- Aging & Longevity
The Lighter Side of Hearing Aids
A small problem has been discovered with the newer, smaller hearing aids. They’re too small. For mans’ ever increasing vanity, technology has finally developed hearing devices so minute people have trouble inserting them into their ear. My mother recently found herself in this predicament. Sadly, she is getting on in years and has begun experiencing hearing loss.
So, she found herself in a doctors’ office deciding what type to buy out of the vast number of models available. Enter the specter of vanity. Mom didn’t want to wear the large, bulky and unsightly style she remembered old people had worn in her youth.
However she was pleasantly surprised with the newest fashionable designs which were practically invisible. Some companies have been toying with models resembling jewelry. Mom’s not one to over accessorize, so she chose the newest, smallest and plainest one on the market. She actually required a pair.
The ones she chose were so tiny they should have come with a pair of complimentary tweezers to assist with insertion. Later, she actually tried that. Another problem was she also had some nerve damage in her hands which made it even more difficult to put them in.
First, the device has to be individually tuned to the person wearing it. As she waited while the doctor adjusted them to her settings, she wondered what the world would now sound like. Since in most cases hearing loss occurs gradually, most don’t realize what they no longer can hear. This can result in various reactions when trying them out for the first time. Some can be humorous enough to elicit a smile from nearby spectators. My younger brother Rich happened to be present at this test drive.
Mom prodded Rich to say something to hear how well the pair worked. “Hi Mom” he said in a normal conversational level. She jumped out of her chair with her hands over her ears and chastised her son for yelling unnecessarily. Rich assured her he hadn’t yelled. The hearing aids were removed and returned to the doctor for further adjustments.
The doctor gave them a few more tweaks and handed them back to Mom. He had to assist her in putting them back in. Mom sat quietly for a few moments as she listened intently. She made a quizzical expression and began tapping the miniature instruments. “What’s wrong” the doctor queried.
“I don’t know” she responded as she realized she had heard him plainly. “There seems to be a humming noise.” The doctor laughed. “That’s the fan running on my computer” he explained. Mom smiled, pleased with what she was hearing.
The trip home was filled with wondrous sounds as mom listened to things she hadn’t heard in years. The birds were singing, traffic whizzed by and she could hear conversations of nearby people. Life was good.
Alas, the following day Mom had trouble putting the small hearing aids in. And she did try tweezers, but it was still a difficult task. In addition, they didn’t seem to be working near as well as the day before.
Now, over the years women have accused men of not asking for directions and not reading instruction manuals. They have now been vilified. If Mom had studied the operating manual a little better she would have realized she was turning them on with the wrong control switch.
To quote a popular cell phone advertisement, Mom, “Can you hear me now?”