The Absence of Sound

When I woke up this morning, I couldn’t hear. It is the strangest sensation.

I’ve been battling an ear infection for the past week. Excruciating pain at first, enough to force me to the doctor for pain meds and antibiotics when it didn’t clear up on its own after a couple of days. By yesterday, though, I was down to minor sniffles and not being able to hear out of my right ear. I still missed the Christmas dinner we had planned with friends, but I was hopeful that today I’d wake up and feel back to normal.

Instead, I awoke to a world of muffled silence, unable to hear out of my left ear, either.

It’s like watching a movie before the foley artists get ahold of it. All those subtle, quiet, ever-present sounds of our world — footsteps on carpet or in stockinged feet, the hum of the refrigerator across the room, rain hitting the sidewalk outside — are absent. Louder things, like dropping a book on the floor or the cat yowling for food, seem like they’re coming from far away.

I find myself fascinated, imagining this is what it’s like to be deaf, making mental notes in case I ever write a character who is.

And yet, at the same time, I know it’s not. This is different. I can hear some things, muffled though they are. So it’s like the world has gone silent, not me. Like I’ve woken to a world that’s forgotten to make sound.

It’s the most fascinating sensation.

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13 Responses to The Absence of Sound

  1. Tammy says:

    Fascinating description!

    • Andi Newton says:

      Thank you! The doctor got me all fixed up this afternoon so I can hear again, but it was such a fascinating way to experience the world until then. Not something I’d want to do long term, mind you, but for a few hours it made me see the world in a whole new way.

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