So, Mike came home a couple of weeks ago with these little things in his ears. Just from listening to him talk with Judy I realized that these devices are supposed to help him hear better. I didn’t particularly notice that he hadn’t been hearing that well. Of course, the 2- leggeds in this household don’t hear nearly as well as we do. Mike has not complained about it, but he’s been hearing hissing in his ears for years. I think the medical term for this hissing is tinnitus. He says that he knows that his hearing must be diminished, although he hadn’t noticed it particularly. He said tinnitus occurs when the hearing nerve is damaged. So if he had tinnitus he must have diminished hearing as well, he reasoned. As far as he was concerned, when he didn’t hear what people said to him it was because they were not speaking clearly or directly to him or loud enough etc. etc. Anyway there has been this recurrent drama going on in the house where Mike has had to ask Judy to repeat herself quite often. Judy has been quite annoyed at times. Mike has said that if he’s in the bathroom with the water running and Judy is speaking in the other room she shouldn’t expect him to hear her. That makes sense, but facts are facts; he doesn’t hear that well. I think it has something to do with listening to loud rock ‘n roll, and the rest of it has to do with his ears being 75 years old. (That’s about 15 in cat years.) He started to go for hearing tests several years ago, but last year was the 1st time an audiologist told him that he would benefit from hearing aids. She showed him a model and when she put it in his ears it sounded like she was speaking into a microphone. The other thing that was remarkable is that the hissing went away. Now, truthfully, Mike was up to that point not at all interested in getting hearing aids. He had only gone to the audiologist because Judy asked him to get tested, and he was trying to be a good husband. He had thought that the tinnitus was something that he was just going to have to live with, and that his hearing was more than adequate. Anyway, he didn’t get the hearing aids at that time, mostly because of the price tag which was substantial. Then Judy came home saying that some of her friends had gotten hearing aids at Costco and Mike should go over there. Well, one of the things that Mike found out at Costco was that the brand of hearing aid there was the same as their brand of hot dogs, laundry detergent, Norwegian salmon, and dog food. So he wasn’t so sure about the hearing aids. But they tested him and said he needed hearing aids and fitted him with a model, and he walked around the store and couldn’t tell any difference whatsoever. He went back the next day and tried again with no real improvement. They told him that hearing aids would not help him with his tinnitus which he knew to be false based on his brief experience a few months earlier. So not long ago he called back to the audiologist he saw last year, but they couldn’t give him an appointment because she had left the practice, and the clinic hadn’t hired a new audiologist yet. So he called another audiologist who carried the same brand, Widex. He liked the new audiologist, and that brings us up to the visit 2 weeks ago where he got fitted for his hearing aids. He went back again a couple of days ago and gave his hearing aids a C-. It turns out that she had not cranked them up to full volume at first for fear of making his head explode. After 2 weeks of some improvement she reset it to what she said would be the equivalent of his hearing when he was 18. No jokes, please.
And EVERYTHING IS LOUD. Scratching his head, combing his hair, opening drawers, closing drawers, the television, walking on the hardwood floors, people talking, breathing through his nose, his own voice, flushing the toilet, computer keys, the printer, and OMG the vacuum cleaner; the birds singing outside; you name it and it’s loud. Mike’s friends came over Sunday morning for their weekly men’s group, and at first he thought he was going to have to take his hearing aids out because one of his friend’s voice was so loud. But he hung in there and was able to tolerate it. I will mention 2 amazing (see below) things; no, 3. One is that he can hear so much better. The 2nd thing is that he went to see “Black Panther” with Judy and Michelle Saturday and he was able to tolerate the loud soundtrack of the movie. The 3rd thing is after the movie when he normally would’ve had loud tinnitus he didn’t have any, and didn’t really have any tinnitus to speak of on Sunday either. That never happens. But he woke up this morning with the hissing as usual. I guess it’s just going to take time. He said he’s going to go back again this week and get them readjusted if necessary.
I would say that the change in his hearing, and in fact the whole experience has been amazing, except if I did so I would be giving in to the current overuse of that word. Everything is amazing these days. I’ve collected a short list of things that have been said to be amazing just listening to the TV in the last couple of weeks. The arugula is amazing; the Brussels sprouts were amazing; the level of competition was amazing; the pastry wrapped brie was amazing; the crème brûlée was amazing; remembering that “The Woman in Red” had a Stevie Wonder soundtrack was amazing; the challengers for the Senate race are amazing; the Americana and pageantry of college football Saturday is amazing; somebody has an amazing husband; Mark’s performance on Celebrity Big Brother was amazing; somebody’s sense of humor is amazing; the kitchen was amazing; the wooden beams were amazing; the chandelier was amazing; the antique Rookwood vase was amazing; someone’s marketing skills are amazing; she looks amazing; someone’s skin is amazing; how she looks in her wedding dress is amazing; the job with her hair was amazing; the pork chops were amazing. I could go on but I’m sure you’ll thank me if I don’t. You can tell that there’s a lot of food and home and garden programming on at the house. Well, seriously, let’s be real, that many things can’t be amazing. The impact of the word has been diminished to the point where it means no more than “better than average” or “noteworthy”. The arugula was better than average; the Brussels sprouts were better than average; the level of competition was noteworthy; and so on. I suppose it is completely natural for people to speak in a vernacular, and with mass communications being what it is, people get exposed to other people’s expressions and manner of speaking quickly. Things have not always been amazing. Mike remembers when things were not to be believed. He remembers sitting in the high school cafeteria one day when he heard a girl at the next table say “I don’t believe these hot dogs!” He wondered at the time what there was to believe about the hot dogs. Or, were the hot dogs really trying to persuade her about something? He realized that she could’ve just as well said “these hot dogs are much better than I thought they were going to be.” Or possibly, she could have said “what in the world is in these hot dogs? They are awful!” In any case, the amazing and noteworthy hot dogs were not to be believed, and either well above or well below average; and if nothing else, deserving of comment. Enough said about that.
So, there’s a lot more to report but it will have to wait. Happy Meadows is an amazing place with so much going on all the time. Mike just dictated “Happy Meadows” for me and the voice recognition program typed “heavy metals”. That is not as funny as some AutoCorrect events such as changing the word Paraclete to parakeet in the minister’s sermon. But it was mildly amusing if not noteworthy. Be safe and be well, and remember, if it’s not about love, it’s not about nothing.