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March 16, 2019: Surround Sound

For sure, language shapes our perception of reality. At the same time, reality shapes our perception of language. It is words that bring images to mind – differing words of course bring differing images.

I could rationalize my having cataract surgery at what I claimed was an early age, the same with my having to have major dental work done. And I could somewhat deny the fact that my being put in the senior citizen strength training class (called life champions) was a age-related proposition. But my having to get a hearing aid, I could not at all deny this was a sign I was getting older. Old people, not young people, have hearing aids.

I finally had to address the matter because my continuing to deny the fact that I was experiencing hearing loss had become an impossibility. I kept having to ask Pete to speak more loudly, which he would not do. And he would not speak directly to me, or come to the edge of the stairs and pass on messages when I was upstairs. If he’d taken this extra step I would have been able to postpone the inevitable. Someday, but not right away, I will forgive him.

So today we went to Costco, the big box store, and took care of the matter. I had previously gone to see an audiologist, but there realized that having one’s hearing tested is not rocket science. Also, Costco replaces lost items.

Alys's hearing test
Alys's hearing test

On the drive home, as we first listened to surf music, and then Neil Young, I realized that I did not purchase hearing aids. Rather, I purchased a surround sound system. And this is what I am going to tell anyone who asks – but no one will because the two speaker systems are quite small. The larger cone-shaped devices are passé.

Listening to the music was like putting on Pete’s headphone speakers and listening to music. This is because each device (I was told) contains six speakers. I looked on the internet a few days ago and saw that the outside sound is transmitted by a computer chip. This is pretty remarkable.

There are a good many of us baby boomers. And because of the advances in technology we’ll now all be able to do as I did this evening, that is stand and listen to the sound of screech owls. This, and later hearing the clicking of the keyboard under my fingers made me aware of the fact that being able to hear is a gift. In my case, the (thankfully) temporary loss of my hearing reminded me of this. In retrospect, what I experienced today was much like what I experienced the day after I had cataract surgery. Prior to having surgery, the landscape around me had gotten progressively more cloudy. But afterwards, the same vistas were crisp and clear again.

Surround sound. Uttering this term, and using it to describe these new auditory devices is, at least in my situation, most apt. It’ll be interesting to see if those in my situation take to the phrase and also feel heartened.

Next: 75. 3/17/19: Tolting the Divide III: Two months and Counting

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