You can hardly see them, these little things behind my ears. This week I got hearing aids. For years now I have been experiencing hearing loss and I kept asking others -mostly my wife- to repeat what they were saying to me as I couldn’t understand it straight away.
People have been trying to reach me in numerous ways over the last ten years, talking slowly, loud, slowly and loud, spelling it out, getting irritated with me or becoming angry with me because I could not confirm what was said.
Now you may be thinking, big deal, but for me this was becoming a serious problem, leaving me out of almost every discussion, group meeting and gathering and I was at a loss in church services and where ever there was a cacophony of noise and -without wanting to exaggerate it all- it left me isolated and alone even with a lot of people around me.
My first experience with the two little pieces was that of surprise and awe: Is this really the sound of me putting on my leather jacket? That little bird sitting on the trolley outside the super market, did it just whistle before it flew away, making a rustling noise with it’s wings? And why on earth can I hear clearly that conversation of those two girls standing ten yards away from me about their make up? Please, this is too much for me! I never had to hear all these things in the past!
But the truth is, I did, once. And then I lost it, slowly. Loss of hearing it’s called not for nowt. The hearing care professional warned me not to judge by first day experiences in this case and wait for a few days before deciding if hearing aids are the best solution to my hearing problems, even though that might sound strange he said.
Today was indeed another day and new to me. Do not put the devices in before you get dressed, the sound of a creaking shirt is tremendous to someone hearing it for the first time after decades. And when someone makes a wad of paper it’s overwhelmingly close to you even though she’s sitting at the other side of the room.
But throughout the day all these sounds became normal and my brains adapted to the devices quickly. Fire alarm this afternoon was sheer panic though, I just couldn’t open the app on my iPhone quickly enough to shut them down!
This evening I was listening to a French 60’s radio station and it was like normal until I got an itch in my right ear and I took the hearing aid out. And then I realised: I have been hearing things around me as if they are normal and now all of a sudden the radio sounds muffled and distant. This is the moment to decide I want them and boy, do I want these things. The radio has been turned down two notches and I stopped asking ‘What?”
Kids are happy, Missus is happy, I am happy.