I’ve got a hearing-aid appointment today as one of mine fell off whilst skiing. Okay, I might at some point have found myself horizontal – doesn’t happen often! First time away independently, I had to do up my own boots, so falling over just didn’t occur to me. I could say:
“It is so rare 😉 that I was surprised and my hat fell off.”
But why were people looking at me? Was it because my hat had been shaken by Colm, the snowboarder who kindly picked me up and in my daze I put it on inside out? Or more likely, was it because I was wearing a hat and not a helmet?
The sober thought is that if I had banged my head, tinnitus would have been the least of my worries. Skull trauma as the medical profession call it it, is a trigger for tinnitus.
One of the other snowboarders in the party related a ‘first headbang of the week’ and he has also been on the snow for many years. He has a helmet and asked me what I was doing not wearing one.
“I’m only here for the weekend.”
Daft, isn’t it? It takes a second to catch an edge, whether it’s a ski or a snowboard. It was his way of telling me to get on with it, go buy a helmet. He’s right; I know that so I will wear one. Head bangs can trigger tinnitus; they can also kill. It never used to be law to wear a helmet while skiing and then it came in for the under 18 group in Canada and Europe. Snowboarders made them cool 😉 . (They’ll hate that.) Wind blowing through your hair, the feel of speed through the wind on your face. Luke, the snowboarder looked at me.
“You still get all that.” He said abruptly “and it keeps your ears warm.”
“Excuse me?” A snowboarder, tough, talking about comfort?
“Yep, warm and I can hear better. It must be something to do with the hollowness of the metal helmet around my head.”
I think he’s right. It’s another harder skull around the existing one. Keeps your ears warm so they function better? I’m there.
Why have I waited so long? Because I hadn’t met him and I hadn’t had that explanation . And if I hadn’t gone on a skiing holiday where we were 5 snowboarders and 2 skiers, I would never have found out. I have never been intimidated by snowboarders as I believe in free spirits, but I didn’t know much about them. Stories like these add to pictures in your head about conditions like tinnitus and how to avoid them, if possible.
I have to add that they were ‘gentlemen snowboarders’ as one skier said to me on a chairlift. Actually they were experts. They made it look easy as they shot straight down the hill and made skiers look slow. I never thought to see that! Of course I only ever saw them in action once, when two of us were meeting them and they glided towards us. At the top of the slope, I was looking for my own line down the slope and when I looked for them, they had vanished. In case you’re thinking about it, it’s harder than it looks. Thanks to them; I had a great time!
- Despite numbers, Burton still bullish on boarding (journaltimes.com)
- Great Bavarian Get-Away: Seefeld, Austria (boahbayern.wordpress.com)
- Well: Helmets for Ski and Snowboard Safety (well.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Snowboarding craze cools as new designs make skiing easier (latimes.com)
- Head injuries on the slopes on the rise, despite more helmets (azfamily.com)