Friday, October 9, 2009

Speak up, please

I surrendered after a long struggle and got new hearing aids this week. The unit on the left is the new one; on the right is the equivalent unit in 2oo2 technology. I hated the old one. It wouldn't stay over my ear and kept flopping around. The new one isn't perfect either, but it's a lot better.

People who hear well have a hard time understanding why their hearing-impaired friends are reluctant to wear hearing aids. Let me tell you some of the reasons.

1. Hearing aids don't restore natural hearing. Everything always has a "coming from the bottom of a well" sound.

2. It isn't a simple as wearing glasses to correct vision. Hearing aids require batteries, maintenance, and they wear out. And they don't correct hearing as well as glasses correct vision.

3. They're very expensive. The ones I bought come in three quality levels. I bought the cheapest ones -- $2,600 a pair. The top of the line cost $5,800. And you have to replace them every 3-5 years. And insurance doesn't cover them.

But, given all that, I crossed the line and gave in when I was driving in the car with Ben and he asked me, "What's that noise?" I couldn't hear it and he couldn't believe I couldn't hear it. Turned out the noise was two styrofoam boxes filled with restaurant leftovers rubbing together. Nothing I needed to hear, but it was enough to make me worry about missing a sound I do need to hear.

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