So I am getting my hearing tested this Friday. Dave has been getting increasingly annoyed when I yell, “what’s that, sonny boy?” or just nod and smile, hoping that’s an acceptable answer. Or don’t know that he’s said anything at all. Or think he’s said, “I’m bleeding” when he’s really said that he’s reading.
It’s a little depressing to contemplate hearing aids at 30. THIRTY, fer chrissakes. (And before you ask, yes, I had the doctor look in my ears to see if there was just a wax build up. Nope.) I’m hoping that maybe it’ll turn out that there’s just a notch in my hearing right on Dave’s vocal range and that’s why I can’t hear him unless he’s ranting or flat-out yelling. (The notch thing happened to a friend of mine after a head injury and now he can’t hear his wife when she whispers in his left ear. Only his wife, only whispering, only on the left. I haven’t had any head injuries that I know of, but hope springs eternal.)
More likely I’ve got damage from a myriad of ear infections before the age of 4. I went completely deaf for a while, actually. This escaped everyone’s notice for a long time because my mom had three other little kids running around and she paid more attention to them. Just kidding, Mom! I know you’re reading! It actually escaped everyone’s notice because as my hearing faded I learned to lip read. Finally my nursery school teachers figured out that if I was at the front of the class and looking at them, I followed instructions well; at the back of the class and not paying attention, I was clueless. So I got ear tubes and all was well. Or hey, maybe I damaged my hearing listening to the Pixies really loud on my walkman through GameBoy headphones when I was 15. (Remember when ear buds were like, revolutionary?) Doesn’t matter anyway, it’s done now.
But I guess in a way I’m lucky to have had braces at 9, glasses at 11 and acne at 22. Because it got me used to humiliation early! Also, I never associated aging with the need for medical intervention on basic functions (chewing, seeing, facing the world without looking like I’d fallen face down through the broken glass factory). So apart from the aesthetics of wearing big pinkish beige boxes* behind my ears and the fun of telling people in bars and at parties that I’m “hard of hearing”, an old person line if I ever heard one, I don’t care too much. My mom just got hearing aids and those things are fucking awesome – they’re tiny and super discreet and her hearing has improved a ton, which is great. Of course Mom has the Rolls Royce of hearing aids, not the BlueCross BlueShield specials I would sport, but whatever. Maybe by the time I’m her age, I’ll be able to afford a better class of hearing aid, too.
* This makes me wonder if, like BandAids, hearing aids only come in white person colors or “clear” or if there are more options. I’d like mine to be metallic green. A really acidic bile color.