Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Epic Otic Odyssey - Day 3 & 4

Day Three

Its Saturday. My day.
My day to go into the hills, alone.
By that, I mean, without the electronic doo-hickie. I hiss goodbye. 

They say it can take two full months to get used to hearing aids: the brain needs retraining. It needs to relearn what sounds to tune out and what ones to tune in. My specialist says that because I am so young, it wont take long. Consider it a challenge! Think of all the things you'll hear now! Aren’t you excited? I want to metaphorically kick her in the shins like my brother (non-metaphorically) kicked the dentist back when he didn’t know better. Then again, maybe he did. I doubt my “young” age will be taken into to account when they kick me out of the office.

Day Four

I am loathe to admit it but I am getting somewhat used to having a bionic ear. That said, I am still not convinced my life has improved. I played with the volume while shopping in the mall today. Whereas before I just heard the muffled backdrop of canned muzak and miscellaneous conversations of people passing by, now I actually hear words. The question is do I want to hear them? 

My father wore hearing aids. He did so for as back as I can remember. They were compensation for having been a blaster before employers thought to protect their workers. The audiologist said he had profound hearing loss but that doesn’t mean much when you’re a child, even an adult one. Don’t hearing aids fix everything? And then it can get personal as offspring only do so well: he just doesn’t try hard enough. If only he would focus. Or, the bottom of the barrel: he doesn’t care enough.

The thing about hearing aids, specially my father’s which could never truly ameliorate the damage done to his ears, is that they don’t replicate true sound. Moreover, there is always this fine balance between having them on too high or too low. It was common to hear his aids squeal with feedback or to see him confused in a restaurant’s noisy milieu when they were turned up too high. But when adjusted too low he was virtually deaf. There never seemed to be a sweet spot for my father, especially as he aged.

 My hearing is vastly better than his was but still, I have trouble hearing people. As I look for my own sweet spot I find I am entering a steep learning curve that is asking my brain to be a child again: to tune out sounds that are unimportant; to accept that subtle tinny reverberations are normal when listening to music or podcasts; and that its okay for my own voice to sound like I am talking to someone on the phone while they take a bath. In time I may be okay with all this but tonight, I am just thinking about my dad.

Stay tuned for more of the Epic Otic Odyssey…

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