Wednesday, January 28, 2009

5 Reasons for Hearing Loss (May 2007)

In the beginning my children were quiet and relatively well-behaved. Yes, all five of them were relatively QUIET. Since two of them have arrived at the "tweens" stage with a third one close on their heels, the noise level in my life has increased by at least 40 decibels. If it isn't the 12-yr old boy erupting into an explosive temper tantrum after being told NO to computer priveleges until all homework and studies are complete, then it's the 11-yr old having an autistic meltdown because the 9-yr old is hell-bent on bullying her into handing over the remote control. The "DestructoTwins," ages 8 and nearly 7, have only two volumes ever: LOUD and LOUDER. (Well, three if you count ASLEEP.)
When I was still working outside the home, in an environment prone to loud noise, I was required to take a hearing test by my employer every few years. Certainly, it was only to document my hearing loss in case I ever got litigious. The nurse who administered the test noted that while my noise levels at work had gotten lower since I'd changed offices, my hearing loss had increased. When I explained that my hearing loss was probably due to the 5 screaming kids at home, ages 1-6 at the time, she laughed.
I find very little funny about a little boy who answers the phone with a lion's roar instead of hello like a normal person. Parents of autistic children can attest to "loud" being a part of the child's daily routine. While our daughter tends to have her "freak out shriek fest" when she is really tired or upset, her high-pitched screams are actually more welcome than Ismail's rhythm-less attempts at non-rhyming gangster rap at the top of his lungs. This is a relatively new stage for him. It follows his last stage of LOUD closely, when he taught himself to whistle with two fingers jammed into his mouth. His practice sessions usually coincided with my franctic attempts to get dinner ready by sunset during Ramadan. ((Ramadan is the month of fasting for muslims, where we do not eat, drink, smoke or have sexual relations from just before sunrise until sunset.)) Now when someone who normally totes a coffee in each hand for several hours a day suddenly gives up caffeine cold turkey for a 14 hour fast daily for 30 days, headaches can be pretty wicked. Throw a wolf-whistling, gangsta-rap wannabe with NO rhythm into the mix and you are talking HATEFUL pain. I have been known to break my fasts by chewing through the childproof cap on the extra-strength tylenol bottle.
I don't know that they'll ever learn the meaning of the "inside voice" but I'm sure that by the time they do the damage will have already been done. I'll be the hearing impaired lunatic screaming in the movie theater, "WHY'S HE DOING THAT? WHAT DID SHE SAY TO HIM???" And if I ever go to a quiet restaurant with my husband for a romantic dinner (shu-uh, like THAT will happen in the next 10 years!) they'll be forced to ask me to leave because my shouting, "Huh???? WHAT?? The special is WHAT??" will ruin the mood for everyone else in the restaurant. But who cares, really? They probably won't end up having five really loud children and may still be able to hear when they reach 40!

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