I recently received my first pair of hearing aids. At the age of forty-one.
Do you know how jarring it is to realize that you’ve forgotten that things like car engines, dishwashers, and microwaves make noise? I left the provider’s office with a look of complete wonder on my face — I heard the gravel under my feet, the keys jangling loudly in my hand, the cars passing each other on Eola Road. I had forgotten there was such a thing as background noise, and before long it all began to overwhelm and distract me and I had to take the aids out.
Once I received my bluetooth remote, I was able to start listening to music, Netflix, and audiobooks. I’ve always been an avid reader, mostly Stephen King novels, and of course the first thing I did was download Audible and order “It,” my favorite book. I finished it in three days, then ordered another. And another. And another. And now, after little over a month with my hearing aids, I’ve listened to seven novels through them. Hearing someone narrate a book to me — it’s a new, wonderful experience. I see characters in a totally different way than I normally would had I read the book myself. I’m completely engrossed and enthralled. My favorite at this point is Lauren Beukes’ “The Shining Girls.” I listened to “Broken Monsters” first, decided I really loved that it was read by multiple narrators, then ordered the second one. How it resonated with me is a story for another time, but I loved it so much that I subsequently listened to it again after I finished it. I’m now listening to it again after finishing Gillian Flynn’s “Sharp Objects.”
I know at some point the new will wear off, and the sounds and the feelings will become routine and commonplace, but for now I’ll enjoy it all.