A few weeks ago I wrote about how I take my ears on and off all the time in my day-to-day life, and Beverly commented something that hit home:
The key to hearing better longer is to keep your auditory nerves and brain active and NOT let them atrophy. Through the use of hearing aids you’ll enjoy a better quality of hearing longer. Put them in and forget about them.
It reminded me of my father’s first time with glasses. Something like twenty years ago, he had to begin to wear glasses; at the normal age when eyes become less flexible and arms need to be longer and longer because you can’t adjust your eyesight the way you did when you were younger.
His first reaction was “Oh wow, it’s better” and then went on to “Actually no, wait now, we have to talk it through again”. Ring any bells?
As a relatively new user of hearing aids (three years), and since I’m only mildly hard of hearing (without them, the spoken word is a bit blurry; with them it’s crisp), I don’t feel the need to wear my hearing aids all the time.
Oh, of course at the beginning my audiologist told me to get used to them by putting them on in the morning, not minding them all day long (pretending they’re not there and acting naturally), and taking them off in the evening. Beginners do as they’re told, don’t they? But my days are quite long (6:30 to midnight, I don’t sleep much) and my batteries ran out after 5 to 6 days.
We’ve all talked on this blog about how different the perception is between viewing aids (better known as glasses) and hearing aids (better known as “my ears” by people wearing them, and as “prosthetics” by people seeing them). A few months ago we were on holiday at the beach — don’t let me get me started on Corsica, one of the finest places in the world. We spent two weeks there; every day we’d go to the beach and dive among schools of fish.
Without my hearing aids, discussions on the beach were some approximate gibberish mixed with outcries from happy children playing around, the buzz from some distant sea scooters, the splashes, the regular pounding of waves. In fact I heard less than half the conversations. But you know how beach conversations go: most of the time it’s more chit-chat than life-changing decisions, so I didn’t really mind and decided to let go. I love reading books on the beach anyway.
When my hearing loss was diagnosed, after the initial shock, I adopted my hearing aids pretty fast. You must have gone through the same kind of mental process: “Wow I’m deaf —Oh no, I’m not, not just because someone tells me my hearing is not up to par, I didn’t turn deaf between yesterday and today, did I? —I can hear what they’re saying, I’m not hard of hearing. —Hearing aids? Wow, they were right, that feels so much better!”
Let me tell you an old story. When I was a student, I had long, curly hair, flowing in the wind, going down on my shoulders. I was free, young, you know the drill.
I was walking in the street and passed a guy with the same couldn’t-care-less, disheveled hairdo. A few steps down, I turned back and looked at him. Surprisingly he had done the same.