Hearing Aids and Growing Old

See that picture? That’s the latest signpost on my way to the magical land of Growing Old. They’re the hearing aids I picked up yesterday.

So small, yet so expensive. Before the discount I got through my medical insurance, they were about $4,700 for the pair. After the discount, they were $3,400. As Shaggy would say, Zoinks!

My hearing’s been on the decline for a number of years now, and tests show I’ve lost about 20% of certain high-range frequencies. One unfortunate effect is that my voice, which has always been naturally loud, is now, as my wife and kids could tell you, EVEN LOUDER. I haven’t noticed, because what we hear in our heads isn’t what others hear.

I haven’t been in lots of situations that are very loud throughout my life. I’ve never been in a band, I didn’t go to rock concerts growing up, haven’t blasted music through headphones, etc. I don’t know what caused the situation, which leads me to believe that Growing Old is the culprit (this is a guess, but a semi-educated one.)

Adjustment Period

I wore the little suckers for most of the day yesterday, and I can tell it’s going to take some time to find the right settings for me. For the uninitiated, most (maybe all) hearing aids these days come with apps that let the user control the volume, bass, treble, etc., much like an equalizer.

Mine have “profiles” that allegedly configure the hearing aids for certain situations like watching a movie, being in a restaurant, listening to music, and so on. After all, if you’re in a restaurant, for example, you don’t want all voices amplified—just those near you.

I can also get calls through them, and they offer noise cancellation. It’s just like my AirPods Pro, only, you know, 12 times more expensive.

The tech at the hearing aid store said they’re also “water-resistant,” but not waterproof. So in terms of my indoor cycling, I’m not going to wear them. I don’t know that it’s worth taking the chance on ruining them (although, if any of you wear hearing aids, and use them during workouts without problems, I’d be interested in hearing from you).

As with most things in my life, I can’t help putting this new addition into a larger context. As I’ve noted previously, my health issues are increasing, including my recent discouraging news about my blood glucose level. Sometimes it just feels like one thing after another.

The Good with the Bad

But the thing about humans is that we’re pretty resilient. We adapt, usually quickly, to our new situations. My diabetes forced me to lose weight and get serious about getting back in shape for the first time in decades (and led me to cycling and ultimately this website). My kidney stones have shown me the importance of drinking lots—and lots—of water.

And even though some things get worse with age, some things get better. My marriage, for instance, as my lovely wife and I grow our roots even deeper into the soil of each other’s hearts. Seeing my children grow into exceptional adults. Gaining the wisdom that comes with lived experience and learning from mistakes. My faith growing stronger as I see further and further beyond the boundaries of material existence. A broadening of perspective in general.

These are the benefits of getting to the age of hearing aids. All in all, I’d have to say I come out way ahead.

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