Hearing Aids

In three months I’ll be seventy years old and I’ve just spent my first week with a new-fangled set of iPhone adjustable hearing aids. I didn’t need them. I could hear perfectly fine as long as you talked loud enough, and repeated yourself a time or two, and was looking at me when you talked. Everybody else complained though. “I get tired of repeating myself!” “The TV (or radio) is too loud!” “Didn’t you hear what I told you?”

So for their sakes, I drove down to Poplar Bluff to the Veteran’s Administration and had my hearing checked. Lo and behold, I had a hearing loss! I’d been this way most of my adult life so what I could hear without the hearing aids was perfectly natural to me. I didn’t realize all the little noises everyone else was hearing that I was missing out on and to be perfectly honest, I’m hearing a lot now that I don’t feel necessary for me to hear. Zippers zipping, air conditioners blowing, gravel scrunching under shoes. Of course, I’m a lot harder to sneak up on now and that’s very important to an old man.

The nice part about these hearing aids is they’re adjustable for different situations and you can put those locations in a memory and when you go there, push a button for that location and they adjust automatically for that situation. Handy.

I’ve been used to wearing a bluetooth headset for my cellular phones so wearing two bluetooth hearing aids wasn’t strange for me. After a couple of minutes, I was no longer aware they were there and the little things are so designed that when others first see me wearing them, they don’t notice. They’re not invisible but the small hearing aid unit fits behind the upper portion of my ear flap and a clear tube runs down to the cone that fits inside my ear so they are nearly invisible.

I can talk on my iPhone using the hearing aids for a speaker but when I go outside or into a noisy area, they are not nearly as good as the Plantronic Pro bluetooth I’ve been using. My hearing loss is more significant in my left ear and I have discovered that when I go out I can use only the left ear hearing aid and the Plantronic in my right ear and I can have the best of both worlds. Still experimenting though. It would be nice to be able to do everything with only the hearing aids.

Yesterday morning, I met six other retired guys for our weekly breakfast get-together and was pleasantly surprised to find that I could easily understand what was being said in three different conversations going at one time, and not once during the two hours I was there did I have to ask anyone to repeat themselves. I’m sure they appreciated it.

Earlier this week, my hearing aids got their first measurable test. I usually watch the TV in the living room with the volume scale set at 46-48. This week I had it on 28 and my wife, who usually complains about the volume, leaned over to me and oh so sweetly asked me, “Honey, could you please turn the TV up?” I turned to her, gave her the look she used to give me, smiled and said, “Sure, Baby. Whatever you want.”

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