Little by little, I began to lose my hearing. At first I didn't notice except that I found that I was increasingly asking people to repeat what they had just said to me. Finally my daughter told me that if I didn't get some hearing aids, she wasn't going to bother talking to me anymore. She said that it was just too annoying to have to continually repeat things again and again.
Grumbling about the cost of hearing aids, I bypassed the ads for inexpensive aids and sought out an audiologist. After the examination, I settled for some hearing aids that cost $3,000 each. Needing aids in both ears, I shelled out a total of $6,000. Fortunately I had invested my money carefully over the years, and I could afford to pay for them. Little did I know that my hearing troubles were not going away, but merely switching to another kind of problem.
My new hearing aids brought the world of sound back into my life, but something wasn't right. Yes, I could hear better, but it wasn't hearing as I remembered it. There was a tinny quality to it, and I had to push a tiny button on my right hearing aid to go from level to level. If I failed to learn the different levels of hearing, the aids didn't work so well. Level one was the universal level, supposedly good for "most" situations. If I switched to level two, I could hear the upper decibels of the sound spectrum, and it helped me to hear the television more clearly (and movies too if I decided to go out to an actual theater to see the latest hot film. I had Netflix after all.). Level three was a bit of a miracle: if I positioned the telephone properly on my left ear, the sound could be heard in both ears. At first I was concerned about the invisible sound waves going from one ear through the brain into the other ear, but I dismissed this thought as over-thinking my situation.
Level four was the "Loop," When I went to lectures, concerts, meetings, or other programs in the main assembly hall of the retirement home, I could press the tiny button three times and the Loop would kick in. The sound was the most clear at that setting because it would feed through the external microphone system directly into the hearing aids of anyone who had the loop feature turned on.
But wait a minute! Something still wasn't right. For $6,000, I expected perfect hearing, and I expected these so-called 'invisible' hearing aids to deliver on the promise. Why wasn't it happening??? What's up?
Then I suddenly got it! It was the "human factor." These young and middle-aged people putting on the program were talking too fast. I could hear the sound of them talking, but I couldn't understand their gibberish. The sound of their voices were blurring together into one mass of verbiage. Even when only one person was speaking, it didn't help. It sounded as if all the words were being run together:
"I'mheretodaytobringyouthelatestaboutblablabla...." First of all, I couldn't distinguish one word from another and, secondly, my mind seemed to be slower. I needed time to process ideas. I needed these young folks to slow down, enunciate their words, and give me time to think about what they were saying. And worst of all were those speakers who tapered their voices off into almost no volume at the end of every sentence! Maybe they were hearing themselves clearly inside their own heads, but many in the audience could neither hear or understand the completion of their thought!
This is the experience of almost every person who begins to lose their hearing.
Here it is in a nutshell:
-- Grandma Ruth