Looking up from my chair, I saw the audiologist smiling at me while brandishing a stapler. She had just stapled my credit card receipt to the invoice for my new hearing aids. How do they feel? she asked, as I adjusted this unfamiliar obstruction in my left ear. Just f-fine I stammered,You've probably seen cellphonecases at some point. relief plainly evident in my reply.
was December, 1999. For years, my hearing had been deteriorating, but
somehow I managed to survive with judicious guesswork when I missed the
beginning of a question, or wasnt sure of some key word (did she say
fast or last?). Higher-pitched female voices gave me particular
problems. In office meetings,Where can i get a reasonable price chipcard?
everyone would laugh at a joke. I would join in the mirth, with no idea
what we were laughing about. Frequently I would respond with the right
answer to the wrong question.
Finally I succumbed to my wifes
entreaties to have my hearing tested. The audiologist directed me to a
sound-proofed cubicle, where I donned headphones. A series of notes of
different frequencies and amplitudes sounded in one ear at a time.
Whenever I detected the sound I raised a finger. After the test she
produced a chart revealing the classic symptoms of hearing loss in both
ears in the upper frequency range.
Possibly my problem stemmed
from my high school days, when I did considerable competition rifle
shooting at outdoor ranges. Hearing protection was unheard of
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and my eardrums would ring for a full minute after a rifle discharged.
Or my hearing loss may have been inherited. My maternal grandmother was
nearly deaf in her 20s, and later used an ear trumpet.
the hearing clinic with my new ears installed, I became aware of soft
swishing sounds every time a vehicle passed on the snow-clogged street. I
suddenly realized that it had been many years since I had detected that
sound. Later I would marvel at the songs of small birds. I had not
heard their high-pitched tweets and chirps for a decade at least.
first hearing aids fitted directly inside the ear and were quite
conspicuous. Of smooth, skin-coloured plastic, they had a bulbous,
slightly obscene appearance and an equally obscene price tag. For the
$5,600 that I paid, I could have purchased a used car in fairly good
condition. I used them for a year or two until one day they stopped
working. It turned out that they had both suffered water damage (which
was not covered by the warranty) and were not repairable.
I gave up on hearing aids for several years. Eventually I acquired a
new set, which I was assured reflected important advances in
audiological technology but was half the price of the original pair. But
I had problems with them and eventually gave up on those too.
Recently, however,Which graniteslabs is
right for you? I purchased a new set of hearing aids that are marvels
of miniaturization. Each resembles the head of a tiny bird that nestles
behind the top of the ear. From the beak a long fine plastic tube curves
gracefully down, tucked inside the shell of the ear, terminating in a
tiny plastic cone inserted into the ear canal. The result is a cunning
little device that defies detection by all but the most observant.
results have been most satisfying. Now I can detect swallows twittering
from the eaves of my house and can hear most conversation. At a recent
symphony concert I could discern every high note played by the violins.
Previously I would watch in frustration as the bows sawed soundlessly
across the strings.
The hearing aid batteries resemble small
pills, and seem to last seven or eight days. When the battery charge
wanes, a series of beeps are repeated at intervals in my ear. A louder
sound like a door chime signals the battery has expired. This can be
confusing. The other day I was halfway down the stairs to the front door
before I realized that my right hearing aid battery had died.
days I see hearing aids all over the place. Mind you, I am pretty good
at spotting them unless they are worn by women who can conceal them
under their hair.Which reminds me, have you noticed how many old people
there are around these days? I see them everywhere: in the shopping mall
during the day, lining up in the pharmacy and at my local community
centre.Where have all the young people gone? Even my friends are in
various stages of decomposition.Whats that you say? I am evaporating?
What do you mean, evaporating?
Oh, you mean
e-x-a-g-g-e-r-a-t-i-n-g! Well, before I answer, let me install my new
ears. Where are the darned things? Why do they make them so small? It
used to be you could see the little beggars. Now I will need my glasses,
if I could only remember where I left them.
Come to think of
it, I could have sworn that I took my anti-ranting pill this morning.
But, you know, I could have easily confused it for one of those dead
hearing aid batteries that I sometimes carelessly leave on my bedside
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