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Learning to Appreciate Sound

“What’s been your favorite sound while traveling?”


A sweet new friend recently asked me this question.


Initially, she caught me off guard.


BUT, I was so excited to answer her!


We took the metro frequently during our trip to Paris this past February. (And no my favorite sound is not the trains pulling into the stop.)


During one of our stints in the underground, we passed a woman singing in a long hallway covered in subway tiles. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard a musician playing in the metro since my diagnosis, but something about her voice echoing off the tiles grabbed my attention.


It was mesmerizing.


At least it was to me anyway.


 Her voice carried throughout the entire station. For the first time in a very long time, I felt genuinely connected to music.


Ever since I lost my hearing in my left ear, I’ve become very sensitive to sounds. Bass noises are my worst enemy, and loud music tends to aggravate the ringing in my ears for hours afterward. I often wear special earplugs, even during church, to help protect my hearing and soften sounds.


I’m so grateful to have earplugs, but it creates the feeling of being on the outside of music—almost as if I’m listening from behind a door. Not fully immersed in the surround sound experience.


 That day in the subway though, it felt magical.


And it didn’t bother my ears one bit.




I could have sat there all-day and listened to that woman’s voice—if it weren’t for the fact that we were in Paris and still had quite a lot to see.


Since that day I can’t help but smile every time we pass a musician playing in the metro.


Before that moment, I never paid much attention to them, and I’m assuming most of you don’t either. It was always nice to have a little music while I quickly passed through the tiled halls, but it wasn’t something I appreciated.


I’m not going to say that I like having hearing loss.


I’m not going to say that I’m looking forward to the day when I’m entirely deaf.


But, I will say that I like how much the threat of hearing loss has changed me.


Little sounds like birds chirping outside, a child laughing, and even an ambulance passing by never meant much to me before.


Now though, every single sound is a gift.


(Even the not-so-great ones.)


I’ve learned to listen with complete gratitude for my ability to still hear those sounds and try to memorize how they make me feel in hopes of being able to hold on that as my hearing declines.


It’s funny how we often need to face the threat of losing something to learn to appreciate it.


Especially when it’s something we usually take for granted—like our ability to hear.


So, I hope this post encourages you to take in each sound you hear, every sight you see and everything it makes you feel.


Since my husband and I live in Florida, where metros aren’t available, I’m thankful for all of the underground music listening opportunities I’m getting to experience while traveling this year.


And to all of the subway musicians: thank you.


Thank you for creating such magical moments in such a mundane setting. You’ve given me the chance to feel music again (while I still can), and for that, I am forever grateful.


What are some of your favorite sounds while traveling? For those who have already lost your hearing from NF2, what are some of the sounds you miss the most? Comment below or email me directly—I’d love to hear from you!


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