The Sweet Harmony of--Electric Sanders?

by Tina Blue
June 6. 2003

          In "Talking Back to the Toilet" I explain that my hearing impairment often causes me to "hear" sounds that aren't there, or to wildly misinterpret those sounds that I actually do manage to hear.  In "A TRAIN Is Growling?!" I describe such an incident, when I thought a passing train was a dog growling nearby. 

          Here is another example of the sort of bizarre misinterpretations I sometimes come up with for sounds that I hear but don't quite recognize.

          On May 31 I was helping a friend with last-minute moving and cleaning tasks to get him out of his apartment by his 3:00 p.m. checkout time.  Since a new tenant would be moving in the very next day, the management company's own cleanup crew was standing by at 2:45, as we hurried to finish the cleaning necessary to make sure that he got back all of his deposit.

          We went into our final cleaning dash as the minutes ticked down to 3:00.

          Then, right at 3:00, as I finished mopping the kitchen floor, I heard a very loud sound coming from the back bedroom.  I didn't have my hearing aids in, but it was loud enough to annoy me.

          I thought, "Who is playing a stereo so loud in this apartment--and didn't we already move Michael's stereo out?"

          I asked Michael's father, who had been vacuuming the living room floor, "What is that sound? Is someone playing a stereo in the bedroom?"

          "No," Jim laughed.  "That's an electric sander.  The cleanup crew is sanding the walls so they can repaint them."

          An electric sander?  Boy, my hearing must be getting much worse if an electric sander sounds like a stereo to me!  Of course, with some of today's music, maybe there isn't that much difference after all.
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