The process of fitting hearing aids is quite complicated. Hearing aids, the audiologist told us, are little computers with software pre-installed. She took about 45 minutes to set up the software and train my father (and me) on how to use them. There are program modes (telephone, noisy crowds, etc) and volume controls and batteries (which need to be changed every 5 to 7 days; we should all be so lucky as to represent the battery manufacturer!) and accessories for cleaning and storing. Not very complicated for us youngsters, but when you're 94, it's a lot to learn. Add to that, being legally blind and it's another whole kettle of fish.
During the training the audiologist told us that the hearing aids will not completely restore my father's hearing to 100%, but are a tool or aid to improve his hearing.
On the way home, I laughingly told my father that he wasn't going to have an excuse to not hear me anymore - you know "selective" hearing. We're all guilty of this at some time or another. Parents filter out their children's noise; husbands filter out their wives and children's noise; we all filter out background noises we become accustom to. An example is the country person who goes to visit their city cousin and can't sleep at night because of all the noise (sirens, cars, people on the streets, bells, etc) that the city person doesn't even hear anymore.
The important question in all of this is - are we transferring our ability to tune out extraneous noises to important conversations, in our personal lives as well as our business lives? With all of the distractions in our busy lives today, we may need to re-think our ability to listen and really hear what is being said.
During the class he related stories - some funny and some tragic - of what can go wrong when we don't listen and hear. Not surprisingly, he also provided us with suggestions and methods for improving our hearing.
If you want to learn more please read my next post "Listening Skills 101".
And don't forget, we all need to use hearing "aids" at one time or another. The key is to know when.