“Do right and live long. Listen to sad songs. Cause your hearing’s the first thing to go.” -Adam Carroll
I went for a hearing test today, my second time since I turned 38. The first time I was sick of the family telling me to turn the TV down. Turned out I had some hearing loss in the right and the left ear was better. This time the right had not changed much, but the left took a nose dive!
Hearing loss runs in the family –both sides! We shouted at JW most of our childhood and he shouted at me, “play damn it!” and I learned my addition facts playing dominoes. My mom always said to keep track of the hearing because the Millers and Fish family members from Star City and the plantation all had bad hearing. And then of course our family reunions are like a heated teachers’ negotiations session –everybody’s talking loud and it’s all about school.
The morning began filling out one those medical questionnaires. I have completed so many of those privacy notice things that the whole planet probably has a right to know what my health issues are! I usually have a little fun with them by editorializing rather than just circling the answer. If it’s my first visit I usually arrive early so I have time to write a dissertation of bullshit and shinola. You know they ask stuff like how much alcohol do you drink, answer-not enough to prohibit driving to your office. This time the question was, “Have you been exposed to loud music? “I circled yes and wrote on the side, “I am 54 and went to college in the 70’s!”
After filling out the forms and handing over the insurance card the doctor came and took me to the sound room. It had a little window and I could see her making notes. These hearing test things have progressed since the 80’s. I did not have to raise my hand. I could say yes when I heard the “beep, beep”. I actually said yes a bunch of times. Then I had to listen to the doctor say words, real words, none of that Diebels nonsense! She stopped me and told me to look the other way. I knew what was up. She caught me reading lips and guessing. It was hard to hear some of the “beep, beeps” because my stomach kept growling. I think it wanted to answer for me. It was so quiet in the room my ear even buzzed.
The buzzing is tinnitus, so the doc said. She asked me if it bothered me. I told it was not too bad, I mean I ain’t hearing little voices or anything! She moved her chair back a little bit and continued telling me about the graph and how I did. The left ear on the higher tones was worse the right. The right was just below normal and the left was going “down, down, down!” So we tried a hearing aid on the left. There was an improvement.
The doctor started to talk about the technology and asked if I was interested in that sort of thing. I said, “I have a Facebook page.” So she gave me the details. These hearing aids have made lots of progress. They are digital, they block wind and other noise, they shift high tones to lower tones, and they screen out external noise. This interested me. Maybe this would help me hear in a crowded restaurant or gym. So I told the doc to start the quotes with the high end and middle end.
She gave me the prices –not cheap! I said, “You know, maybe I don’t care what people are saying to me.” Really, all I needed to know was which ear to hold my cupped hand over.
I asked if the hearing aid had switches so you could turn them off or down. I figured that would come in handy when the bullshit got deep and the complaints were too much to bare.
Then she explained some of the more advanced features telling me that the digital ones have Wi-Fi and can hook up to Bluetooth. I said my teeth are yellow from coffee and cigars and besides I use the speaker phone. Then I asked if by Wi-Fi that meant I could get the internet on a hearing aid. She yes and you can even download fly fishing images in holographic forms – what a quack!
Next, was picking out the color. I was drawn to the lime green one and the red one, but figured I should tone it down some. We tried a brown that looked good with my brow line 1950’s eyeglass frames, and a gray one. I picked a gray one because it blended in with my hair. I should have gotten the green one and gone with my secretary’s idea. She said that if they recommended a hearing aid I could grow my hair long again. Guess I will stick with the gray, but I might use that excuse and grow the hair out, you know well over the ears and collar or maybe even a mullet or just a full blown pony tail! This hearing aid thing is sounding pretty good.