I’ve been hard of hearing for as long as I can remember. I’m pretty sure I was born with it, and it has impacted my life in more ways than I can count. My parents thought I was just inattentive, but when my brother was born, he would respond to them when I wouldn’t. They realized it was more than just being inattentive. Today there are much better testing systems to help identify this sort of thing.
As a result, I spent a lot of time in early grade school inside audiology testing booths. I remember one of the solutions was to provide my schoolteacher a wireless microphone, and a headphone set for me. It worked ok. Sometimes she would forget about it and I would hear her scolding other children in the hallway. It was amusing at times, and embarassing at others.
At any rate, the technology is very different today. Purchased from Costco, they are still extremely expensive (~$2000). Thanks to Costco’s buying power, they are significantly lower than they would be otherwise. But man, this stuff works like you wouldn’t believe.
My new hearing aides are binaural, meaning they talk to each other wirelessly, and process both ears at the same time. This helps them properly hone in on sound sources spatially. Thanks to data aggregation, the technician can view where the majority of the sound I listen to is on a horizontal plane and adjust levels accordingly. If I had a 5th generation Apple device, I could pair them to receive calls and listen to music.
But none of this would be possible without health benefits from two workplaces and the good graces of family. Even the technology of Bluetooth made this possible and more socially acceptable than it was in the early 80s.
I have a lot to be grateful for. I am hearing more than I have ever heard, and–over time–it is changing my life. It is with this in mind that I start a series of tweets with the theme of gratitude. My hashtag is #HearingGratitude and you can follow me here: