Two years ago my sister, staying for the weekend, started apologising profusely over breakfast for the noise made by her young family.
Apparently her two-year-old had screamed the house down in the night. But no apology was needed. I’m so deaf without hearing aids that wild herds of tap-dancing elephants wouldn’t wake me.
Undisturbed sleep is a benefit of deafness. Screaming child? You’ll have to do better than that to rouse me. My sister was shocked. She asked what would happen if there were a fire alarm in the night? I answered, honestly, that I’d sleep straight through it.
She said I should get a hearing dog. I laughed. Hearing dog? Only deaf people needed them. She raised an eyebrow.
I have only 20 per cent of normal hearing. Yet admitting having this disability is something I have struggled with; hence my reaction to her suggestion.
Initially, the more I thought about a hearing dog, the more I worried: am I deaf enough to warrant one? It turns out I am. And over the past three months my life has undergone a seismic change all thanks to a ridiculously cute, but highly-trained, cocker spaniel named Yorick.
Picture by James Clarke. www.jamesclarke.me