When I wrote the original swift kick back in July I chronicled my problem with a dying laptop, the purchase of a new one with software problems, and the miraculous return to life of my old PC. At the very end I mentioned that I had a flu bug, but was feeling better. “Not so fast,” fate told me as she had another kick in store for me.
It turned out the “clogged” feeling that I experienced in my left ear was not sinus congestion. I finally went to an audiologist to get it checked and rather than the fluid in my ear that I expected he found permanent hearing loss. My left, or as I used to call it “my good ear,” is now worse than my right ear or “my ear formally known as my bad ear.” This was quite a lot to digest!
The worst part was not really knowing why I lost so much hearing in my left ear. The lost wasn’t sudden; like it was some single event, but it seemed to be at the same time as the flu. My doctor went over the mechanics of my problem, but did not make me comfortable about causation. I was struck that they termed my loss as “moderate” when it felt a lot worse. I was concerned that it was going to get worse (it hasn’t – thankfully). I had to face the fact that I needed hearing aids and set up an appointment.
I started to notice folks who had hearing aids more. It’s kind of like noticing people driving the same kind of car that you have. You notice a lot more of them when you have one. Although I didn’t have my aids yet (my appointment was three weeks away) I was more sensitive to the issue. I was amazed at how many people had hearing problems, but did nothing to improve them or knew someone with hearing loss. My brother-in-law was actually looking at the same aid that I was though he has yet to order his.
Fast forward to today. I picked up my hearing aids today, was tested with them, and they “programed” them for different situations. Current aids actually “sample” the environment and adjust based on that environment. So far I like the “Speech in Noise” setting with the volume turned down a bit. It’s only been a few hours, but I notice that I was not hearing an awful lot.
The first thing I noticed is how loud my voice was. The Tech explained that was because I talked louder when I couldn’t hear myself. It’s been a while since I heard my turn signal in my car. I now can set the car’s radio volume at 4 rather than 12 (commercials are still irritating). The copier in the next cubicle make a very loud, high pitched, irritating racket when it is making copies. I asked someone if it had always made that sound…sadly it did and I couldn’t hear it. I don’t lament not hearing that, but the other stuff I missed.
I took a walk at lunch time and heard the crunch of the gravel walking path under my feet. I heard crickets. I heard birds singing. I heard the sound of my pant legs rubbing together as I walked up the steps (no they weren’t cords). That really sounds weird, the pants thing, but it struck me when I heard it. I could talk to my boss without moving closer or asking him to repeat (he is a soft talker). A tree fell in the woods and I heard it!
Like the copier wail, not all that is heard is good. I can hear more of my cubicle neighbors conversations. I cannot pretend not to hear the phone. The clicking of the keyboard as I write this is a little irritating and I am not going to get into the sounds of a busy men’s room.
I am out 3,200 bucks, but like hearing better. I hope that this is the last “swift kick” post that I have for a while. There might be an upside to this. I am going to have to experiment to see if I can have super-hearing with the volume turned up. The hearing aids actually make a beeping sound when I increase the volume. Not quite like the Six Million Dollar Man’s beep beep beep, but enough for me to feign super power…or not.
Here is the link to the original swift-kick post. By the way the new laptop was WAAAY cheaper than the hearing aids.