Monday, July 13, 2015

Kim Gets a Hearing Aid


            “God! That potato chip bag is so loud! It hurts!”

            This was Kim’s first day with her new hearing aid. She has a two-week trial to see how she likes it. So far, she doesn’t.

            “The floors! Do they always creak like that! How can you stand it?”

            The audiologist said there is a period of adjustment. At first, hearing the sounds you have been missing might be annoying – until you learn to ignore them the way the rest of the world does.

            On the way home with her new hearing aid installed we drove by a gas station where they were using a jackhammer to break up the concrete.

            At lunch, Kim listened to me chew. She also listened to herself chew. Then she decided to call her daughter in Florida to tell her to call a plumber because she could hear her toilet running.

            I’m glad my wristwatch is not the kind that ticks.

            That night we watched a movie on television. Kim insisted that I adjust the volume so that it was just right for me, so I did. Then I had to turn it up when the depressed guy with the English accent started mumbling as we were eating pretzels and potato chips. After that the volume was fine because we were bingewatching Grand Hotel, a series in Spanish with subtitles. I thought about changing my snack food from pretzels to applesauce.
           
            At lunch on the second day we noticed a Robin cocking its head as if listening, and Kim announced, “I can hear worms.”

            On our almost daily walks out to photograph birds and butterflies, Kim was able to hear a high-pitched bird call. I think she could have heard it without the hearing aid, but it was distinct over the whine of the mosquitoes. If she becomes as attuned to what she hears as what she sees, our walks will take forever!

            We discovered the volume controls on the hearing aid. This helped some, though opening food encased in some sort of plastic has become doubly annoying. We discussed how the controls on one ear changes the volume on the other one, presumably by some sort of radiation passing through Kim’s head. This does not sound good, though there is a chance that the electricity can restart some dormant brain cells, the way defibrillation restarts the heart. If this proves the case, then I’m getting a hearing aid.



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