My ears have been going downhill for years. I my first pair of hearing aids in 2001. They were “Canta” by Resound. Since then I’ve had to get new ones about every 5 years because they just wear out. And it turns out the technology leaps forward pretty quickly. The newest aids always have substantial improvements. I’ve tried Widex and Phonak brands in addition to ReSound.

Sheila and I also spent a week at the University of Washington Hearing Department’s training for hard-of-hearing folks and their partners. We learned all kinds of things which have made our communication better. Little things like only speaking when we are in the same room and saying things using different words if I’m not comprehending what words she is saying. It’s been a help.

In 2017 three of my siblings got their first cochlear implants. They all have enjoyed much better communication since getting them. My doc thought I’d probably be getting one by 2020, but it looks like my right ear is still too good for Medicare to fix my left ear.

In the mean time, I was having enough trouble at community meals and in meetings that I complained to the community about feeling like I was becoming more and more isolated. They responded very positively, coming up with many suggestions to try. Then Bennie (who is a former Bose employee) was given some Bose Hearphones to test out. He used them in coffee shops while working and found them very good. He let me try them out at meals and at our meditation group.

They were great in those settings. They blocked noise behind me. (Bose knows noise cancellation.) I found I could partake in conversations again. I told him I’d love to get a pair. He said he’d check with his contact to see if he could get a set for me. What he really did was to do a quick survey of the other members of the community asking if they could all chip in to buy them. He presented me with my own pair the next morning. I was stunned at the generosity and caring I experienced. I love our community.

The Bose aren’t replacement hearing aids. Their rechargable battery only lasts 6 hours or so. They don’t cancel out the wind noise if I wear them outside. But they do allow me to take part in conversations in noisy environments.

If you are trying to decide if you need or want aids, I’d be glad to talk to you about the process I went through and why I ended up with what I ended up with. Just email me. Believe me, it is better to get started with them sooner than later. Your brain just forgets what sounds mean if it can’t hear them.

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