I had one of those defining watershed life changing moments last year. I was at the dining room table with my laptop open in front of me and was vaguely aware that one of the cats had jumped onto the table and was sitting with its nose about a foot away from my face. I was too engrossed in the latest shenanigans of English Premier League soccer to really notice.
Then my wife said something to which I responded, “Yes dear”, as I always do. Then she followed up with, “Did you hear what I said?” I muttered, “Yes, something about the eighteenth century.” This brought peals of laughter as she informed me that what she’d really said was, “Strauss is staring at you with laser-like intensity.”
Was this selective hearing on my part? Sadly no, it was a realization that I had become hard of hearing. That’s why it had become virtually impossible for me to watch TV without closed captioning. When had Bart Simpson started mumbling? He always used to be so witty.
Then I thought of all the compromised conversations I’d had when I’d not really heard what the other person said but responded with “Yes” and a smile anyway. What had I been agreeing to?
The boomer curse, first you need eyeglasses, then hearing aids.
Fortunately help was close by at the Winnipeg Hearing Centre on Grant Avenue. This facility run by Ken Tugby is one of five throughout the city that have been helping Winnipeggers with hearing issues since 1943.
Ken is a doctor of audiology, a graduate of Laurentian and Western Ontario universities and the Arizona School of Health Science and with 19 years of experience under his belt he is amply qualified to assist you.
He fitted me with a pair of digital hearing aids and the difference they made was remarkable. Gone are the huge flesh coloured devices your grandparents may have had that whistled when you got too close. Today’s devices are miniscule, very light and discreet. The “open fit” devices he supplied to me are surprisingly comfortable to wear and more importantly very effective.
My hearing loss may be age related, it may be due to spending years working in noisy environments or it could be from listening to loud music. Unfortunately we can’t stop aging but if your daily business puts you in a loud industrial setting, I cannot over-emphasize the importance of wearing hearing protection. Likewise to all the people I see with ear buds connected to their i-pods, I just hope you have the volume at a reasonable level.
Speaking of music one of Ken’s area of specialization is hearing conservation and rehabilitation of musicians. This includes providing in-ear monitors for musicians that allows bands to dispense with bulky on-stage monitors and speakers yet still have that personal feedback of their music piped straight into their ear.
But there are side effects to wearing hearing aids. I’ve discovered that the floorboards creak in my house and all those electronic devices are constantly beeping, and I can also hear what people say about me now, so be careful.