Ode to the Modern Hearing Aid
For nineteen years I struggled to contextualize, connect and comprehend.
As if I was born and lived underwater in a landlubber's land.
My first hearing aids plucked me from the deep.
That day, I sat in my Toyota
and wept with gratitude and grief.
Tear for all the confusion, misunderstandings
and unheard words that had passed me by.
Gratitude for nerdy audiology scientists who cared enough,
for Peter Gabriel who gifted me Solsbury Hill as a welcome
to the beautiful loud world above the water.
Like a cell phone, each upgrade had a new bell and whistle-
A beep for low battery, later an internal Siri-like voice calmly stated "replace battery".
The next edition receiver focused only forward because what is most important
must always be in front.
The last valued speech above all else,
other decibels compressed and squeezed thin.
Like switching from a flip phone to an iPhone 7,
twenty-five years and six pairs of hearing aids later
the nerdy audiology heroes have done it again.
Receivers that scan the whole wide world!
Three hundred and sixty degrees of corrected hearing
for the first time in forty-four years.
They call it Effortless Hearing!
All the sounds granted entry into my brain.
Sounds up in front, sounds to the left and to the right,
sounds bring up the rear.
Small sounds, bring sounds, medium sounds, voice and everything else:
Pencil on paper scrapes.
My husband breathes in and out.
Spider plant leaves rustle.
My swallow squishes.
Sarcastic mutterings, lip smacks and loud chewing.
The refrigerator whirs and hums.
Dog feet pad on the hard wood floor.
My own footsteps creak in front and behind my stride.
The knife snaps down on the cutting board.
My name from behind and I turn around.
The mouse scratches at its pad and clicks out loud.
My son's full voice, new to me, suits him so well.
Thank you, genius of Effortless Hearing,
Thank you for understanding that although speech is the story of the land,
all the other sounds bring the color.