All this and Bluetooth, too


All this and Bluetooth, too

I have been losing my hearing for upwards of 20 years. It is insidious. You don’t know its happening.  People may notice you don’t hear, and you blame them for mumbling, or turning away when they are talking,  or that damned accent, but in the end, it is you that is suffering.

My hearing loss is in a frequency that is in the middle range of the human voice. I can hear you, I just can’t understand what you are saying. It drives people nuts, and frankly me too.

So, why not hearing aids. Hell, when you get them you are acknowledging that you are dare I say it — OLD.  My father had hearing aids.  Grandmothers have hearing aids. You get hearing aids just before you go into the ‘home.’

Robyn has been subtle. She would tear ads for hearing aids out the the paper and leave them on my desk. Finally I decided to make the leap. There are these devices that fit entirely in the ear and then others that fit behind the ear. I went to a local company that fits them and tried a few out.

I selected a pair that fit behind the ear with a very small wire that goes into the ear. They are individually programmed to my particular frequency loss and have four different settings (regular, conversation in loud bars or restaurants, auditorium or theater, and anywhere super noisy) and twelve volume settings.  They are controlled by a little hand held device you can carry in your pocket.

They connect to the TV so I can hear it directly through the aids. They also, and get this, connect by Bluetooth to my cell phone. I can hear phone calls  through the hearing aids. Also, the hand held gizmo has a little mike so I can speak on the phone hands free, just like in the car.

But you know the best part — I can hear again. When the dog walks across the floor I can hear her toenails click on the hardwood. I find that the cat announces himself when he enters a room, and I’m told, has been since we got him. I found that the fountain in the back yard actually makes a sound and its beautiful.  I haven’t said “pardon me” or “what did you say” or “excuse me” in a month. I can go to a restaurant and actually carry on a conversation and don’t have to care where I sit.

It has been years since I have been to a movie and could actually understand the dialogue. Today we went to see some romantic comedy (Enough Said) and I heard every word clearly, and actually understood the plot.

I didn’t tell anyone when I got them and went to see a friend who has complained bitterly about my lack of hearing. I talked with him for a few minutes and then told him that I had gotten the hearing aids.  He asked me when I was going to pick them up. He couldn’t see them. Maybe he was been a really good friend, but frankly I didn’t care. They were just the words I wanted to hear.

He then asked me how they worked in noisy bars and I said that for the first time I could actually understand the person talking to me. He smiled and said that maybe I could send him the address of the place where I had gotten them.

Robyn seems to be talking very loud all the time now. I try to get her to lower the volume and she says that I should be patient. After all, I have been training her to talk loud for years.

My recommendation is that you swallow your pride, and go get your hearing tested. If you have a loss it will show up and you can get it fixed.  This technology is not cheap, but then you will find that the talk you have been missing isn’t either.

My business associates and friends, when they discover that I’m wearing hearing aids (usually after I tell them) have been super supportive. Words like “its about time” and “thank heaven” seem to populate the conversation.

Are they perfect. Of course not. But they are making a huge difference in the quality of my life. Technology is an amazing thing. Wow!



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John Van Horn

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