Another sign of ageing this morning, when at the local hospital I got fitted with my new hearing aids.
The family had been pointing out in mostly kind ways that I wasn’t able always to follow conversations as I used to. Asking people to repeat what they have said can be very annoying and having the TV on too loudly is, understandably, very unwelcome. I had got used to looking attentive and reasonably interested when people were talking to me, when in fact sometimes I wasn’t sure what they were saying, and catching their drift was not only not enough, but deceitful and lacking in respect. Mostly, however, I managed and in one-to-one conversations there was usually no problem.
But to admit that here there was a problem felt like yet facing another unwelcome milestone on the road to physical deterioration! I was in part denial.
Eventually I yielded, saw my doctor and was referred to the audiology department of our excellent hospital. I went through a series of tests, which apparently revealed that, whilst I was only a medium case (that was a comfort), I was incapable of hearing higher frequencies.
I hoped therefore that I could be released with a caution, but no, I was advised to join the hard of hearing fraternity, which now I have done.
The difference is plain but not sensational. Street sounds were more intrusive than usual. Coming home on the bus I could hear in more detail what people around me were saying. I have been testing TV sound and it is certainly clearer at a lower volume than previously. As I write the key board is clattering away with a quite new sound. When I speak my voice is amplified in a very odd way. The family clock just above me, is louder than before as the pendulum clicks away. Soon no doubt I shall get used to these new experiences.
All of this of course was free, with lots of spare batteries thrown in as well.
I thanked the audiologist for her help and the gracious way she had dealt with me, affirming as I have often done the superb National Health Service we enjoy in this country. It is the achievement of the Labour Party which is now holding its annual Conference, and being roundly pilloried by the media which presumes to speak for public opinion.
Some chance for the future if the Labour government is replaced at the next General Election!