the hips; the skin; the bladder. What’s next?
Ears. I said EARS.
For months, my closest friends have insisted my ears are not listening up to their potential.
My reaction was rather Rosanne Rosannadanna-like: Scrunched up face, squinty eyes, dismayed expression: “It’s always something,” I whined.
I had my hearing tested by an audiologist and indeed, I do have some hearing loss. It’s about the same amount of deterioration in both ears, higher and lower tones, pretty even. The audiologist showed me a graph and the plotted points for
my hearing ability clearly fell below the “normal hearing” line.
She sells hearing aids, of course.
So I signed up for a two-week free trial and drove home wearing two tiny mid-to-lower-price-range hearing aids. (There were four price levels, from
expensive to outrageous.) These nice little battery- driven thingies were almost exactly the color of my hair and sprouted miniscule wires that -- if I can believe everybody I encountered during the two week trial period -- were absolutely invisible. Or nearly so.
I don't care if people can see my hearing aids; I
just don't want to miss anything. My friend Lynne calls it the FOMO syndrome. Fear Of Missing Out.
I wore those tiny sound suckers for two weeks. I went to the theater. To a movie. To several noisy restaurants. To play pickleball in a cavernous gym. To play Mah Jongg on a secluded screened porch. To watch TV. To stay home all day doing
household chores. To weed my garden. To work on my computer.
Indeed, my hearing improved. I could hear birds. In restaurants with lots of background noise, I could focus clearly on one conversation.Those itsy bitsy inventions adjusted automatically to screen out background clutter.
Most conversations were clearer. The TV volume could be lowered. Talking on the phone was fine. I didn't have to say "huh?" as much. Music sounded a bit tinny, but I adjusted the bass and treble settings on my car radio and at home, too.
I liked these hearing aids.
The weeks wore on.
When I'm wearing a heavy necklace or bracelet or big, dangly earrings all day, I look forward to getting home at night so I can take
the damn things off. They don’t hurt, but they’re just – foreign. Soon, I began to regard the hearing aids in the same way. They didn’t hurt. I just couldn’t
wait to take them off.
By the end of two weeks, I was leaving them home more and more often. I'll choose when I'd wear them, I decided. I’ll use them when I go to the theater, a movie, a bustling restaurant, a cocktail party or a lecture, but I'll opt out when I'm playing cards or sitting on the beach reading, or working at home in a quieter, calmer environment.
At the end of two weeks I turned the hearing aids in.
The price (more than $3,000) and the fact that I looked forward to NOT wearing them were the tipping points.
I decided to wait until my hearing is more of a problem than it is now. I know they work for me. But I also know they’re not two new perfect replacement ears that can hear as well as my own did when I was a teenager.
Maybe, in a year or two or three, when friends start
ignoring me or getting miffed because they have to repeat and repeat, I’ll go back and try again.
I decided not to spend close to $4,000 for something I’ll keep in a box next to my toothbrush.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.