October 9, 2006
After a few weeks wait, my hearing aids have arrived. At the audiologist's office I am fitted with two behind the ear (BTE) type hearing aids. Surprisingly, they are easy to put in and feel very comfortable. There are small buttons that switch the hearing aid settings between three options: Program 1 (Front microphone only - my most powerful setting) Program 2 (front and back microphones are turned on - used for noisy settings like a restaurant. It seems counterintuitive but turning on more microphones actually dampens the extra noise.) Program 3 (T switch- used for talking on the telephone or when an assistive listening device is available like in a theatre).
As soon as I have my hearing aids in I am amazed at how much louder speech is. Both my voice and the audiologist's are easier to hear. As I walk down the office hallway to see the otolaryngologist next I am surprised at how loud my flip flop sandals sound. Can everyone else hear how loud my shoes are?
The doctor is pleased that I have been fitted with the hearing aids and that my throat infections are clearing up from the antibiotics he prescribed.
When I leave the office I am startled by how loud the outside world is. As I drive home, I discover that cars make a swooshing noise as they pass your car. Have they always done this? When I arrive home I take a walk in my neighborhood and enjoy the awakening of my senses. I remember when I was a child and received my first pair of eyeglasses. Suddenly I found out that it was possible to see individual leaves on trees where there had only been a blur. My walk that day felt much like that experience.