I started playing guitar when I was 10 yrs. old, now at 61 yrs. old I play guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, whistle, piano, and organ, with a lot of military drumming in the mix.  One thing I don’t think any of us expect is loss of hearing.  Why? Because it actually happens gradually and we get used to the way we are hearing things.


About 2 yrs. ago, my wife finally got fed up and told me to bite the bullet and get my hearing checked.  As the dutiful husband I am ;), I did.  The results were astounding, 60% loss of hearing, and not only that but also next to no hearing in the upper range.  That explains the marble in the mouth concept I had of others who were talking to me, and me telling my students to play louder, don’t be such a wimp.  OOPS!!!!


As a musician and music teacher this can be devastating to some.  It was a little to me.  But yes ladies and gents, we have the technology. Although hearing aids have been around quite a long time, there is a type now that is absolutely wonderful over the older style.  One can have them programmed for just about anything, even listening to your IPod via Bluetooth, even with the volume turned down to zero on the IPod.


With this in mind I still find a glitch, albeit a small one actually.  When I began to wear them I found the sound a little tinny, kind of like listening to a soup can on the end of a string.  Anyone remember doing that?  I also found that I had to “relearn” listening to music.


When I heard my violin for the first time with my “new” ears, I was astonished and embarrassed at my intonation.  I guess the best word would be YUK!!! Another thing that bothered me was the fact that I could hear the bow hairs along the strings.  A bag of screeching cats would not be enough to describe the irritation I was receiving from this.  So I went back to the hearing place and asked them to adjust the hearing aids.  To my astonishment I found out that they were working fine.  I needed time to adjust to them.  They were right and I was….w-r-o-n-g.


There are 3 adjustments I can make on these little gadgets, one for “normal” hearing, one for dimming the background noise (not eliminating it by the way), and another for music.  I like the music one to the annoyance of my students.  They really have to watch their intonation now.  HEEHEE.


I also learned that hearing with these is not the same as what my “normal” hearing would have been, seeing that one is using, basically, a receiver-amplifier-transmitter device, so really it is like listening through mini speakers.  I guess that these little gadgets can only filter out a certain amount of “white” noise, but one gets used to it.  We did reset the volume a little; at first I could hear my neighbours across the street (about 100 yrds.), and the white noise has diminished a little more now.


Yes there are days when my violin sounds like a bag of screeching cats, and then days not so much.  But to hear the ambiance of an orchestra, or a ceilidh band again without hindrance is worth every red cent these gadgets cost.  So if you have been avoiding them, may I suggest trying them out?  Happy Hearing!!!

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