Craving Music

When my hearing loss was diagnosed, after the initial shock, I adopted my hearing aids pretty fast. You must have gone through the same kind of mental process: “Wow I’m deaf —Oh no, I’m not, not just because someone tells me my hearing is not up to par, I didn’t turn deaf between yesterday and today, did I? —I can hear what they’re saying, I’m not hard of hearing. —Hearing aids? Wow, they were right, that feels so much better!”

CDs in a shelf

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Impressions on New Hearing Aids

As promised, here are my impressions of the Bolero hearing aids I’m currently trying out (hoping I don’t get any of the technical stuff wrong here, do tell me if I did!). They have open tips, like my Widex ones have, but are BTE (entirely behind-the-ear) rather than RIC (with the receiver, the part that produces sounds, directly in the ear canal — this would be the Phonak Audéo model, which I might try in future). My Phonak audiologist Jennifer tells me it doesn’t change much, acoustically: a RIC just moves some of the technology away from behind the ear, allowing the part that sits there to be smaller — important for those, who, like Steve, appreciate when their hearing aids are invisible.

Phonak Bolero Q90

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Punk Rock Proof — Or How Hearing Aids Changed my Taste in Music

I once had hearing aids that were punk rock proof. I was 17. For me, they were some of the best devices I have ever worn, mainly because they were the first that had a great noise canceling feature. Sometimes, in noisy restaurants, I would hear and understand better than my well-hearing parents and their friends. The otherwise unbearably loud chatter in the crowded restaurant was attenuated to a gentle whisper. Do not underestimate this: I, being hard of hearing, heard much better than everybody else at the table. Such joy!

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Photo credit: GothEric

But then again, I was 17. I was rebellious. I liked punk rock at that time. I am talking about bands like The Exploited or Dead Kennedys. My devices, though, turned this kind of music down. Every time, thoroughly and without hesitation. My hearing aids were every parent’s dream.

I clearly remember this one night, when I was going to some party with a friend. We were in my car, I was driving, a warm summer night, windows down and the radio up. Or actually, not that up. So I kept turning it up a little bit more in order to hear the music better. And then again, because somehow, I still could not hear it. And again — until my friend finally punched me in the side, yelling because otherwise I would not have heard him, that I please cut that out.

The following weekend, I was at the local lake with my friends and we had my portable music player with us. As there were other people around I kept the volume to a medium level — or so I thought. That is some experience when it is not the bourgeois older people who tell you to please turn it down but your very own punk friends.

It was around that time that I started listening to more melodic stuff.

I never told my parents that perhaps my hearing aids contributed more to my becoming a bit more square and integrated into mainstream society than they ever did — at least with respect to music.