Sound Tsunami

Day two.

Day two of trying on newbie hearing aids. To my surprise, really, it’s something of a sound tsunami.  Really.  They warned me about this, the audiologist did, the net/google searches did.  But did I believe them? Nah.  I thought they were talking about people with different kinds of hearing issues, like profound loss.  Evidently, they were talking about me too!  Seems that my old brain has gotten quite used to not hearing a lot of the background sounds and now those same sounds…..are SO loud! And there are so many!  I mean, my house is a ridiculously loud place!  No wonder I managed for so many years, not realizing I was missing stuff, because there is just SO much to hear, here.  Seriously, little boys, dogs, machines, beeping of ovens and dishwashers and microwaves and alarms, little wild boys, teen girls, dryers, washing machines, faxes, little hollering boys, snoring dogs, and oh my goodness, smoke alarms when grilled cheese sandwiches are attmpted by an almost 9 year old, dishes in the sink.  Oh my! Dishes clanking and clattering in the sink like machine guns next to my head.  Duck!

It’s a tsunami of sound. I’m trusting that my brain is still quite agile enough to sort through it all and start ignoring the inconsequential bits and ratchet up the important parts: boys sneaking about, oven timers, muffled ponderings from the back seat, teens needing a heart to heart.

And, so far, truly, despite the wall of sounds….I DID hear my Gabey ask me a great question from the back seat of my gigantic car yesterday (with no one needing to repeat it to me), and I did have a private quick convo with my eldest girl that was actually, um, private and in low tones.  Whoa.  So, I can see some possibility of benefit here…..

So, for now, I’m aurally surfing the tsunami as best I can.


It’s weird, wild and, just maybe, a little wonderful.

Bionic Ears.


So, today is the day, the day I ‘test drive’ a set of hearing aids.

I’m excited, nervous, hopeful and a little conflicted.  I wrote about the whole genetic kooky glitch, here.  See, I told my dad about it the other day; that I was about to try ’em out.  And he was kind of surprised and not sure about it…because, of course, he never did.  Get aids, that is.  And, so, what with it being him and all…by which I mean the stoic, stick it out kind of ‘tough old bird’ kind of guy…. he’s not impressed with the idea.  It seems.  He wasn’t negative, really.  But, in his life, he doesn’t feel the need.  I get that.  But his life is quite quiet.  Mine.  Quite not.

So, I feel that by at least giving it a go I’m trying, at the very least, to be fair to my kids, to my family.  I’m trying to at least satisfy my perfectionist curiosity….and see if they can make a difference.  I’m hopeful.  In the best case scenario, they’ll make a marked and better difference for my hearing and responsiveness.  In the worst case, they will be useless or just make everything worse.  Yeah, because my household is SO loud that maybe having hearing assist is actually NOT the thing I’m really wanting, eh?  Maybe there is a certain bliss in not hearing it all.  I could make that argument and run with it.  Ignorance might well be, often, bliss.

But, here I sit.  Now.  Typing at you and with my little high tech computers tucked up behind my ears.  And I have had them on for a few hours now.  And man, is it LOUD here!  I’m getting tired, actually.  The audiologist warned me that I might be so.  That it might be just TOO MUCH SOUND at first.  I psshawed; thinking, “No way.  I hear most everything, it’s just I can’t understand some of it.”  But. Oh my goodness.  She was right.  Just the “Bing” on my cell phone that alerts me, you know, “you’ve got mail“….SO loud.  I asked her if it sounded LOUD to her? She smiled.  Said, um, no, normal.  Oh.  Me, my voice…I sound like a loud Minnie Mouse.  That’s unfortunate.  At first, as we twiddled with settings, every turn of my head crackled in my ears, oh dear.  She fixed that, hurrah.  At first, it sounded like we were both in barrels, then holding a microphone, really close.  Fixed, hurrah.  After a while, we got it leveled out, we hope.  So, with some instruction, she sent me out.

I went to the  market.  Because I’m a european by my habits, I suppose, and find I have to go most every day (meaning, the kids are still eating me out of house and home and produce doesn’t keep, nor does it get the chance to and oh my goodness how many clementines and bananas can one family go through in a week?????).  Anyhow, it was my first real test drive.  It was…ok.  It was NOT like putting on a new glasses rx and feeling a biblical relief.  “I can SEE!”  It was not like I had superwoman hearing and could hear the bagger gossip across the store (not that they DO….).  It was just kind of like, more, somehow.  Not only amplified either.  Just kind of like more sounds altogether with some standing out, sharply.  She warned me that it would take my brain time to adjust but it would.

