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  1. Bentonic
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    Bentonic New Member

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    Intentional Deafening?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Bentonic, Jul 20, 2016.

    Recently, I've been toying with the idea of one of my characters losing their hearing permanently (not something to be done lightly, I know). I've thought of many different effects this could have on them psychologically, physically, and emotionally, but the cause has been more elusive. I don't really want it to be a random accident, as that feels somewhat anticlimactic for such a large change, so I've been thinking of ways an antagonist might forcibly deafen them.
    The problem is, I can't think of any ways to deafen someone other than constantly forcing them to listen to unbearably loud noise (which seems like it would take a long time for permanent total hearing loss), or physically destroying the eardrums with a long, thin object (which I'm not even sure is actually possible, considering the width of the ear canal).

    Anyone have any ideas for how this could work?
     
  2. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    Neurological alteration. Scan and map the portion of the brain used for the sense of hearing and re-purpose those synapses for something else. Disable the nerves connecting the ears to the brain and the sense won't redevelop. Of course, they might get some phantom sounds.
     
  3. Sifunkle
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    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    What sort of person is your antagonist?

    Certainly is possible to rupture the eardrum with a long, thing object, which is why it's often recommended that no-one put anything in their ear smaller than an elbow ;)

    It is possible to deafen someone by hitting them in the right way: slapping over the ear with a cupped hand - forces air in under pressure which can rupture the eardrum. They'd need to be pretty skilled/lucky to get it right though.

    Or there's always middle/inner ear infection (otitis media or interna). On top of that, many of the antibiotic drops commonly used to treat simple ear infection (otitis externa) are toxic to the middle or inner ears, which they can get into if the eardrum is ruptured. (Rupture doesn't necessarily mean 'obliterated'; could just be a small hole.) A competent doctor checks for eardrum ruptures with their otoscope prior to prescribing any potentially ototoxic eardrops.

    You might bear in mind that ears are for more than just hearing. They contain the vestibular apparatus, which helps with balance. Depending on how your character is deafened, s/he may also lose the coordination that balance grants.

    I'm interested in why the antagonist decides to deafen the protag. Seems like a fairly specific thing to do in the grand scheme of evil deeds...
     
  4. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    In Copland, Sylvester Stallone's character was deaf in one ear as the result of an infection when he was a teen, but then one of the baddies, who knew about the ear, fired a gun right next to his good ear. Not at him, but the report from the pistol going off inches from his head caused at least temporary deafness, and I'd believe it if they said it had ruptured his eardrum.
     
  5. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    This might be an easier question for us to think on if you gave us a little detail about the setting. Modern real world/ Sci-fi future? Fantasy with no real medical care?
     
  6. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    A lifetime's regime of lengths down the pool leads to the condition 'swimmer's ear.' Likewise a common shower can also be completely debilitating generally in the 45-75 age bracket - same condition again known as swimmer's ear, most sufferers are not actually even swimmers. If you withhold the old person's earplugs they can never wash their hair.

    And you are deaf for weeks by the way, PM if you require testimony.
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Untreated middle-ear infection.

    When I was a kid I was constantly getting ear infections. More than the norm. I was in and out of the hospital on the regular, had tubes put into my tympanums more than once, and getting my hearing tested very regularly is a clear memory from childhood that most kids don't have. The eardrum (tympanum) is so thin that it's translucent, and if an inner ear infection affects the structures past the eardrum, permanent hearing loss can be profound, but not usually complete since vibration can be passed through other means. This is why you sound different when you hear yourself talk as compared to when you hear a recording of yourself. When you're actually speaking, a good part of what you hear is being transmitted by the bones of the cranial skeleton. When you hear a recording of yourself, this component is missing and it makes your recorded voice sound strange to you.
     
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  8. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    And a bandage over one lens, brother?
     
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  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Nope. :bigcool: Never had any issues with my eyes other than getting fitted for spectacles in the 4th greade. Though correlation is not causation, I tend to think that the near-lifetime of wearing glasses protected me from the barrage of eye-bound projectiles that children are subject too. :whistle: :-D
     
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  10. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    :love: :love: @Wreybies

    I always imagined you, the woods, the railway line, looking for the dead body of some kid.
     

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