Monday, April 23, 2018

My New Hears

Choose your own opening:

Opening 1
My wife was an audiologist part of her career.  Her stories were about
how hard it was for people to adjust to hearing aids.  Problems with background
noise and lots of other issues.  I learned that putting on hearing aids doesn't
magically improve your hearing the way glasses immediately improve your seeing.

Opening 2
Glasses aren't called Seeing Aids, so why don't we have a word for hearing aids that isn't so clunky and off-putting?  

Opening 3
As I grow older, the people around me mumble more and more.  Some people speak clear as a bell.  Others sound a little fuzzy.  I can catch most of what they're saying, but key words stay sounds without meaning.   

The Story

So I went to Costco to have my hearing tested.  Then the technician,  The higher frequencies weren't within normal range.  Aaron programmed a hearing aid, showed me where the ignition was, and let me take them for a ride around the warehouse.  Despite my expectations of annoying noises and difficulty pulling out the things I needed to hear, it was, in fact, like putting on glasses.  All the gauze that seemed to muffle some people's voices disappeared, and those high tones needed to interpret certain words or certain voices came through loud and clear.  (Not too loud, just loud enough.)  The technology is much better than it was.  The aids are programmed to boost the frequencies my ears have trouble with, they dampen the background sounds, adjust to different backgrounds, and they even boost soft voices.  We shopped and went back to the hearing center where he started taking the aids out.  I protested.  I can't keep them?  No, these are ours, yours should be here in two or three days.  I was really disappointed.  But they came soon and now it's been a little more than a week.

So, now I'm looking for a good name for these little guys who ride behind my earlobes, hooked into my ear canals by little clear tubes.  I narrowed it down to 'ears' and 'hears' and after a tiny sample sized opinion survey, I've decided to call them my 'hears.'  [I'm still open to better suggestions.]

And today I went to the doctor for a slightly longer ago than annual check up.  No serious issues and all the lab results came out in the normal range. (I didn't plan it, but I kind of like having 'out in' in a sentence.)  He did mention that lots of men won't get hearing aids.  I understand not wanting to display one's infirmities to the world.  But I figure every time I say, "Pardon?" or "What was that?" or "I didn't catch that" I'm doing that anyway.  And I can hear everything now.  Particularly noticeable is the alarm on my watch, which is in a high frequency.  I could hear it faintly under good conditions, but if it's covered by a sleeve or there's a lot of background noise, they only way I knew it was going off was when people told me it was.  Now it's really loud!  So are paper and plastic sounds.

The three rules I was given was NO swimming, showering, or sleeping with the hears in.

 I used to say that I didn't need hears because what I heard was much more interesting than what people actually said.  This picture is like that.  And it gives you a sense of what high frequency words and voices sounded like before I got my hears.  You get a lot of the info, but it's fuzzy.

Oh yes, one more cute feature - there's a red mark on the hears for the right ear and a blue one for the left.


  1. Good luck with the new devices. I got one six years ago and usually have some adjusting done each yearly check up. My HA was top of the line when I got it and is really good at catching every background noise ever invented. Human speech, not so much.

    I relied on one ear most of my life and the auditory nerve is getting bad. I am not afraid of being deaf. I would rather lose hearing than sight.

  2. Thanks, Mike. It seems the technology has advanced or we have different kinds of hearing losses, as I'm getting the voices amped that I need and the background isn't a problem.
    I've thought about the deaf v blind dilemma. We've had a good deaf friend and a good blind friend. The deaf friend can drive and see things which make getting around much easier, but the blind friend has much better communication with other people. New technologies probably lesson each of those issues. But seeing is much more valued by our culture. I've talked to our blind friend about what a city designed for blind folks might look like.


Comments will be reviewed, not for content (except ads), but for style. Comments with personal insults, rambling tirades, and significant repetition will be deleted. Ads disguised as comments, unless closely related to the post and of value to readers (my call) will be deleted. Click here to learn to put links in your comment.