It was bound to happen eventually. My luck had been too good for too long. This photo is kind of me right now. Only the left ear, not the right.
The week before last I started to notice that the hearing in my left ear seemed to be fading in and out randomly. That's odd, I sez to myself. I changed the batteries first because, well, Tim taught me a long time ago that when you have a mechanical problem, you always start with the simplest thing first. A change of batteries is pretty basic.
It wasn't the batteries. Dang. Well I tried. The next and most obvious choice is the receiver wire. It's the wire that goes from the ear piece into the actual hearing aid device. When I worked in Audiology, it was one of the most frequent sorts of repairs that we did in-house. It's quick, it's easy and, when the receiver wire is the problem, it's awesome.
So I called my local Audiologist, the lovely Dr. Lundstrom, and she had me come in the very next day. We talked about the issue and she checked things out and agreed with me. "Could very well be the receiver". She replaced it and I went on my merry way.
Over the next couple of days I just tried to not think about it, which is impossible. As soon as someone says, don't think about purple cows all I can envision is violet bovines! But, I didn't want to over-react or be hyper-sensitive to the issue. Since I already know I have a significant hearing loss and especially on that left side, it was certainly a possibility that by focusing on it I would "hear" a problem that wasn't actually there. One of those Jedi Mind tricks that we play on ourselves. So I just went about my life for the rest of the week.
By the time the weekend was over I was positive that it wasn't just me being a big whiney hiney. Nope, there really was a problem that a new receiver wasn't going to cure. Dang. I knew what the next step was.....sending it in.
That means going back to my Audiologist and having them send the hearing aide (not both of them, just the bad one) back to the manufacturer for repair. One does what one must and so I did it.
Naturally, it is now out of warranty. Of course it was. There is never a problem while things are in warranty, whether it's a refrigerator, a car, a television or a hearing aid. Nope, the issues arise the instant they are out of warranty. I kind of already knew that if I had a problem, that's when it would be. And I was right. Double Dang.
Oh well, it is what it is and a repair cost is still cheaper than a new pair of hearing aides. And having only one that's working right now is reminding me of things I'd long forgotten.
For instance, currently since I am only aided in my right ear, my right ear is now doing double duty. Which is ok. I am functional. But it is not ideal. First of all, my balance is completely off.
We don't realize how impactful 360 hearing is for our balance until we are only really getting information at 180 degrees. Anytime I make a quick turn, I notice that I have to also concentrate to not over compensate and topple over. For a person as naturally clumsy as I am, this is bad news. So I'm being extra careful.
I also realized on the walk home from the Audiologist another reason why I need to hear on that left side. Any time a car, or bike or golf cart passed me on the road I was surprised because until it was in my peripheral vision I wasn't aware that it was there. I didn't hear it at all. Not a bit. So, not hearing on that left side is potentially dangerous. Wowzers. That was a scary walk home.
I was reminded, while working at the museum this afternoon of yet another reason of how much it matters in conversation to hear out of both ears. People were standing on all sides of me. Some people have lower voices and speak very clearly and distinctly. I did fine in conversations with them as long as I was looking them in the face. Other people have softer, higher voices. I did NOT do well with them. And then there are the people who are looking all around the room, or standing back to me, or even talking to me from a different room. I had no clue what they were saying. And the telephone? I did not even attempt to answer the phone. Everything went to voice mail. Triple dang.
I noticed that I couldn't hear my own footsteps, I didn't hear my cellphone ping at me and the things I do hear, sound completely different than they usually do. While working at the museum in conversation with my boss, she said something about Susan. I said, "Who is Susan?' She said, "Susan? No, I said season!" Stuff like that happens. It is kind of embarrassing.
Not hearing properly makes me tired. Yeah I know how that sounds, but it's true. I'm working extra hard, concentrating more intensely and honestly it's just wearying.
I will be so dang glad when I have my left hearing aid back.
For the rest of you, if ever you learn that someone you love is going to just buy ONE hearing aid to save money tell them no. Just no. This is a three dimensional world. There is sound all around you and you need to be in touch with it all.
Once I have my aid repaired and returned I will rejoice that I can, once again, hear 360 degrees! Now whether I'm actually listening or not is another story.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.