Something you may or may not know – I have hearing loss.
As always with me, no one is sure why, and I’m still getting it investigated. I first noticed it late last year when everything else kicked off, and it seems to be accompanied by tinnitus, fluctuating sound independent of the hearing loss, vertigo and balance issues. Whilst I don’t have a good gauge of whether or not the hearing loss has gotten worse, it’s far enough from my ‘norm’ that to effects me daily. Whilst it’s predominantly my lower tones, a lot of things can make it even worse like ambient noise, muffled voices, low voices, multiple people talking at once, and conversely high pitched tones. If there’s live music I have to wear earplugs, and if I’m not expecting the word you’re about to say, there’s no chance I’m going to understand you. So this is my way of saying if I ever ignore you, I’m sorry!
Hearing loss is a whole new world for me. Before last year I’d say my hearing was pretty good. Due to hypervigilance, and paranoia (good old PTSD) I became more ‘attuned’ to sound, but now I can’t rely on my own ears. I have to rely on my partner.
Whilst I’ve come to accept this in many areas of my life, there’s one area where it all becomes a little tricky … the bedroom.
Let’s Get it On
Experiencing hearing loss in the bedroom is a whole new experience for me. There have been a number of times where the mood is getting steamy, the restraints are in play, the gag is tight and buckled up … and then I say ‘what’ over, and over, and over again. It’s not the sexiest situation to be in – especially when you’re getting frustrated at the same time. Granted, being gagged doesn’t help things in the hearing department, but it’s a world away from what I’ve been used to. I used to be able to understand my partner’s muffled noises, but now they’re nothing. They are just muffled noises.
There have even been times recently I’ve gone along with various acts (until my partner realised I had no clue what he’d said) because I didn’t understand what was being said to me, that’s new. And scary. I’m in a committed relationship, with a partner that knows I’m not very good at getting people to repeat themselves. I don’t dare ponder over what would have happened to me if the same thing happened 5 or so years ago. It’s also yet again painfully eye-opening. It’s essentially the old adage ‘you don’t realise what you’ve got until it’s gone’.
A New Normal … Again
Like with many areas of our lives, we’ve had to adapt – the gags aren’t as tight nowadays so I can have him pop it in and out when I need him to verbally communicate. The cuffs we have can be undone and redone by my partner, just in case (also handy for my bad mobility). I’ve taken to pointing to my ear when I completely miss something so I don’t break the mood – particularly useful when my TMD makes itself known. If he’s blindfolded and says something I don’t understand, I double tap him – the place doesn’t matter too much, We’ve also sworn off erotic whispers … it becomes far less erotic when it’s said five times on the trot, and you’ve still no clue what you’re supposed to be doing with your panties. On, off, in your mouth, up the chimney … the possibilities are endless.
Our last new ‘adaptation’, music. Popping on a playlist we both know distracts me from my tinnitus, and helps to relax us both when we get too in our head. We’re learning as we go for now, and when I find the time I’m going to start researching hearing loss in the bedroom more.
Whilst disability is universal, it’s also incredibly personal. We cannot truly know what someone else has experienced – even if we have the same chronic illness or disability as them. I am a hodgepodge of confusing symptoms at the moment. My symptoms range from hearing loss, burning pain, general pain, fatigue, balance issues, sight issues, and more. I know a lot about my issues, and whilst they are creeping into ‘new’ areas for me – hearing, and vision, they’re not new to many, and vice versa. Figuring out how to deal with all of those whilst still being sexual is also new to me. I am constantly learning how to deal with my body on a day to day basis in both domestic, and sexual situations. Unfortunately, they don’t teach you this stuff in school.
I know I don’t get into specifics about my health most of the time, and to some, it might seem like my body is ‘too much‘ – like it can’t possibly have that many things going on at once. And, you know I think that too! It baffles me that the human body can do this much at any one time. I used to think it as a kid, and still do now. However, my body gives me a pretty good reminder day, after day, after day.
Hearing loss might be yet another new thing I have to deal with, but I’ll be dammed if hearing loss in the bedroom is going to interfere with my sex life after I’ve just got my sex drive back.