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Birds! Music! And Why is Everyone Yelling at Me?: Everyday Magic, Day 1095

I finally got hearing aids after several years of Ken and my kids repeating things to me loudly and often with a I-can't-believe-how-deaf-she-is edge. While I'm nowhere near deaf, I've lost the high pitched range of incoming sound and I've been rocking a thousand-cicada-hum of tinnitus.

I remember when, two years ago, I had eyelid lift surgery. My right eyelid had been badly damaged by cancer and radiation, its muscles having given up the ghost. Although I'm legally blind in that eye, after the surgery, light flooded in so fully that I could barely stand to look at the window on an overcast day. I had a two-week headache with a side dish of nausea and felt like I was going to fall over from the dizziness, but eventually -- and yet again -- the eyes recalibrated themselves to brain central, and I got used to it. I got a smidgen more peripheral vision and found out my right eye was permanently dilated.

Having had hearing aids in my ears for ten days now -- after surrealistic conversations with Costco employees to test out how I would do with these puppies -- I'm just starting to sense the way-off horizon of getting used to a new dimension of sound. My brain is trying to hold onto the galloping horse of new hearing but it's mostly yelling out, "Whoa, Nellie!" and "Fuck! A tree branch!" That's because all the sound I was sadly and happily shielded from has come roaring on in, seemingly blasting from rock-show-sized amps.

The birds -- all the birds everywhere I go -- seems to be screeching, "Wake up, buddy! We're talking now." I'm so glad to have them in my life in 3D after years of 2D whispers with only occasionally beeps and chirps. Music has become positively psychodelic, and it was all I could do is not pull over to run in ecstatic circles while listening to the Indigo Girls, Leonard Cohen, and Mary Chapin Carpenter when driving home from Costco the first day I wore these aids.

But then there's humans, and maybe I unwittingly trained the humans closest to me to talk loudly, but it's taking time to realize everyone isn't yelling at me. I'm just hearing them now. While my body reboots itself, I wish I had a human remote control I could aim toward people to decrease the volume. Prior to hearing aids, I longed to use the remote to turn up the sound and add subtitles to conversations.

Except I do have the remote control: the app for the hearing aids allows me to fiddle with sound to make it only come from one direction or filter out background noise somewhat. I can even -- like I did while downing fajitas for lunch last week in a loud restaurant (TV blasting sports, male customers talking loudly, and brick walls and hard floors amplifying all) -- shut off the hearing aids and dip my chips in salsa in peace.

The world is made of permeable membranes between whatever/whoever we claim as ourselves and all else with our senses as the intermediaries. The taste of fresh salmon, the smell of purple hyacinth, the touch of a plush blanket, the sight of a black-capped chickadee rocking on a branch of a just-budded-out redbud -- these are ways we connect with what's beyond our little thoughts. With hearing aids, the sound world has gone from black and white to technicolor. I'm standing in the middle of it, listening, sometimes jumping back because of the volume, but entirely grateful to be walking through a fuller spectrum of sound.

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Apr 15

Thank goodness you got them!! The incidence of dementia and Alzheimer's are 5 times higher in people with untreated hearing loss! Make sure you have good ones because poor ones are more likely to be left on the nightstand. Expensive, yes, but your brain is worth it, darling girl!! The people who work with your hearing aids should be able to calibrate them to meet your needs. They should not be too loud.


This is such a delightful description and I will have it in mind when I get mine. “… permeable membrane … our senses as the intermediaries”. Now that’s poetry! Xoxo


Mar 15

Glad you're having a good experience with them. Mine don't help much. I'm going to get a new test soon and try out some other aids perhaps. Too much background noise amplified over the voice I want to hear. Aging sucks basically as pertains to the physical.

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