Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Another Tuesday

I woke up at 9am (dreams about grocery shopping fading), checked for hairballs as I walked to the kitchen, nuked a mug of cold coffee, fed and watered the cats, watched 10 minutes of Oprah (can't recall what was on Oprah--I was still waking up), looked for jobs online, posted on Illinois Horse, checked over my budget for the thousandth time, took a run to the barn, rode Limerick (worked on transitions; got her to canter from a halt for the first time in years), sponged her off, chatted to the owner of the Arabian mare in the stall across the aisle (I had to tell her I couldn't hear her after she looked away from me while talking and she said, Oh! Sorry!, turns out her mare has Cushing's and she is overwhelmed), told the owner of said Arabian mare I would pin a note with the link to the Equine Cushing's Yahoo Group to her mare's stall door, ran back home, did yoga and pilates, took a shower, took the dreaded trip to the grocery store (I loathe the grocery store. I wish my food would magically manifest as needed), came home and kissed my husband (who had just gotten home from work--it was 8pm), watched Hell's Kitchen, kissed hubby good night, checked my email and Illinois Horse, and here I am.

That, other than the grocery store, is a pretty typical day for me.

Advice of the Day: If you are wearing shorts and your cats are overdue for a trim, do not invite the one that loves to knead, knead, knead onto your lap.

I feel the need to talk about my hearing aid. It drives me INSANE. There, I said it.

In 2001, I got a newfangled digital hearing aid. It allowed me to hear things I have never heard before. A teakettle's piercing whistle. The tags and bells on cat collars jingling. The hum of the fridge. The shhhhh of a "shhhh". The beep of the I-Pass on my mom's Ford Explorer. Listening to the CDs in my car was difficult--I felt like I was hearing them all for the first time.

In 2006, I was at my audiologist's office when I mentioned that the health insurance with my employer allows one new hearing aid every three years, maximum $2,500. My audiologist's eyes lit up. "I have just the thing!"

A month later, "just the thing" was in my left ear. Noise was everywhere. Clothes rustled. Chairs creaked. The sound of traffic driving by was tremendous. I was able to distinguish the meows of my cats. I had to re-learn my CDs all over again.

Unfortunately, the hearing aid comes with a price--feedback. With past hearing aids, only people near me could hear the feedback. I never had a clue.

Now I can hear it as well as them. In fact, half the time, only I can hear it. It sounds somewhere between a mechanical baby crying and whistling or buzzing.

Apparently the hearing aid does not like moisture within a thousand yards of me, nor can it tolerate the ear mold shifting a micromillimeter.

Feedback occurs in the following situations: if my hair is wet, if I laugh or smile, if I eat, if I yawn, if I talk, if my hair is down, if my hair is up, if I'm wearing a hat or helmet, if I turn my head quickly, if I lay down, if I hear something unexpected (my left ear--the one I wear hearing aids in--has the strange ability to perk up like a dog's, which it does involuntarily).

When my old digital hearing aid's battery would die, it would gradually fade over the course of three to four days. One battery lasted three weeks.

With the current hearing aid, one battery lasts a week, and when it dies, the hearing aid stabs my ear drum with a shrill BEEP! The quicker the battery is dying, the quicker the beeps come. I usually have very little warning. Due to this, I need to try to remember to carry a battery around with me wherever I go. I don't always remember.

To top it off, somehow, water is constantly getting into the ear mold tube. When this happens, the tube is plugged and I can't hear squat. I need to remove my hearing aid, pop the tube off the hearing aid, and blow into it to dislodge the water. I absolutely refuse to do this in public (I'll excuse myself to the bathroom), and I will do it in my car but I am 100% positive it looks like I am taking a hit off a miniature crack pipe when I do so.

So...big headaches for the price of hearing "well".

This digital hearing aid is a fantastic, albeit sensitive, piece of technology, though. It sorts through the traffic of sound entering its tiny microphone, selects what is important, and manifests and sharpens these selections. It reads the disadvantages of my biological hearing system and empathizes sounds or tones that I have the most difficulty hearing. Isn't that remarkable?

That said, I'm dying for a trip to the audiologist. I need a new ear mold tube or my hearing aid tuned up, or both. Unfortunately, since my insurance expired almost a month ago, I'm afraid it would cost me an arm and a leg.

One last note--my hearing aid did not squawk feedback into my ear once during the writing of this blog, despite three yawns and my hair being down. If it wasn't for the sound of Windy the Rat running on her wheel four feet to my left, I would have thought something was wrong.

1 comment:

Shell said...

just to let you know I'm reading your blog.