Watch what you say, I can hear you now

Published 7:11 pm Friday, August 19, 2016

I am now the proud owner of a pair of hearing aids, and I am amazed at what I have been missing. I never realized clocks and auto turn signals tick so loudly. And that is just the beginning.

Ever since I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, (an inner ear condition that causes periodic vertigo and hearing loss) five or six years ago, my hearing has continued to deteriorate to the point that I was afraid of it being a problem in my work.

As a reporter, I need to be able to hear people clearly and not misunderstand what they say.

Email newsletter signup

In addition, my conversations with my husband had become convoluted and confusing. I would hear maybe one or two words of what he was saying, then when I tried to fill in the blanks, the results were often bewildering and comical at best.

Knowing that hearing devices are very expensive, and that my health insurance does not pay for them, I put off the decision for quite awhile. It was mainly at the urging of my husband that I decided to take the big leap and go see about a hearing aid. When I saw a full-page ad in the Donalsonville News clinic in Dothan, I decided to go check it out. I was impressed with the amount of quality time spent with my husband and me.

It is an interesting experience to take the hearing tests, thinking you did “just fine,” then seeing the charted results that indicate what part and to what extent hearing loss is present.

We were then given detailed information on the different makes and models of devices, how they are made and what each can do, as well as the costs of each.

I had made up my mind if I had to get a hearing aid I would get the best I could find. And, I think I did. The Oticon came highly recommended. It is made in Denmark and contains a very tiny computer chip that is then programed at the audiologist’s computer. The units are small, fit behind the ear and are relatively inconspicuous. They even come in different colors so you can match them to your hair color.

Each ear is programmed to suit the amount of hearing loss in each, and the dominant ear controls the whole process. The ears speak to each other, according to the brochures.

So, I took the financial plunge and came home with a set of hearing devices, two boxes of supplies, pamphlets, advice and an appointment to return in one month for monitoring.

As I write this I am on my first full day wearing them. It is so much better not to have to ask everyone to repeat what they just said.

My devices are programmed to my television and to my I-Phone, where it uses blue tooth. This will take some getting used to. The phone rings on speaker. This can be embarrassing. When I turned my phone back on following a meeting, the air was suddenly filled with the sound of loud crickets – my daughter’s identifying ring. One person jokingly asked if I had crickets in my purse. I need to learn how to control that.

It is all good and all I have to do is pay for them. There again, the Dothan office offers payment plan options to suit most budgets.

If this sounds like a testimonial, then so be it. I am very pleased with my decision. So be careful what you say around me. I can hear you now.