These phrases have become such a part of my everyday conversation that I might even miss them — well, maybe not. You see, I have moderate hearing loss.
The term "moderate hearing loss" doesn't sound too bad; it can, however, be an enormously frustrating affliction. While most people in their 20s sigh in irritation when their grandparents ask them to speak up, I actually sympathize with my grandparents and understand what they go through.
You really have no idea how difficult it is to pick up the phone and know someone is on the other end, but not be able make out what they are saying.
My hearing loss is in a specific range of frequencies. Basically, I have trouble with the higher pitch of a woman's voice.
To be honest, I am actually a little concerned at what my hearing will be like when I get to my grandparents' age — I'm only 26 — but I will cross that bridge when I get to it. I am hoping by then that medical technology will have advanced to a point whereby I can have completely bionic hearing, but in the meantime I will settle for my snazzy new hearing aids.
Yep, I am officially partially bionic! These tiny little wonders are custom made, fit right inside my ear canal and are almost invisible. Mind you, I was so frustrated with my hearing loss that I would have settled for a tin can strapped to my head if it would have helped.
I've been wearing my new hearing aids for a week, so far, and let me just say, you "hearing" people don't know how good you have it.
I have to admit it was a little overwhelming at first. Walking out of the hearing centre was a virtual symphony of sound. The beep of the seatbelt alert on my car, the rustling of my jacket and the near-deafening sound of my son crying for his bottle were all in surround sound, but I loved every minute of it. I could do without the magnified sound of eating my lunch, but you take the good with the bad, right?
To all my family, friends and co-workers — thanks for being so patient with my hearing loss. From speaking up to making sure you faced me when you spoke, I appreciated it all. I imagine my new bionic status will be an adjustment for you as well. I recently asked my husband to turn down the TV the other night. He looked at me in utter disbelief, eyes wide as saucers, and repeated "DOWN?" I just smiled; it was a complete novelty for us both.
While I'm still adjusting to the land of the hearing, I think I'm going to like it over here. My bionic status did not come cheap — at $3,500, these little gems in my ears are worth more than my wedding rings — but I know it was worth it. I understood that when I heard my son giggle at me and realized just what I had been missing.
I am now on a crusade for all the hearing-impaired people out there.
When you get a prescription for glasses, you have a dizzying array of frames to choose from. Everyone knows eyeglasses can be quite the fashion accessory. Why is it, then, that people try to hide their hearing aids? Hearing is just as important as vision in terms of navigating through life.
If you wear hearing aids, sport them with pride. In my humble opinion, they are the best accessory you will ever wear.
Jodi Hargreaves is a bionic woman living in Winnipeg.