Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Bionic Woman

I have a headache from the sound of the keys clacking.

I had to flee the sound of the carts clicking over the concrete outside Wally-World this morning.

I am becoming my father....... and I really need to become my mother. I've been saying that I should take lessons from G'ma on aging with grace; perhaps this is one of them. I am wearing bi-lateral hearing aids.

From the front and the side they are basically invisible.  I'm not concerned about a change in my appearance. From the back, I think they blend into my hair quite nicely. They have a handy dandy silver travel case, and the UofA Audiology Clinic set me up with a few weeks of extra 312 size batteries.

Apparently, batteries have numbers as well as letters. Who knew?

Did I mention that my camera makes all kinds of interesting clicks and whirrs and beeps that I noticed for the first time just now when I took that picture of my ear? Let me be quick to reassure you: there are some definite upsides to these things.

There are flutes in the opening music to whatever TBG has on everyday at 5:30. Who knew? There's another note in the early morning bird songs, a higher, sweeter tone than I ever remember hearing here before. TBG says that my voice is softer and more modulated.

I was fine for conversation before I added gadgetry to my wardrobe. Normal adult voices were well within the excellent range on my audiometric exams, and as long as I was paying attention I had no problems. No one knew that I was slightly impaired. But last night I went into the bathroom, down the hall and through the bedroom from the living room, and I could hear the words on the tv back where TBG was still lounging on Douglas. That was a new experience for me.

Are you wondering about the volume on the television? I asked TBG to set it at the lowest possible level for his own personal comfort. I was fine, with the devices inserted or with them resting for a viewing in the palm of my hand, as long as I was in the same room. This distance hearing thing was quite interesting and brand new.

This afternoon  Messers 6 and 8 sat in the back of my car, chattering away as we drive to buy new backpacks for school.  I could hear every single word.  They sat at a high table, away from Elizabeth and me, yet I heard every word they said.  There were kids playing inside the gerbil maze at Mickie D's; I couldn't see them but I could hear their laughter.  I began to fall in love with these things right about then.

But I wonder, still.  Can I teach this old dog new tricks? Can I take the time that Ellyn and Olga reminded me to give myself as I accustom myself to the annoyance of having something in my ear? I like to travel light. My morning routine takes 7 minutes if I am in a rush - and that's from bed to car. Will I resent them?

This is where I have to make a choice. Am I Daddooooo, who wore them with annoyance and petulance and made them the center of his existence and therefore the center of the existence of anyone and everyone who was within his orbit? Or am I G'ma, who, in the same situation, would put a smile on her face, insert them and forget about them so that everyone else could forget about them, too? Having lived my life out loud for so many months, it's a more layered question than you might imagine.

I'm leaning toward my mom, with a dash of Dad for a little spice. After all, they are pretty cool little things.






11 comments:

  1. Hooray for you, and I hope you take more of the G'ma approach. However, this is a mixed blessing in that you will now hear more things you wish you hadn't or couldn't. Whenever I overheard something that I did not like and complained to him about it, my father always said "turn down your hearing aid." So keep that option in mind! xoxo

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  2. I agree with Laura. You now have the best of both worlds. You can tune out what you don't want to hear, but hear the beauty in those things you do. Just think too... now you can be like a man and have "selective hearing" as my hubby says. :)

    I'm sure it was a joy to hear the chattering of the kids in the back seat. I always love to hear the things kids talk about and they do say some of the funniest things (or things you wish they wouldn't repeat).

    Look at this as a new adventure. :)

    Sending a virtual hug.


    Megan xxx

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  3. The first week of wearing my aides was almost painful, I was hearing too much. I could hear the tumblers turning when I unlocked the back door. My audiologist was able to adjust them, and I have been very happy since.
    I have seen so many advancements made in hearing aids. My sister has worn them since she was 5 yrs old (she's 50 now) and they keep getting smaller and better.
    The laughter of a child, birds singing... what could be better.

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  4. Something for me to think about. I've noticed more people are mumbling these days.

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  5. It'll take a bit, but try to just put 'em in and forget 'em.

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  6. Cool beyond words. Well, almost beyond words... :)

    I've worn hearing aids for 40+ years. It took me a looooong time to get over the weird vanity issues. (People can see them! No one else in my circle wears them! People will think they have to shout -- I don't want to make them uncomfortable! etc.) Once I did, though...

    You have done exactly the right thing, getting it taken care of NOW. I don't know where the "stigma" of hearing impairment correctives comes from; no one thinks twice about people wearing glasses, after all. In my opinion, for whatever reason, way too many people casually excuse or disregard their declining hearing, a decision based on nothing at all. Hearing impairment is one of the most isolating impairments imaginable: getting it taken care of almost literally restores you to social interaction.

    Good, good, good, and GOOD for you.

    [If you have any questions, qualms, or whatever, feel free to email me.]

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  7. And right onto what JES said, remember that becoming better means better in all kinds of ways. Once the hearing aids I wear now were adjusted a couple of times, I was simply amazed to hear the cicadas in the trees at full volume! Enjoy and remember sometimes the lyrics you made up to the songs you know are better than the real ones!

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  9. Now how am I going to talk behind your back? You'll HEAR me!

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  10. They are AMAZING little things, huh?

    I teach many children who have hearing aids, and it never stops impressing me how those little things can have such an impact on someone's life!

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