As a tall and average built Swede, I’ve never had any reason to shop in the ‘petite’ section – until now.
Yesterday I went to see Nick, my friendly and extremely tech-savvy audiologist to discuss a replacement for the hearing aid I recently lost.
It turns out that things move fast in the hearing aid business and what was high-tech two years ago, is now practically antiquated.
“Do you want to go down the path of connectivity or the path of comfort and aesthetics?” Nick asked me as we sat down in his office.
“Huh?” I had no idea what he was talking about. “What’s connectivity,” I asked, feeling rather stupid.
“I mean, do you want to be able to control your hearing aid remotely with your iPhone and use it for listening to music?”
“Wow, can it do that?” I replied, sounding more like a 20-something hipster than a mature and dignified 45-year old.
It is true I am a gadget junkie of the first degree and the idea of being able to use a mobile phone app to control my hearing aid thrilled me. Suddenly, my hearing loss appeared less a liability and more a convenient excuse for acquiring yet another fun gadget.
But in the end, the sensible part of me, as well as the overriding concern about comfort, overruled my desire for a cool gadget to play with and I opted for a small, invisible hearing aid with no added extras.
What sold it to me was the prospect of popping a tiny piece of technology into my ear and forget about it. No more poking my ear to readjust an ill-fitting hearing aid.
Before I could be fitted with my new piece of equipment, Nick needed to make a cast of my ear canals. Examining my ears with an otoscope, he exclaimed:
“You have rather petite ear canals.”
I must confess to being ridiculously pleased to hear my ears complimented, although the size of them has no real bearing on the functioning of my ears.
To make a cast of said ear canals, Nick first put some foam in my ears, followed by a bright green play-dough-like substance. There was a brief moment when both ears were completely blocked by the moulds, and I could hear absolutely nothing.
“So, this is what it feels like to be deaf,” I thought.
I left Nick’s office feeling giddy with excitement about my new hearing aids and relieved that a hearing test had shown no further deterioration in my already mediocre hearing.
Being hard of hearing can be an isolating experience that affects confidence, interpersonal relations and one’s sense of security. Although I am rather partial to silence, I feel ready to welcome the new world of sounds that a pair of hearing aids make available.
Just as long as I can switch them off when my kids start arguing.