I went deaf in the middle of the last season of American Idol. It started in January, business as usual…the whole family gets a big kick out of auditions, and then the kids usually wander off as the season continues, unless they have a real favorite they’re rooting for.
I usually can’t tell if someone is really a good singer or not. Even before I lost all my hearing, I could never tell if someone was singing in tune…I don’t really even know what “in tune” means, to be honest! I couldn’t tell what different notes were supposed to sound like, so if someone hits the wrong note or sings in the wrong key, it just doesn’t register with me. I really counted on the kids to tell me if someone was doing a fabulous or terrible job with a song. Dave has the same trouble I do, as far as telling if someone’s singing the right notes, so he’s no help. I’d watch the judges’ reactions too, although there are always a few auditions where I think people sound fine and the judges are cringing in horror. There are also people who make me cringe and the judges rave about them.
So anyway, the season was going along nicely and I was having fun seeing how people would change up songs I recognized (David Cook did a lot of this, apparently, although I missed a lot of his stuff at the end) and I had my favorites. It was a little hard to hear the singing over the loud music but I got the gist of it. Then, mid-April, I go completely deaf. We watch TV with captions but it wasn’t until I watched my first American Idol episode in total deafness that it really hit me…captions just really don’t take the place of being able to hear, even just to hear at a minimal level like I used to. Since we were already invested in the season and wanted to see who won, it wasn’t an option to stop watching. But I’ll confess, it was pretty boring for me. The season lasted until sometime in May, and I was pretty relieved to see it end. All I could really do was watch and see how people danced, moved or emoted during their songs. Since dancing isn’t really the highlight of American Idol, it was really snooze-inducing!
One good thing to come out not being able to hear half of American Idol’s last season was the fact that they were advertising “So You Think You Can Dance”, which was going to start after American Idol ended. We’d never watched that show before (the only other reality show we really watch is Survivor) but I told Dave that if he could stand it, I might like to watch that show. It would be more fun, visually, to watch. So we decided to give it a try and absolutely loved it! That show doesn’t come back for a while, but when it does, it will be the first time I’ve ever heard any of the judges’ voices, or the announcer’s voice. I watched that whole season in silence. It was a little goofy watching people dancing around and not hearing the music but I would make up music in my head and try to match it to their movements.
So anyway…American Idol is back! And I can hear it again! I’m no better off than I was when I had my hearing aids, as far as being able to tell if someone is singing well. I kind of wondered, when I first got my cochlear implants, if I might eventually be able to finally recognize various notes or if someone is singing in tune or even be able to pick out various instruments in a song. So far that’s not possible, but I’m not upset about it. I’m still early on in my CI journey – it’s not even been 6 months yet! – and it’s not like I had those talents before and want to get them back.
It’s just been strange to realize that the last time I saw this show, I was watching in silence. It still startles me, going from silence to sound every day. I get so used to hearing things, and then I’ll spend some time with my CIs off and kind of get lost in the silence. It’s different now than when I first went deaf, because back then I had the constant, mind-jarring tinnitus. I really never had silence. Now things are pretty much silent, because the tinnitus is such a low hum that it doesn’t even register with me. It’s weird that I can’t even really remember some of the sounds I used to hear constantly in my head, all day, every day.
Bring on the bad singers! It should make them happy that at least a couple of people are out there, watching and listening, and thinking they don’t sound that bad at all.