My New Hearing Aids

My new hearing aids are in my cohabitant’s ears. He hears me so much better now. Even told me I can lower my voice; I don’t need to yell. Cohabitation is a puzzle. No matter who you live with, the pieces are always in motion and fitting them together with grace can be a challenge. For the longest time I was tolerant of the loudness. He listened to loud TV. I had to be loud to be heard. His music was always loud. Then one day I needed his help to rescue a friend’s old dog that had fallen into a drainage ditch. I yelled and yelled, but he didn’t hear me. Yet I could hear him calling my name, looking for me and the dog. It was a big kerfuffle. Hearing as a safety issue struck home. Two weeks later he had his first audiology appointment.

I had a vision for how his improved hearing would impact our cohabitation, but it isn’t working out like I planned. In my head his hearing aids were going to be my new microphone. All my words would be captured, inserted, processed and responded to. With alacrity! Better hearing was going to be the solution to every misunderstanding. It was a Cohabitant’s Dream. A friction free relationship.  

The twin gadgets are the size of beans, and they live in a little electric egg when they’re not in his ears, so they can recharge. One thing I wasn’t expecting — they came with a new cell phone and a new TV. All this new technology is like a facelift for his brain. His old cell phone and TV didn’t have the functionality to connect with his hearing aids, which he controls with an app on his phone. Now he’s part robot. He can appear to be sitting in monkish silence while his earbots are channeling classic rock. The other day, he interrupted our conversation to say, “I’m listening to the Beatles, and you don’t even know it.”

It took me a while to understand how this was going to work. We’re moving out of our old place into our new place, and I’m trying to let him organize his life, although I really just want to boss him around. On Sunday afternoon, he was watching football with the sound off, which he did before he got his earbots. Out of the blue I started talking to him about our move and his approaching massive Goodwill donation of consumer electronics from the 80s and 90s. I thought it would be a touchy subject, but he seemed surprisingly agreeable. I crossed the room in front of him while I was chattering happily about the anticipated purge, and he said, “I can see your lips moving but I can’t hear what you’re saying because I’m listening to the game.” His earbots channel his new TV directly into his mental sports center. Turns out, he actually wasn’t that agreeable to the purge. We’re going to have a shelf of black plastic boxes from the 90s in our new garage. 

I’m glad he got hearing aids because they give him control over the sound around him and make him aware of activity he can’t see. He is safer. But earbots are not the simple solution I expected. They’re not my new microphone. Occasionally he uses them more like ear plugs. We sit silently side-by-side in the livingroom in our separate bubbles. I have no idea what audio he’s streaming. He has no idea what I’m reading. His hearing aids increase the distance between us as much as they improve our connection. Eye contact is the only way to be sure I have his attention before I speak. Of course, that was always the case. The cohabitation puzzle remains complex. The attention economy is real, even at home. I pay for his attention with my attention. He can hear whatever he wants, and sometimes it’s not me. I get it. Now I have to learn to take his choices gracefully.

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6 thoughts on “My New Hearing Aids

  1. Hearing aids make life happier support your brain from getting tired of figuring things out
    They make my partner and I inclusive in our relationship to not be challenged from repeating everything
    Who would ever want to tune you out Billie Best? Do you hear me?😂
    You are the attraction! Wake him up!

  2. Mid Feb I’m getting my very own hearing aids. Not the cheapaest, not hte most expensive. I hope they work. I don’t plan on using them at rehearsals or on stage, but who knows. My Very Cute audiologist pointed out that the impulse from ear to brain would continue to be compromised and atrophy into total deafness if I didn’t get the things. So there ya go. Part of me looks forward to them. Another still prefers ‘creative listening’ and not having to deal with endless mind numbing chatter either from myself or from some other idiot.

    1. You might find that you can tune your hearing aids to hear yourself better on stage. And they’re designed to tune out mind numbing chatter from other people. You still have to live with yourself.

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