“Do you have mush in your mouth?”
“You can’t talk to me when you’re in a different room. It’s like being in a different state!”
These phrases pop up in our home where two grown-ass humans (hard to say if they are really adults) have hearing issues. This was the year of the “gotta do something.”
I was tested first. I have good hearing to a point then it drops faster than the Dow Jones after a tweet. It’s the high frequencies which are the problem but that is the first to go. Because most of my hearing is “normal,” hearing aids were optional. There should be some improvement but with high range improvement comes louder annoying noises from the lower frequencies.
The tech told me they are not like glasses. You don’t put them on and say “I can hear, I can hear” and jump around in a Snoopy dance. At least I wouldn’t. People with more severe loss might but that wasn’t me.
She referred to it as tweaking my hearing. I didn’t know what that meant so I entered a “trial period.” I can return them and be refunded if they didn’t suit my needs (or my version of what my needs are).
I was surprised that they weigh next to nothing. After a few hours, you can’t feel them in your ear. It’s easy to forget you have them except that all those annoying things (motors, engines, background noise) are louder. Much louder. I wouldn’t wear them to noisy restaurants, rock concerts or parties with political conversations. Poor hearing in older people may be nature’s way of lowering blood pressure.
This decision would be easier if I worked. I did a lot of public speaking and I couldn’t hear questions from the back. I would compensate by walking up aisles. (I also talked louder as if that would help!) If someone had an accent or truly mumbled (yes people do mumble), I would have a lot of trouble.
Life was easier if I said that I have hearing issues. People were kind (and they knew they could talk about me and I wouldn’t hear). I discovered universal “I can’t hear you” motions like cupping your ear. I learned how to bob my head up and down and act surprised periodically during a conversation I couldn’t hear and wasn’t interested enough to exert myself.
At this point I’m retired. I live with a husband who speaks in the frequencies I can hear (and I can fake not hearing when needed) and fairly quiet cats. I can hear birds chirping, squirrels chattering and fish farting. OK, I lied about the fish. If I’m not going to wear them to restaurants, rock concerts or parties, where would I wear them?
To be continued…