Monday, July 27, 2009

Hearing Aids

“I can hear OK”, I always said.

Cars, horns, TV, conversations, whispers, music, preaching, etc.

But, after we moved in with John and Tonya, and there was someone else in the house besides just Jean and me, I found myself saying, “What?”

I “almost” heard everything. I just asked to have the phrase repeated.

Then at church, I found the congregation occasionally laughing at something the pastor said that I didn’t get. That is, I knew what he was talking about, and I heard MOST of the words, but some of the intonations I couldn’t pick up. I laughed, though. Would you want to be the only one NOT laughing? Really!

In the house with John and Tonya, I sometimes had to ask for a repeat, also. And, with Jean. I sometimes asked her to repeat what she was saying.

So, it just so happened that there was an office in John and Tonya’s town called “Accurate Hearing”.

I don’t recall just how the subject was approached, but I finally called for an appointment. Jean was in a Nursing Home by then, so with John busy, Tonya went with me to the “hearing place.”

Of course, I was warmly greeted, and was asked if it would be OK to test my hearing. Well, I guess that was why we were there.

I sat in a comfortable chair, and a pair of ear phones was placed over my ears.

“Push this button each time you hear a tone, Mike”, Barbara said. (The Manager of the place.)

With the room very quiet, I began to hear several tones - each one a little bit softer, and then a little bit higher pitched.

I thought I was doing pretty well, since I heard some of the tones. Many were pretty faint, but some I couldn’t hear at all, apparently.

After the test, Barbara showed me a graph of how I did.

On the low to middle pitched tones, my hearing was pretty good. She didn’t say “how” good, but it was apparently passable.

Not so on the higher pitched ones.

You may have seen a graph with a continuous line going up or down - such as the “income” or “profit” of a certain entity, for example.

This graph showed how my hearing got progressively worse as the pitch of the tone went higher. In fact, I could hardly hear at all the very high pitched ones. That kinda distressed me, because I am a music lover, and especially appreciate the high notes of a voice, violin or other “high pitched” instrument. The tones WERE soft, though.

The graph resembled a level plane, that gradually at first, then almost suddenly, sloped “down hill”.

Barbara said that I could probably use some help in hearing. “What? Oh, help, huh”?

“Which ear”?, I said.

“Actually…..both”, she said. “See the graph?”

“Well, IF I decided I wanted them, how much would it cost?”

“They’re ONLY $1,700.…..apiece”.


“Oh, I don’t have that much ‘ready’ cash.”

“These are Unitron aids, and are designed to help with the ‘higher’ frequencies you can’t hear.”

“My sister always had to remove one of hers to talk on the telephone. Would I have to do that?”, I replied.

(Grasping for straws!)

“That’s the beauty of this type of ‘aid’. You hear the telephone, and all other middle to lower tones directly to your ear.”

“I don’t want to go into debt again. I’m on a fixed income, and can’t come up with that much right away. Could I buy them one at a time?” I retorted.

“Actually, you would defeat your purpose by using only one. We would want you to wear both of them - ALL the time.”

“In the shower?”, I answered.

“No, of course not. And, you don’t need to wear them in bed. But at all other times, really.”

“Let me see one of them. Are they big….and ‘noticeable’?”

She just happened to have a couple handy, and, doggone if they weren’t small. They just fit right behind the ears, and a small plastice tube with a flared end, fit right in my ear. From the front, you could hardly tell I was “deaf”.

“I can only come up with $2,000 cash right now. Can I pay the rest over two months?”


“Of course. Whatever is comfortable for you.”

(Comfortable? I was screaming inside.)

She “installed” the aids in my ears. She told me it would take some time to get used to the “crisp” sound, but that I would “love” them.

Sure enough, the running water in the sink was loud. Keys moving in my pocket when I walked, was heard. It made everything seem brighter - but in a “hearing sense”. Even the “ding-ding” of the car’s turn signal sounded louder and crisper. Oh….I could hear high tones and voices, too.

Over weeks, I got used to them, and was glad to have them. The preacher couldn’t pull a fast one and tell a joke that I couldn’t hear and understand, any longer!

Generally, when I went to the Barber, I took them out and put them in my pocket.


One time some months later, since I wasn’t totally deaf, I forgot about them being in my pocket, until a little later in the car, I pulled them out, and one was missing.


Where WAS it? What would I do if I lost it?

Well, insurance helped, but it still cost me another $400 to get one back.

Lesson learned!

I NOW put them either in my hat with my keys, or on the counter of the barber shop.

Oh well. Sometimes, experience is a hard teacher.

After successfully wearing them for nearly a year, I moved back to Springfield. Of course, I brought my hearing aids with me. But, a month or so ago, I thought I couldn’t hear quite so well. The pastor’s jokes “went over my head”.

So, last Monday, I went to the local Unitron dealer suggested by Barbara at Accurate Hearing, and had them cleaned and checked.

And, the Technician “turned up the volume” a little.

Were they wearing out?

You don’t suppose my upper frequency level hearing has diminished somewhat? I think so.

Now, the running water in the sink is loud. My keys jangle in my pocket, and I can hear the pastor’s jokes!

(At least I expect to.)


Driving in the car to the Library with the windows open, it’s amazing what things I can hear easily. Even my pills in their bottles as I prepare them a week ahead, are loud.

This modern technology is terrific!

Now, if I could just figure out a way to have my laundry done, automatically!

(Wishful thinking.)


kelly said...

Bring your laundry to me once a week. I'll seperate it, wash it with care, and fold it with love.

(Wishful thinking.)

Grandpa Mike said...

Hey Kelly!

Good idea.

I'll just e-mail my laundry to you each Friday night, and you can have it back to me on Saturday.

(Actually, I'd rather bring it to Florida from Ohio each week.

Don't I wish!