By J. D. Rider
I fell in love recently. Imagine that: the hypnotic spell of romance capturing the heart of a 37-year-old man with severe noxacusis, or hyperacusis with pain. It’s quite a story, and how it happened equally amazing. My girlfriend has noxacusis, too, and I feel blessed to have this opportunity—to tell our story and conjure hope for those in similar shoes. In this lovely blog, I’ll be sharing how we met and how we sparked our newfound romance, and how the impossible suddenly became possible: love prevailing, even in the face of severe noxacusis.
Falling in love is transcendental, greater than the molecules which bind this very cosmos. It enters our domain, seizes our control, and captures our subduing hearts with bliss and true enlightenment. We know we’re under Cupid’s spell. We know we’re seeing stars. We know we’re full of adoration, tasting in the glory; that centerpiece of life itself, pure and so amazing. We’re seeing God’s ensuing mark in a dark and agile world, one that’s just as fleeting as it is scary. So when we find it—that love which defies everything—we know it’s something special. We all want companionship. We all want that intimacy which can only be described as otherworldly. It’s wired within our essence. But for those who never find it, love can be a strong illusion that makes them feel sad. And often, those disabled with hyperacusis face that very problem: finding love that’s compatible.
To say hyperacusis is life-limiting is often an understatement. It can be extremely limiting. A sufferer will face an uphill battle when searching for a partner who understands their plight. Think about it: how does love happen? First, we have to meet a person. Well, for people with hyperacusis, that can be an impossible feat right off the bat if they’re homebound. And if they’re not, it’s still difficult to find someone who can relate. The soundscape of this world is the great destroyer that bars them from normalcy. Striking up a conversation with someone in public would be difficult. And for romance, the most popular places where people meet are gyms, bars, churches, and grocery stores—places that are all loud. But there’s also online dating, or dating apps.
In this day and age, we have social media and the internet. A lot of groups exist to promote togetherness—for the sole purpose of companionship or fellowship; or to allow people with shared experiences to connect and support one another; or for romance. With that technology, I’ve met so many people who also have hyperacusis. I’m in Columbus, Ohio, the United States, but I talk to people from all over the world. I’ve forged enduring friendships that are truly special. And that’s how I met my girlfriend, too—Patricia, the hallmark of this story.
She’s a 32-year-old resident of southern California. With blonde hair, blue-green eyes, and a smile that lights up a room, she’s simply stunning. Initially, I heard about Patricia from my friend, Travis, who I’d met through a hyperacusis support group. He mentioned her one day. They’d met through the same group and struck up a friendship. She developed noxacusis—hyperacusis with pain—in 2014 and it eventually became severe, causing significant restrictions on her life. I’m in the same boat as her: severe noxacusis.
Well, I wanted to learn more about her story, so I searched the group’s history and came across an intriguing post—a passage shared by Patricia. Her friend, Rose, had written a beautiful piece about disabilities, capturing the struggles people face when they’re disabled, and how to accept them. It resonated with me, too, and I also thought it was super cool that Patricia was into literature, just like I am. So I sent her a message and friend request, and we started talking shortly thereafter. I’ll always remember the first day we made contact: December 21st, 2022.
We clicked immediately. We had so much in common that it was uncanny. We had just met, yet I felt like I had known her for ages. We continued to talk for 5 weeks and decided to get into a long-distance relationship on January 26th, 2023. I was so happy. We celebrated Valentine’s Day by sending each other gifts—she’s the most amazing giver—and we did the same thing for our 1-month anniversary and 2-month. Our plan to unite in person and live happily ever after is underway.
Our shared struggles with noxacusis allow us to understand each other in a profound way, making a relationship feasible despite our limitations. When we’re eventually together, face-to-face, our lifestyles will be completely compatible since we’re both forced to isolate from sound. But our love for one another goes far beyond that. Our beliefs and personalities align so perfectly, as if it’s kismet fortune—we’re meant to be and made for each other. She’s one to behold and be mesmerized over. She’s the most amazing woman I could ever ask for; a godsend.
Our story should give hyperacusis people hope. If they’re looking for love and feel it’s impossible, think again. Anything’s possible when love’s involved. For now, I’ll look forward to that special day when Patricia and I meet face-to-face, hand-in-hand. In that moment, I’ll stand there long and paralyzed as she approaches, my heart racing with strong anticipation; my mind melting with disbelief, as I realize—once again—just how blessed I truly am.
A bright, multi-colored gem will enter my domain. I’ll muse and ask the question, “How did fate arrange this?” I’ll think it must be providence; it must be Cupid’s way. I’ll greet her with a loving hug and long, endearing kiss, and destiny’s embrace will cradle us long into the night. But until then, she’ll comfort me from afar, much like the sun: always there, even though I can’t see her; always alive with unquenchable fire, never in remission. Her warmth will bide my days and nights until that fateful moment.