For the past year and a bit, I’ve had some difficulties in group settings and public places with making out words in conversations. If someone came into my office and my fan is on and that person speaks in a low voice, I can barely hear that person.
There reaches a point where you wonder if it’s your hearing or something else entirely. And then paranoia enters the picture.
The last straw happened on Monday. I was out for breakfast with three friends before work. The person across from me was speaking in a lower voice, the other two were nodding, laughing and responding, and I was missing about every other word.
Right after that I did a bit of research. I have two strikes against me right off: Ménière’s and diabetes. Both are linked with hearing loss. The next contributing factors are multiple ear infections and perforated ear drum as a result. Then I did a search for places that conduct hearing tests. Fortunately one was right near my work.
There are 7 levels of hearing – normal, slight, mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe and profound. After testing, it was confirmed that I have moderate hearing loss in the left and I’m slight in the right. The best part about the clinic I selected is that I get a two week trial of the recommended hearing aid for free. No obligation to keep it.
There are four levels of hearing aids – basic, standard, advanced and premium. Differences being the number of channels and technological sophistication at each level. I’ve got the standard level. And at each level, there are different styles – behind the ear, mini behind the ear (or on the ear), in the ear (you can see the shell of it), and in the canal and completely in the canal. I went for the on the ear style.
I was asked by a friend how I feel about a hearing aid. The first word is relief. Relief that it’s my hearing and not something worse. Relief that I’m not actually going crazy (no comments from the peanut gallery please). The second word is acceptance. Given everything else that’s happened, this seems like nothing. And there’s a “fix” for it. Costly. But a fix. Oh ya, in a bit of honesty, a bit of annoyance. One more cost to bear.
Oṃ śānti śānti śānti