I got my hearing aids yesterday. Verdict: the world is really fucking loud.
The ear lady (audiologist?) called me practically in tears telling me she either needed to move my appointment up or to another day. Nothing was going right for her that day and she needed to leave early. I should have scheduled it for another day, knowing her state of mind was not quite right, but I was anxious to be able to hear, so I showed up one hour later.
She plunked the hearing aids down on the table and my heart dropped. They were the sickly nude color I specifically said I did not want. Since I chose the cheapest possible style, the only other color available was an odd gray that really did appear more like the color of dead skin, but I preferred it anyway. Flesh tone is a color that has always freaked me out and when I saw the hearing aids were that color, I began to sob right there in her office. I was besieged by the moment of my life changing to something else and the fact that it was a connection to my mother that I could never talk with her about. Plus, if I am going to pay so much for something, it should be a better color. This is when I realized that I was not embracing being hard of hearing by wanting a jazzy color for the hearing aids, but it was more a way to disguise it. The flesh color screams: Old Lady Hearing Aids! Bright red with silver could say: Blue tooth technology!
I am sure the ear lady was wondering how much worse her day could get and was regretting having a first timer in her office when she was in such a rush, but she put on her soothing voice, apologized for the error, gave me a tissue & soldiered on.
I asked her if I could try these out and then in a few weeks try out an upgraded pair that cost almost twice as much, but offer a larger range of hearing in different conditions so I could have something to compare. She agreed and sealed the deal by letting me know that the pricier pair comes in my favorite color: Midnight blue!
The first thing I noticed when I put the hearing aids in was how loud my own voice is. It now sounds like a bull horn in my head. Every breath and swallow is like a shout. Forget about me eating corn chips while wearing these babies. She said my brain would tire quickly as it tried to process all the new sounds, like the squeak in my shoe, the rustle of paper, the scratch of my own hair as it brushes the tiny microphone, a distant siren. Just driving in my car this morning was overwhelming. The heating fan was a wind tunnel, and what the hell is that squeaking noise? I never knew how much racket the world makes. I am excited to hear everything, but a little glad I can still just turn it off with a flick of a switch.