Sunday, June 8, 2008

Living with a Hearing Aid.

The weather was nice this morning so I decided to take a walk to Dollar General -- 3300 steps on the pedometer. As I was walking down the street, I realized that things were a little bit too peaceful and quiet. Oops! No hearing aid. The thing is one of those molded in the ear types and is so comfortable it is just too easy to forget, especially on a Sunday morning.

It really didn't matter, because it was Sunday, but I have frustratedly made the trip home during the week to pick it up when I have forgotten it. Actually, I have a fixed routine where it is almost impossible to forget anything but I do have a penchant for impossible things at times.

It did bring up some thoughts though. Sometimes when you're a little bit hard of hearing or something, you can ignore people and people do cut you a little slack because of your 'problem'. Not that I would ever do such a thing, perish the thought. It's even possible to enjoy TV programs that other people are watching, that you can't stand, by turning the volume down on the hearing aid and enjoying the silence. There can even be a dog barking constantly down the street. Does it bother me? Nope -- I have control.

Actually this thing is kind of nifty. I've got settings for normal listening, noisy backgrounds, a special TV watching setting, and if I use a telephone it's got a special setting for that that automatically kicks in. It just amplifies the particular frequencies that I am deficient in so you don't get a lot of extra noise. Of course nothing is perfect, but this is pretty good.

The progress that has been made in just the past couple of years is really noteworthy. A man I see every day has had a cochlear implant. He is actually virtually deaf but has been getting by by reading lips and gestures because the hearing aid he had didn't help. Now, because of a surgical implant, he actually has something that is like hearing. He is actually taking therapy to help him understand spoken words. You sit behind his back so he can't unintentionally lip read and read words for him to repeat. They even read him words over the telephone for practice.

It's an interesting situation in my case. I really never knew I had a hearing problem until one time I was talking to my daughter over the phone and complaining about the bad connection that we had because I could not hear. For some reason or other I had to reach for something and switched the phone to the other ear. All of a sudden I could hear clearly. I switched it back and I couldn't hear. Even I can put two and two together. Isn't it interesting how we can't see our own problems at times?

There are so many ways we can make things easier on our selves.

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