So, at this point, I’m waiting.  I might take them off for a while, just to take a break.  But, as my college boy points out….I’m quieter too.  My voice is.  Aw….. I know!  But that right there might contribute to lowering the overall sound volume in the house, soon.  Now, it feels very loud.  My goodness those small boys are noisy.  I suddenly feel rather old….  So… opinion on these hearing aids is on hold.  It’s just a test drive, after all.  I want to love them.  I’m not sure, yet.  But it’s day one.  If I DO love them, I’m gonna get em in a REAL color instead of the basic tech gray.  I figure if they help me out and cost the big bucks…I’m not gonna try to pretend they don’t exist (but also not gonna put a neon sign on either…it’s all balance, right?).

So, there it is.  I have ear helps.  I’m not sure yet if they are – helps.  I suspect they might be.  But am not sure. I’m hopeful.  Uncertain.  And…a little tired. They still feel a little weird, physically.  I cannot imagine having the little ones INSIDE the ear canal, yikes.  But I trust that I’ll stop being so conscious of them, soon.  At any rate, maybe this will help me not feel like I need to shout so much, right?  Maybe it will help me be a stealth ninja mom and sneak up on my kids who are sneaking…..ok.  Maybe not.  But, for today, for this month, I’m test driving some baby bionics.  Some teensy weensy mini computers on both my ears….too bad they don’t vacuum and make cappucino’s too……

A Different Kind of Cookie Bite


“What’s that you say? How’s that? Come again? Excuse me? Say it again?

Yeah, how about that for the top expressions you don’t want to have on your short list? But, they are mine.

Because I’m losing my hearing a bit. Yeah. It bugs me like crazy.

And, I feel old. I’d like to say that this was just another piece of the hit list that is turning fifty. But I fear that I have that more genetic loss: the “cookie bite.” (I know, so apropos of my sweet tooth, you’d think it was tailor made for me. Oh, it’s genetic, I guess it was….)

But, I’ve noticed this loss for years. In fact, the doc has called me at home after my hearing test for years to say, “You’d really benefit from a hearing aid.” I’ve dismissed it. Pssssh. Moi? Nah. Who’s got time for the fiddle factor? I don’t need to another gadget to have to fool with. And, since my ears already ring a great lot of the time and I don’t need to add hissing or squeaking to the mix. I’ve already got enough of THOSE sounds from the children.

But, I’m starting, after years and years, to finally consider it. I’m even past the point of caring much what it looks like; though I feel bad that poor Tom would have a wife that looks like a senior citizen. I have the hardest time hearing Gabey. He can be my loudest child, to be sure, but when he’s just talking, he can have a voice that sounds muffled, even if he’s talking in english versus Gabelish. I have to ask him all the time, daily, “What? Say it again.” The girls will come down and tell me that the timer on the oven is ringing or that Anthony is calling me. I can’t hear the kids from the far back seat, though, granted, my car is like an ocean liner it’s so big. Don’t even get me started about talking on the phone, it makes me nuts and is making me feel stupid. In fact, lately I feel stupid all the time. I will often guess what is being said, but frequently I’m wrong. Or I will nod and make polite listening sounds. It works pretty well, unless someone actually is talking about something that I’m supposed to respond to, say at a large table dinner at a gala or event. Then, forget it…I usually get up and cruise the room or go refill my drink (Soda, people! Ok, the OCCASIONAL vodka soda…..Gee whiz….)

It’s not that I can’t hear anything, it’s that the hearing is all wonky. Often sounds physically hurt. The TV and radio is usually just WAY too loud. Movies hurt. Unless, they are too low and then I can’t make the voices out. I can hear tiny beeps, sometimes, that others cannot. I can hear footsteps up the stairs. I sometimes have freaky ninja hearing. But I can’t hear the oven timer. I can’t hear my washer spinning though I can feel it. Erratic speaker microphones are brutal. The priests homilies are often a muffle. It’s erratic. It’s annoying, or even crazymaking, to me and to my family.

On the other hand. It might be more peaceful this way, ha! I cope. I compensate. I can’t tell if it’s pretty bad or if I’m just a perfectionist. I KNOW I’m a perfectionist. (except in housekeeping…and fashion…) But, I don’t know if I’m just a perfectionist whiner (sshhh, I know. I am.) or if this is actually a real problem that would be helped with a hearing aid. I suspect it might be. I read an article about the increase in dementia in people with untreated hearing loss. WHAT?! So, that’s a brick on my head. I’ll take the senior style look of a hearing aid over memory loss in a heartbeat!

So, I have a Cookie Bite hearing loss. It’s genetic. I might just be ready and willing to take advantage of modern technology and see if I can hear better. But……my dad has this very same loss pattern too, and he never has gotten a hearing aid. He’s made it to 80 and is still sharp and gets along fine. So, he has been my role model. My measuring stick. I wonder if I should just suck it up and deal like he has. But, I wonder….he didn’t do the hands on, 24/7 mom-raising of 8 kids.

I don’t want to jump the gun if it can’t help or if it’s just me being a drama queen. But, I don’t want to blow it, because I’d see and live with the fallout, even if I couldn’t hear it.