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

Once again I could hear the gravel in our street when I was parking. I realized that all this time, when I had been blaming the television for its lack of high frequencies, it was not because of its low quality but because of my own loss in the high frequency zone. Happy with my hearing aids, within one month of having them. I’m told it’s not that frequent, people adopting them so quickly.

What still shocked me though was that my hearing loss is progressive. They tell me it’s as if my ears were 65 whereas I’m only 43. So I know for a fact that my ears will age faster than me, so to speak. I can’t even guess how deaf (or not) I’ll be when I’m 60, we’ll see when time comes.

I’ve surprised myself in the last few years being more and more eager for music. The logistics are not always that easy though: if I want to put my headset on in the office, I first have to turn my hearing aids off as they gather too much ambient sound and the result is very strange, with low frequencies coming from the music and high ones from people around you. Very, very strange.

I ended up connecting to music platforms and listening to stuff I hadn’t really thought about previously. Young bands people mention in conversations, but also older stuff that I had promised myself I’d listen to “some other time, later” (Michael Nyman’s brass, for example). Even my collection of CDs, some of them piled up in the dust, was revived as I looked for stuff I hadn’t listened to in a long time (Once upon a time, the aptly named, by Simple Minds).

I guess it’s like when you know you’re leaving a place you love tomorrow: you want to embrace it all while it lasts. Most people will end up not hearing well, it’s normal and goes with aging. But only a few of us know so early in our lives what really looms ahead. It’s both frightening as you know for sure that your ears will end up in a perpetual twilight that will turn darker and darker, yet it’s also an opportunity as I’m more aware of the unavoidable: I want to seize every day of my hearing life while it lasts (a thought for Robin Williams in passing).

4 thoughts on “Craving Music”

  1. Stephane, do you have a music program installed in your hearing aids? My audiologist didn’t include a music setting until I asked her if one was available. The music program has become my favorite part of the hearing aids. With that program activated, I can hear a lot of the overtones and percussive tones that would otherwise be missing. It’s not that I don’t hear the notes without my hearing aids, but I don’t hear the full richness of the sound. It’s kind of like a movie that transforms from black-and-white to color; all of the sudden, you realize there’s a lot of depth you were missing.

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