Going deaf and blind in a matter of minutes
After the exoskeleton was fixed to my frame, its five hydraulic knobs glowing an electric, docile blue, I put on the helmet. This only made me more unbalanced, with its connected goggles and headphones adding about five to seven pounds. At this point, I was a cyborg, and it was showtime. I stepped onto the blue-lit stage, bearing the weight of the full get-up, and was run through the motions to test out my newfound (dis)abilities in front of the gathered crowd of Genworth/Applied Minds staff.
First, came the hearing loss. I have myriad memories of my Grandmother, who passed away at a fiesty 98, struggling with her hearing for the final years of her life. As I experienced sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing of the ears) in my high-powered headphones, I finally understood how difficult it was for people with subpar hearing to go about their daily routine. The voices were barely audible, and the ringing in my eardrums made me feel like I just left a Who concert, circa ‘75. It was unbearable, to be honest. I felt pain, for every time I was frustrated by my Grandma asking me to repeat something, or choosing not to join in conversations.