Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Life inside a horror movie

So what’s it like to wear hearing aids for the first time? It’s a little like living in the sound track of a horror movie. Floors groan, doors squeak, clocks tick, people sigh, papers crackle, computer keys clack, sirens wail, the TV drones in the distance. And that’s on a quiet day. I’ve lived in Silent World so long that such things are novel and distracting. Then there are the sounds I can’t identify—the weird susurrations and beeps that must be the borborygmi of the universe, or at least the universe that is New York. 

Other than that, and the slight echo that halos speech, it’s great. I can hear what people say, even in a crowded room. “What?” is no longer my automatic response to any utterance. Indeed, now I can be the one who acts annoyed when someone asks “What?” 

But the idea of having a thing that costs as much as a Mac Pro stuck in each ear makes me nervous. I keep rubbing the bits behind my pinnas—they sound like sandpaper when they’re on—to reassure myself that they’re still there. And I can’t quite imagine wearing earrings anymore. Too much stuff to load onto one flap of flesh.

Every day I wake up curious about what new sounds I’ll hear, what strange things people will whisper to each other. My biggest fear, that I would overhear people saying cruel things about me, has not materialized. It’s been so exciting to live in Noisy Town that I want to crank the volume higher and higher, to see what more there is out there to hear. Sadly my audiologist didn’t put the controls in my hands. Perhaps wisely, she left the volume to the chips to manage.

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