It must be hell to have good hearing. At least in my wife’s case who is increasingly annoyed by my inability to so often not hear her words clearly. Since many years I have worn hearing aids. The blame lies squarely on the genetics from my mother’s side. It is deeply annoying for both but I have at least mastered to respond successfully in at least fifty percent of cases. That’s if the question asks for a yes or no answer. If the face of the other person looks perplexed, I cotton on quickly and sneak in a reversal. Of course, the advice is to ask for a repeat of the statement in the conversation, but at times I feel it might infringe on the other person, especially that it still carries the risk that even after the second time one still doesn’t understand. It seems that despite all the latest technology, hearing aids still don’t approximate sounds sufficient enough to avoid the distress to those having to repeat their words again and again.
Of course the domestic situation is the one that suffers most. What can be done? I took the step to get my hearing once more tested. There is now a local hearing clinic which was opened a few weeks ago by the state Minister for health to which I was duly invited. “There will be tea and sponge cakes”, I was told by the secretary behind the desk. My social life could do with some life and sponge cake and what better than meet a Minister opening a hearing clinic? I did not expect a wild swinging uninhibited Lambada type of party but at least had expectations of hearing a few words here and there.
I wasn’t disappointed. There were many people. Most of them must have been patients, sorry ‘clients’ that must have heeded to the lure of ‘tea and sponge cake’. The room was glistening with ears holding a bewildering variety of hearing devices. Voices were clear and many voices were loud. I met the Minister, who mingled with many and was surprisingly clear with her expressions, both in words and supporting gesticulating lips… I tried not to be overly enthusiastic in hoeing down my sponge cake. Dear Helvi turned down the invitation, no doubt happy to have a morning of free time. Sometimes, free time works wonders in returning closeness and reviving the joy that routine domesticity threatens to impinge upon.
I had my ears tested yesterday by an audiologist who happened to be very good at her job. It is all done through a computer programme with no need for the hearing booth anymore. As a pensioner I am entitled to a basic set. The basic hearing aid is made by Siemens and fits behind the ear and is good for the one to one, and TV watching. I choose the next level which is good for one to one, the TV and…wait for this…restaurant situations, provided I manoeuvre my back to the wall excluding sound coming from behind. This will cost me $900.- for both behind the ear hearing aids. There are seven levels now with one to one, TV, restaurant, groups of people, culminating in able to hear clinking of glasses and even able to hear with a vacuum cleaner on the go. The mind boggles. The top level hearing aids will set you back $ 4000.- for both.
I’ll will let you know after the 4th of February how my new set of aids will fare.
Let me know of any sponge cake parties.