Jul. 16th, 2009

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So I got these hearing aids.

They are inch-long plastic triangles that sit on top of my ears, each with a long and fairly stiff wire molded to reach from there down to my ear canal, ending (at some depth for which I have not yet determined the optimum value) in a tiny bead-like speaker. Each tiny speaker, unfortunately, is capped by a big floppy disposable silicone wedge designed to cork up the ear from the outside world, and as an earwax shield. These tickle and at the end of the day itch, and often cause an underwater why-won't-my-ears-pop sensation.

They have a startup chime. It starts playing after a short delay, to give you time to stuff the hearing aids in first. I get a certain nerdy glee out of listening to it. The box they came in is clearly designed with those gearhead "unboxing" videos in mind. They are shockingly expensive.

There was some cognitive dissonance the day I went to put my ipod headphones in my ears only to be reminded that there was already something in there.

I honestly cannot decide whether they are helping me hear better or not. Things certainly sound different -- when the doctor first turned them on the difference was startling -- but I can never judge, when somebody says something that I don't quite catch, whether it's because the hearing aids aren't doing enough or the person was just inaudible or even if I'd be able to hear it better without these chunks of plastic in my ears. When I wear them I am more conscious of background noises, birdsong or fan noise or whatever's going on, but whether that is a good sign or a bad one I am not equipped to say.

I have 60 days to make up my mind (before I lose the option to get most of my money back for returning them. Insurance? No. Personal check.)

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