When I was thirteen, I failed my hearing test. I had faced problems with my ears before—recurrent ear infections led to a childhood ear surgery, as well as some reduced hearing ability. But this time, something was different. Unbeknownst to me, what had started as a small hole in my right eardrum had become an expanding perforation that, by the time it was caught, was the size of my eardrum itself. It would end up taking two surgeries and about a year to reconstruct my eardrum, leaving me nearly half deaf in the meantime. The reconstruction was successful (though I am still hard of hearing), but this experience transformed the way I view the world.