I have hearing aids; they are marvellous; but it’s been quite a journey falling in love with sound again.
Not hearing talk on the radio was my first sign that I wasn’t quite catching everything and I ignored it for a couple of years. Further noticing that my right and left ear were different, my GP suggested a scan, which was all clear. Further procrastination followed, the TV was louder, home communication was increasingly comical or frustrating. I can hear but not quite as well as before. But I didn’t want to acknowledge it. However, last October, I had a hearing test; the recommendation, two hearing aids. Bother. I’m not old enough!! Memories of shouting at my mum when she refused to wear them sent me into a slough of despond this winter. So what changed?
I researched hearing aids … the technology now is wonderful. You can link them to your phone, your music, to podcasts even to Radio 4, wow. I started to notice lots of people wearing them and they looked fine. At home, frustration was rising and I was missing jokes and key bits of conversation. Then, during a teaching session I realised I couldn’t hear everyone clearly. Enough.
I found a brilliant local audiologist who explained all about hearing loss and began. Did you know that with sound your brain is a like muscle working hard to process whatever sound it can get. Less sound = more work and it’s exhausting. Two trial behind my ears aids were programmed for me to try. It’s a challenging process getting used to them with everything loud and overwhelming at first including my own voice. The tiny buds linking to four microphones in my ears were uncomfortable and itchy at first. But the bird song, clear conversation, sensational music wow… I was hearing stuff I just didn’t know I was missing. I had surround sound again.
After 2 weeks I decided that I would get my own. They are brilliant. So I’m over it. I’m over the internalised prejudice, I’ve spat that out. I feel happier and more relaxed too. It’s just made life fuller, more relaxed and a joy again.
Also, I can now hear birdsongs again. Have a listen here: Bird songs and calls
© sue orton 2017