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April 23, 2019: Surround Sound: An Update

I’ve now had a surround sound system in my ears for a single month. It is time for an update from this squarely in the middle baby boomer. I have some interesting insights to share.

I wear the surround sound devices on occasion, mainly when I am heading to town and need to interact with others. I should, but I do not wear them much at home because a great deal of time I’m alone, so why bother? I also wear them out on the trail. They seem to stay in place – I have not had any problems with them coming off or dangling from my ears.


I do not, after this amount of time, think that they are as good as the real thing. If you think about it, hearing is a marvel of nature. The ear modulates the sound and the brain interprets it. The brain also makes adjustments in terms of our acuity, which is something that the surround sound devices can’t do. So I am constantly having to adjust the volume.

I am having a hard time in rooms that have poor acoustics. I’m also having a hard time mediating between two people who are involved in a discussion. For instance, Dorothy, our wilderness responder teacher, is adept at projecting her voice. But some of the students in the class are not. So I have to adjust and readjust the volume, depending on who is speaking.

I’m also not quite sure about the volume control, and which ear controls what.

I’m getting better at dealing with maintenance issues. I know now when I need to replace the batteries and how to do this. And I now know when I need to remove the little white plugs and how to do this. This is all that can go wrong. But of course, for me, the hardest thing to deal is time-related. I just don’t want to take the time and deal with these mundane tasks. But, I know that I must if I want to hear what others have to say.

The question, then, is this: do I really want to hear what others have to say? I am not sure. For some time I have been tuning people out and not paying them much mind because it took more energy than I had on hand to hear them. I had to listen very carefully and also read their lips. And if I could not understand what they were saying, I had to pretend as though I had. This of course is unhealthy. I suspect that many who live like this end up having Alzheimer’s disease. Now that I’m hearing more, I am listening more, which requires far less effort than previously.

And additionally, for the longest time I thought that Pete was speaking too softly. Now, with my surround sound devices in place, I sometimes think that he’s speaking too loudly. I now understand that hearing has a perceptual element to it.

This, then, is where I am at this point time on my surround sound journey.

Next: 112. 4/24/19: Over- and Underwhelmed, defined

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