Yes, this week I started wearing "hearing instruments," as the manufacturer's user's guide calls hearing aids. An audiologist at the UNC Hearing and Communication Center fitted me with them on Monday afternoon, and I wore them continuously for about six hours, until I removed them, carefully wiped off any earwax from the receivers (I didn't see any), and parked them for the night to recharge their batteries and dry them out.
I say! I liked them immediately. They weren't uncomfortable, and I reveled in the high sounds I had been missing much of – papers being shuffled, the rubbing of fingers, brushing against a sleeve or a pantleg– all of which had been essentially silent to me for...who knows how long?
Monday evening I eagerly emailed a few expectant people about my new hearing aids to tell them that I enjoyed the better hearing of things like rustling leaves, birdsong, rubbing hand cream onto my hands and nails, Siegfried's nails clicking on the floor as he walks, my own bare feet walking, a banana skin peeling off, the click of an ink pen, differences in page crackle between thicker and thinner sheets of paper, the swishy sibilants of the stove's electronic ignitions, rubbing a dish towel over plastic bowl covers and stainless steel utensils – knives and forks and spoons squeak like birds chirping!
The crazy test. I told them that as soon as I got home my wife tested me on "Tracy and Mike," which I had recently heard as "crazy Mike," after I had been introduced to a man named Mike and told that his wife was away (her name was Tracy, but the name hadn't registered). When I was told something about "Tracy and Mike" a few minutes later, I asked why Mike was being described as "crazy"; I said he had seemed fine to me.
I'm pretty sure that if I'd had my new aids for that conversation, there'd have been no question about Mike's sanity. At any rate, with the new aids, I passed my wife's crazy test on Monday.
And I don't just hear better. I think I see better too – better hearing seems to be making me attend to things more closely.
Even my dinner tasted better Monday night.
I can't believe my new "deaf aids" (as the Beatles called them, either in a song or in banter between songs in a recording session – I think it was the latter). Hip-hip-hooray for deaf aids!
I am still delighting in all the new rustles, clicks, clacks, snaps, crackles, pops, krinkles, krackles, swishes, and swooshes. The audiologist said that it would take a few days or a week or two to adjust fully, as my brain figures out what to do with all of the new sounds it's being sent. Probably my delight will wane as their novelty wears off, and my brain might decide to start ignoring some of them. But it's fun to notice these sounds when they're fresh and ear-opening (and note them in the "hearing aid journal" I'm keeping).
The whisper I used to hear, "What bold art,"
clarified following my late cold start
with digital hearing aids;
with them on my ears like braids,
the whisper says clearly now, "That old fart."
|Copyright © 2015 by Morris Dean|