“Go Stick It In Your Ear”

By Peter E. Gibbons


sordoThose of us who have been married, or had a partner for more than a month or two, know that we experience periods of silence; sometimes welcome!

As the years pass by, a kind of metamorphosis transpires. The silence is replaced by whispering, or a tad above. The barely audible voice is answered irritably by “Watisityousay”? or “Come again”. It never seems to differ irrespective of the distance between voice and ear. This phenomena is peculiar to couples living together.

Away from that domestic environment, everything is normal. Turning one’s ear slightly while engaging in a conversation with an attractive listener half the speaker’s age is a way of showing a devastating profile.

A lower tone may be suggested as the conversation is personal and a tete-a-tete could be developing.

With family and familiar friends, conversation is almost a repetition of the last get together. We smile, guffaw, show sad expressions with reassuring pats on the backs and shoulders, not needing to actually hear what’s being said. And they are doing the same to you.

When a party of similar age margarita drinkers get together, their voices get louder and louder with each drink and nobody notices or pays attention. It would only be when a younger neighbor shouts over the wall “Keep your damned voices down. People are trying to sleep” the revellers might be made aware of an increase in decibel output.

And in spite of all the modern technology the audio in movie theaters and television has not improved, in fact it’s become more muffled with high definition and increased volume makes it worse.

It may take a decade or two before realizing that you are the only one marching in step and perhaps the one with whom you share your house might have a point after all. All of the poking, digging, flushing and nose pinching until the eyes nearly pop out of their sockets, has not helped and reluctantly you have to accept the downside of reaching three score years and ten—loss of hearing. There, I’ve said it!

Fortunately, we no longer need those trumpet things old phonograph players had to stick in our ears to improve the sound; today we have bits of plastic and wire so small it is almost necessary to use tweezers when handling hearing systems. Even those guys who shave off everything above the neck and possibly lower down can wear them without detection. Did Yul Brynner have a hearing problem?

You do not need an anesthetic for an audiologist or what’s known as a “Hearing health professional”, to carry out tests. The only possible thing that hurts is the price, if you need to buy hearing instruments, as they’re known. The consultation is free, professional and extensive including numerous questions, probably of no relevance.

Yes, I did fly in noisy airplanes before jets back in the 40s and 50s. Yes, I fired guns close to my ears, it is what guys in the military do. Yes, I loved hearing loud jazz and big band music and today a full symphony orchestra.

The test revealed on the audiogram a low frequency of Hertz. It was explained this had nothing to do with how often a car is rented but the degree of what is heard. The evidence was irrefutable and I’d reached the point of no return.

With a “Digital Receiver-in-the-Ear (RIE)”, both of them, I walked away hearing sounds so clear that I could almost hear the fish opening and closing their mouths in the pond and I’d paid nothing up front. The company is so convinced the wearer will be equally convinced and buy them. Good marketing.

And since I’ve got ‘em “Stuck in my Ears,” I’m off for lunch. My wife just called me, from a restaurant two blocks away!

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