In my last blog on hearing and hearing loss, I mentioned how a lot of what most of us actually “hear” is with our eyes. We unconsciously add to our sound hearing with context and even lip reading and intonation. I would quote proportions and give a reference if I could find it again. Oh well, I csan’t. Tonight I went to see The Lego Movie at the advice of my son, Nicholas. Lego characters do not really move their lips, right? During the first few minutes, until the story line was established, I thought it might turn out to be a worthless venture with my comprehension being about 70%. Once we were about 5 minutes into the movie, I could much more clearly “hear” the characters’ lines–because I had characters and story line. It was a very interesting verification of what I had read, tonight experienced first hand.
That brings me to the –drum roll and trumpet blasts–hearing aids. I opted for the ones recommended, that sit in the ear and supposedly do a great job of not magnifying surrounding sounds and would work for work, which for me means 1) hearing soft spoken people in meetings, 2) being in group sessions and hearing various people, and 3) using the tools of my trade: the stethoscope. Of course I also hoped that the car radio could be at a lower volume and that dining in loud noisy restaurants would be easier.
They get a grade of D+ -maybe- except in one crucial area they get an F and therefore will not work. I feel like the princess and the pea.
1. In the car: Wow, I can hear all the other cars and my car’s quirky noises. Cool. But I cannot turn down the radio volume. If anything I need it louder to hear over all the “new” noises I can hear.
2. Small groups at work: not yet tested.
3. Restaurants: I used to love eavesdropping on tables near me. I am happy to report that capacity might be back with the aids! Hearing my dinner companions however is not improved at all. Like the car radio, the indiscriminate pick up of the microphones does not make the near and dear clearer. Do I want to eavesdrop or do I want to be part of the dinner conversation at my table?
4. And the final: I can hear NOTHING of the heart with my stethoscope and lung sounds are 90% blunted. So this aid will not work and will be returned.
I know there are some that apparently filter better and they had downsides that left them not recommended (I cannot remember why).
We would think that the technology that is out there would have this figured out. I am back to the drawing board, trying to do my part to do my share of the conversations in my life. It is not so simple as just go get a hearing aid.
I’d wonder whether you need to be more patient, to let your brain learn to adjust and start filtering out extraneous noises again. It’s probably been well-trained to try to catch every sound it can for a while now. After all, our children teach us that selective hearing is quite possible, and it happens in the brain, not the ear. If the devices are/were in your ears, they are getting the directionality benefits of your external ears and there’s not much more one can expect hearing aids to do – well, till on-the-fly programmable, selective noise-canceling hearing aids are available. I.e. – Sample dad’s voice; set to recognize and autocancel. We’re not there yet.
Agree on patience. Until the next one is made I will use it in some settings for that reason. This one is no good though because it is not compatible with using a stethoscope. And I do think the aids should be like Dragon with voice recognition. LOL. My main point is it is not so simple as just go buy an aid.