I got my first hearing aid three days ago. It was very very long overdue since I have been deaf in my right ear since I was a child. The audiologist said she had never seen someone so excited to have a hearing aid. She said I will be able to hear things I haven’t ever heard before but I didn’t believe her. I was so wrong! I found myself sitting outside just listening with a kind of timid joy to the chaos of noises.
It takes about six months to get used to a hearing aid. Your brain has to adjust to hearing through it or hearing sounds at all, to redevelop neural pathways.
At first it is difficult to separate background noises from what you want to hear. During conversations sometimes traffic is too loud or birds singing sound like they are right behind me but it is infinitely improved on what it used to be.
I always felt a little isolated due to my hearing problems. Group conversations were very hard to follow as well as talking in pubs, night clubs or in the cinema. It was especially difficult when sitting in cars to hear any one else talk. I would guess what people said, try to infer from what I could hear but I made many mistakes and ended up having a reputation for random speech. It’s also very tiring to always be on alert.
Now I feel a little more relaxed. I’ve even been turning my radio and TV volume down for the first time ever and I’ve suddenly discovered how loud fridges are as well as ticking clocks. I realised that my whole family talk very very loudly; no doubt because I could never hear them. Now I feel like telling them to shush- talk ever so gently. I can hear myself talk now, which is something I didn’t realise I couldn’t do. My voice is always either inappropriately loud or tiny mouse quiet. Now I can hear the sound of myself walking and the rustle of clothes.
My favourite sound is birdsong, the lilting musical trills from outside. Sudden reminders of connection that I’m learning to love. It’s still only early days and I’m looking forward to discovering more 🙂
Somewhere there is music playing. I must be off to investigate.