Did You Hear That?… I Sure Didn’t.

As part of my happiness project, for the month of February of focused on self-care. As previously discussed, I’ve been attempting to exercise, eat healthier, continue my Advocare one80 challenge, and wash my face; each of which I have continued to stay consistent with, even in the month of March. However, there has been one self-care component that I had been dragging my feet on, which is getting my hearing checked.

For a while, it has kind of been a running joke in our family that I can’t hear. On facetime with my family, I’ve been told I constantly interrupt during conversations; which I have tried to blame on spotty cell service. Generally, I watch TV with the closed captioning on; which I attribute to the fact that my mom watches TV that way, and it is just a force of habit. Or perhaps the show *Game of Thrones* has actors with thick accents which are difficult to understand. In group settings and during conversations, I honestly get tired of asking someone to repeat themselves, so I often just smile and nod. So to continue with my self-care plan, and to prove my sister and husband wrong, I decided to make an appointment with an audiologist. But with the previously mentioned examples of my hearing, I think we can all see where this is going.

I arrived at my appointment fully expecting to have this doctor think that I am just some silly 31 year old, who has perfectly fine hearing and a nagging family; especially because the average age of my audiologist’s client is around 70. First up, the doctor tests the air pressure in your ear. Right ear, slightly high yet within the normal range. Left ear, he literally said “whoa!” when he finished the test. I’m obviously not a doctor, but my left eardrum is not able to withstand air pressure well, and where a normal eardrum doesn’t vacillate much, if at all, during the test, mine was shaking like a Polaroid picture. Next up was that beep test where you have to listen for the tone, and push a button when/if you hear the tone. At this point during the test, I feel like I am probably not going to get to say I told you so, and I will probably be hearing it. During the final part of the test, you are told to repeat the word you hear, if you hear it; and I can feel myself failing miserably and also simultaneously realizing that all the justifications I made to myself were actually lies I was telling myself.

When we finished the exam, and the doctor grabbed a set of hearing aids and started programing them. It became increasingly clear that I did not pass the test, and that the only test I would be doing at this point, would be testing out different style hearing aids. I have great (average) low-frequency hearing. However, when it comes to midrange and high frequency, which is the range in which people speak, I have terrible hearing. I need hearing aids. At 31 that is not something that I was anticipating. What was really incredible though, was when I tried on these hearing aids. If you have glasses, it’s almost like the first time that you try on glasses and you see the world so clearly for the first time, not knowing you weren’t truly seeing before. That is what trying on these hearing aids was like. Yes, I couldn’t hear super clear, but I didn’t understand just what I was missing out on. It was incredible. I had a mold taken of my ear canal, so that I can have custom in-the-ear hearing aids made, and was out the door with my price sheet in hand.

When I left I was honestly a little shocked, and relieved, and yet also really upset. In fact, I cried to my husband when talking about it. He tried to reassure me that with my long hair, they wouldn’t be noticeable and that wearing hearing aids is just like wearing glasses, the whole thing. But not of that bothered me. Honestly, after a ton of research the technology has increased tremendously, that it is truly impressive. Literally hearing aids now are bluetooth enabled, so when I go running I don’t even have to ear buds, because I will already have my own.

What I was so upset about, and what I am trying to come to terms with, is the finances of it. With the focus on March on finances, and trying to get control of our budget and debt, learning that in order to hear properly I would need to spend thousands of dollars hurt. I’ve had a million thoughts go through my head since learning about this yesterday, and I’m trying to focus my thoughts on a few things to help process it all. First, knowing this now, while we are focusing on financial planning is actually a good thing. We can work it into our budget and plan accordingly. And second aspect I’m trying to focus on, is that through this happiness project, and focusing on self-care I was able to identify an area where attention was needed that I probably otherwise would have ignored.

Overall, hearing aids are certainly not the end of the world, and I’m honestly excited about how they will improve my quality of life. More to come on this auditory adventure!

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