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Noises we hate to hear

Being deaf doesn't necessarily mean we hear nothing and getting hearing back again doesn't always mean we like every sound we hear. I asked a few people what sounds they don't like!

Going deaf doesn't mean living in silence. More than 80% of people who lose their hearing suffer from tinnitus. These noises we definitely don't like to hear.

Tinnitus takes the form of abstract noises created by our hearing system. These are random and have no bearing on the sounds which are around us. For me tinnitus was different sometimes to other times and different between each ear. It was my constant companion. High pitched screeches, clicks, hums, bells. Often it sounded like real life sounds although I wasn't actually hearing them - ambulances, cows mooing, water dripping. It was very loud and could be heard over and above anything else I was trying to listen to. I sometimes used to say that if only the tinnitus would go away I would be able to hear. (When I was researching people who would be deliberately deaf it came to my mind about tinnitus and wondered how disappointed they'd be when they found at that being deaf doesn't necessarily bring silence.)

Once I had my first cochlear implant the tinnitus in that ear went away whenever I had the processor on but continued to screech in my other ear. Now that I have two implants, I, for the first time since I was 18, can actually appreciate silence. But you know just because I can hear and really appreciate hearing doesn't mean I like every sound.

One sound I really can't stand is the scrapping of a plastic and foil pill tray being inserted back into the box. (With my husband's recent kidney transplant we have a lot of pill boxes in our house :-). The scrape as it goes into the box puts my teeth on edge just like running my finger nails down a chalkboard.

I asked others who have had an implant whether there were any sounds they don't like. Most common was background noise such as in a shopping mall or restaurant. "Our processors, while incredibly sophisticated, cannot filter out background noise as well as a perfectly working human ear," said Joh.

A frequent response was some of the birds such as the crows with their raucous, squabbling and cawing. Other birds with their high pitched tweets were also mentioned. Another person said their number one hate was the constant meowing of the cat. "Without a doubt, seriously the biggest most aggravating'est, totally grating'est noise goes to the bl***y cat!! It does not stop. meow...meow...meow...MEOW...Meow...meeeoooowwww...MEOW!!!! My lovely wife and kids are currently overseas, and I have been charged with looking after the animals in their absence. Now don't take me the wrong way, I love the cat. I am currently training it to sit on the second floor balcony balustrade without falling off. I must be a good trainer, as so far it hasn't.ˇ¨ Pete Gunness http://deafinitely.wordpress.com/

Pete continued with a list of noises he hates: the ping of E-Tags as you're charged for using the road system (in Sydney). He says the noise is unnecessary and sounds the same as the warning signal from his processor when the batteries are fading. He also doesn't like the sound of people who talk loud as well as the heavy thumping of a hotted up car with big shinny mufflers.
"Our neighbourhood dogs set up howling whenever an ambulance or police siren is heard in our district. That noise is definitely something I could live without," another person told me.

"Phones," said a friend, "especially those that have two handsets giving a dual ring different to each other. Most retail stores I go into seem to have these and I find the noise particularly grating. Sometimes they ring for ages too because staff are serving customers."

Jill said "when my processor is due for a mapping I can get an imbalance in sound. It's at these times I can't bear the sound of a spoon stirring coffee in a quality china mug. The sound is so sharp and shrill and can be quite painful.'

You know I bet our hated sounds are also disliked by many of those who have never lost their hearing. While we are amazed, astounding and in wonderment for our returned hearing and we wouldnˇ¦t change a thing - there are simply some noises we just wish weren't there.

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