In the sixth decade of my life I have done something good for myself, something that probably had its roots in my second decade of life. This was the decade of the Dawning of us age of Aquarius-ers and we loved our loud music….loved hearing the nuances of each note of the guitar of the likes of Hendrix, the Stones, CSNY, of each expression of intense emotion in the voices of Janis, Grace, and Cat Stevens. With closed eyes we savored every note, every hidden meaning in the words, every uplifted message of we are all One, unaware of the damage that was taking place to the tiny hair cells (nerve cells) that detect sound.
So forty years later, I got fitted for my bionic ears. At least that is what I call them. I have medium hearing loss, probably not more than many people who are out there walking around with less than perfect hearing. But I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to ask my students to speak up, cup my ear when they introduce themselves as we go around the circle, try really hard to understand those who don’t have perfect diction (and who does??). And lately have been asking my husband and son to repeat themselves or just kind of “intuit” the missing words when I hear only part of the conversation. Sound familiar anyone?
I found it curious to see reactions of others, and some of my own misconceptions about wearing hearing aids. People equate hearing aids with old people They don’t associate wearing glasses with old people, and yet one helps the eyes to see while the other helps the ears to hear…not much difference there. All I know is that I am not embarrassed about having hearing aids, I am actually really thankful.
So I found a wonderful lady, Dr. Sofie, who tested me, told me all the options, and once I decided to move forward with my hearing aids, spent hours working with me to get used to my new helpers.
The first time she put them in I got a little choked up because I could hear every crisp sound that the world around me was making. They didn’t feel strange at all, I could barely notice them. I was so happy. And I realized that I never knew what I was missing.
Now I am quiet. I walk around hearing everything…bird calls in surround-sound, the hum of the refrigerator…my husband’s soft voice….children laughing. I hear every subtle note in the music (yes I admit to still loving the old rock and roll as well as some new stuff). And one of the biggest surprises is that I can hear myself speak from outside of myself as well as within my skull bones. It is awesome, and I feel my voice is softer, lighter, and more representative of who I now am.