This morning while having my coffee on the porch ( the best ritual of the day) , I closed my eyes and just listened to all the sounds around me.
Usually it’s filled with the drone of car engines accelerating to make it up the hill in front of our house, one after another in the everyday parade of traffic heading to work.
Today it was a different sound, our road has been closed for repairs and the relative quiet was refreshing. Every bird in the neighborhood was in excellent voice, singing away…robins, cardinals, the screeching of a hawk, and the warnings of the nuthatches. I could hear a conversation between the chipmunks, no doubt planning an assault on the bird feeder.
Far in the distance I could hear an airplane heading into the skies. Down the road, the bark of a neighbor’s dog and someone just pulled into the gravel driveway next door.
All this from a few seconds of my eyes closed and focusing on what I can hear in my surroundings. This is a miracle, I thought, the fact that we can hear.
If you research how it all works, this miracle of hearing , this is basically what you get:
“Sound waves enter the ear canal and make the ear drum vibrate. This action moves the tiny chain of bones (ossicles – malleus, incus, stapes) in the middle ear. The last bone in this chain ‘knocks’ on the membrane window of the cochlea and makes the fluid in the cochlea move, fluid movement causes the hair cells to bend..blah blah blah.”
I remember this from anatomy classes in school, and it’s still a mystery. The average person hasn’t a clue how any of this really works, bones? Cochlear hairs? What?
Of course, none of this actually truly explain the incredible, complex, organic process and how it was created that allows us to simply HEAR although man has done a good job of coming close to re-creating it.. . But oh, how we take it for granted.
We wake up to the alarm clock, hear the news and traffic, listen to the radio on the way to work, a car horn alerts you not to step into the road, the ping of the elevator, walk thru the aisles at work to the “hellos” and “guess what happened after you left the meeting” voices, the tap tap of typing on the keypads, the ringtones, someone laughing across the room…this all just a part of the mundane and yet we fail to understand the importance of every audible cue .
How often do we respond with great emotion to the sound of our children’s voices or the recorded voice of a lost loved one?
Why is it that a few refrains of a song can transport us to another time and place?
Are we not trained to respond to sirens and alarms to save/warn us?
Don’t we anticipate something about to happen just by the creepy music in that scary movie we are watching from behind the covers?
We go about our daily lives never thinking about the miraculous order of things that takes a vibration into our heads through a small hole on either side and turns it into words, music, bird calls etc.
We forget when we schedule all those doctor appointments to check our sugar, blood, heart, eyes and teeth to make an appointment to check our hearing. It’s usually the last to be attended to , the red headed stranger of the senses so to speak. Our hearing isn’t attended to until we notice damage or loss.
Audiologist understand that sad fact, and they work hard everyday to help us retain and restore this precious gift.
Today, take a moment, close your eyes listen to the sounds around you. Music? Laughter? Traffic? TV in the background? Dog barking? Hum of machines?
Whatever it is, even if it’s the sound of the kids arguing over who got the bigger piece of cake, you are experiencing a great miracle, one of which many people haven’t experienced. You so are lucky to hear every sound around you.
Now, open those eyes and watch the miracle of hearing being restored to this young one as she listens to her mother’s voice for the first time. Grab the tissues first.
Take care of those ears, make the call to get your hearing checked, keep the miracle working.