I went to the audiologist yesterday and, actually, had a good report, all things considered. As most of you know I am losing my hearing, and I recently I have started to lose more of the "understanding" aspect of my hearing than the actual "noise" level. The audiologist explained it like this: along the nerve path from my ear to my brain, I have these 'pot holes' where some of the sounds fall into and don't make it all the way to the brain. Thus, I lose those sounds. That is why I am so intent on being able to see someones mouth when they speak, because I can usually make out what they are saying by lip reading. I am also smart enough to follow a conversation and imagine what a person is saying because it "fits" the conversation at hand.
David has noticed recently that he changes topics on me mid-sentence (as he always has and I have always found that to be an endearing quality about him) but now-a-days, I get somewhat confused by what he is talking about. This is due to my not hearing what he is saying and in my mind, I am going one way with the topic at hand and he has switched topics. So I get this bewildered look on my face and say, "What are you talking about?" It's because I have to take what little I am hearing and put it with what my eyes see their lips saying and then use my brain to think about what you're probably trying to say and then try to put it all together into a coherent thought. When I don't get all three of those things working together, then I get lost in the conversation and have to try to pick up where I can.
This, unfortunately, has also resulted in what I call a 'bad' habit of mine. When I am around David or anyone that I know and call a friend, I have no issue saying "what", "huh", or looking at them like "I'm lost, repeat that". But when I am around folks I do not know, I feel as if I'm troubling them to repeat things, so I struggle if I miss part of the conversation. I realize that is not fair to them, so I am working on asking people to repeat themselves and to also make sure to look at me when they speak. The few times I have done that, most people do not seem to mind. Although there was one young man in San Francisco that I asked him to repeat what he said (we were in a crowded bar for God's sake) and he just said, "Never mind" and walked away. Ugh! I felt bad because I had to ask him to repeat what he said but I had no idea what he was saying . . .
So my hearing continues to deteriorate; however, they let me know that by wearing my hearing aids, I can actually slow the progression of hearing loss. It's been proven that if you use your hearing aids, and thus, use your ears, then the progression of hearing loss is slowed. It's a "use it or lose it" kind of mentality. Even so, I wear them all of the time, except to bed.
So that's the update on my hearing. Looking forward to seeing all of you during my travels!!
Your Leather Brother,