It is not like I hear things at a lower volume. When I don’t wear my hearing aids it’s like I only hear parts of things and often I can’t understand some of the words. If I am facing you, I can almost always make out what what’s being said because I read lips quite well.
But if I close my eyes or if I am not facing you, chances are I will not make out what you are saying. I know you are talking but the words are not clear.
I started to wear hearing aids when I was a kid and I wore them into university. But I hated them and often I just didn’t use them. Sure, I would put them in for a lecture or a movie but I would pull them out right after. It was not that I was embarrassed. It was the fact that they made everything much too loud and it was just exhausting to live life at such a high volume. Sure the aids made people’s voices louder but they also made the air conditioning sound like a 747.
Eventually I stopped wearing them, thinking I could function pretty well without them.
And I was, I guess, except in those situations where I had to pay attention to more then one conversation at a time. Finally, a few years ago I realized I was missing too much in meetings at work and I decided to bite the bullet. I was getting very tired of trying really really hard to hear. And I was getting tired of being out of the loop. Asking what happened in a meeting you attended can raise eyebrows. Were you asleep, Chris?
My audiologist told me things had vastly improved in hearing aid technology and the new digital hearing aids would amplify the sounds I need to hear (like speech) but would stop the old 747 A/C problems that I dreaded.
He was right. My new aids are incredible. And when I am not wearing them I realize how very much I was missing.