not being able to hear there’s that incessant hissy tinnitus. (If you don’t have tinnitus and are wondering what it sounds like, get someone to whisper loudly in your ear ‘incessant hissy tinnitus’ – it sounds just like that.)
But enough of the drawbacks, what is this new benefit I’ve found? Well it’s a good one, but if you’re a half-deafy it’ll only benefit you if you’re in the fortunate (?) position of owning a parrot. Parrots can be loud, really loud. And parrots like to sit on your shoulder, right next to your ear. How brilliant then is it that your parrot can perch happily on your ‘deaf shoulder’ and if he screeches (did I say if, I mean when), the sound will literally fall on a deaf ear. You can still hear it of course, but by the time the sound gets around to the good ear, it’s not so harsh. Perfect.
Being deaf in one ear may have some drawbacks, but when a parrot is sitting on your shoulder screeching right next to your ear, take it from me, you wouldn’t want it any other way.