When you can't hear what people are saying it's scary.
My right ear rings all the time from a scuba diving incident, going too deep when I had a head cold.
Not seeing well is different than not hearing well.
Bob used to put the menu on the floor, literally, when he had forgotten his glasses, so that he could read the print. I lost my near vision by the time I was 45. I get frantic now when I cannot find my glasses - I feel helpless, powerless, and vulnerable. Very vulnerable. When you cannot see, people can read for you. They can tell you what it says, the newspaper, the menu, the text on your phone.
When you can't hear?
They don't have the time, the patience to figure out how to communicate. They wave their hands around, they make gestures, they make faces.
But everyone gestures differently. Their hands go this way, their eyes, that. You are trying to follow what their motions are meant to communicate.
Bob wasn't deaf. He would reach up and turn down the volume on his hearing aids when Mom got too loud, too angry. At first it was an unconscious gesture, an afterthought almost. After a while, it was intentional, more than passive-aggressive. It was a way of fighting back against her violent emotions.
That's how I know he could still hear.
He could hear until the very end.
People's words are one thing - their gestures another. When people's eyes are communicating, there can be no mistake. Impatience. Frustration. Recognition. Fear.
Language always comes down to the eyes. Bob could hear violence.
Perhaps Bob could even smell it.