Thursday, December 22, 2016

Would you repeat that, please?

Hearing loss runs in our family on both sides, so it didn't come as a surprise when, around the time I turned 50, my children started complaining about my not responding to their attempts to verbally attract my attention. Hearing tests showed some loss, but not enough to have me considered eligible for a hearing aid. Then, at age 55, after repeated testing, I did qualify.

Although I was willing to do whatever was necessary to improve my hearing, I was happy to find that I needed the smallest kind of hearing aid that fits inside my ear and is not noticeable unless you are looking for it, pictured on the far right in the above image.

I have equal hearing loss in both ears, so I now wear 2 hearing aids.

It's nice to be able to participate in conversations without straining to hear or playing a guessing game - I usually hear vowels sounds but not consonants without the hearing aids, and sometimes I had to fill in the blanks.

At times, the guessing game could be amusing, but it was more likely to be frustrating. I would hear something like, "Please don't make it snow!" in the middle of the summer, and think, "OK, what sounds sort of like that, but makes sense?" It turned out that my workmate was saying, "I think it's time to go!"

The hearing aids only help in certain situations. If I am in a quiet room with one person who is speaking sufficently loudly and enunciating their words, I can often hear them without the hearing aids. On the other hand, it does help with mumblers, a lot of whom seem to attend my afterschool art classes for children. If there is a lot of noise in the background, everything is amplified, and the hearing aids don't help me single out the speech parts of the general noise.

The first time I wore the hearing aids, I was on a bus, going home from the hearing aid lab. I was surprised to be able to very clearly eavesdrop on a conversation going on at the opposite end of the bus. I also heard the bus' mechanical noises very clearly.

My hearing aids are digital and can and have been adjusted to accommodate these issues somewhat, but, so far, background noise is still a problam. I may need some more adjustments.

I enjoy hearing the birds tweet nice and loudly, but hearing myself swallow and brush my hair, not so much.

My hearing aids are subsidized by my Kupat Cholim, but I was told that had I been of retirement age when I got them, I would have paid even less, about half of what I paid. Now, I understand why it makes sense to give pensioners a discount, but from my point of view, it felt like I was being punished for having lost my hearing at a younger age.

If you live in the Jerusalem area and need hearing aids, I highly recommend Ozen Kashevet and their technician, Leonid. He is both a mensch and good at his job.

Ozen Kashevet
6 Ben Maimon Blvd.
Jerusalem 92261
+972 2-566-6640

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