The World, In Stereo ~ by Sam

Yesterday, I heard my daughter play at the Central Avenue Jazz Festival. This might not seem like such a revelation, because you are probably thinking, “Haven’t you seen her play a lot, at lots of impressive venues? You know, like Vitello’s, The Catalina Jazz Club, The Hollywood Bowl? Why was yesterday such a big deal?” Let me repeat what I said: Yesterday, I heard my daughter play at the Central Avenue Jazz Festival. I heard her. Really. I mean, I heard her the way everyone else has probably always heard her (or as close as I will get), with both of my ears, in “full-stereo surround sound,” as my audiologist says.  You see, yesterday was the first time I have attended one of Justice’s performances since I started a hearing aid trial on July 1st.
I recently learned that I have congenital hearing loss, meaning I was born with it, in my right ear.  In short, I have never heard the world in stereo.  So, we are attempting to address the issue with the use of a hearing aid.  A Siemens Pure binax hearing aid, to be precise.
To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t expecting the performance to be much different than others I’ve attended. I mean, live music is loud, so, I figured I was pretty much hearing it, right?  My other ear works pretty much the way it should, so I figured I was hearing all of the sounds. The thing was, I wasn’t hearing all of the sounds with both ears.  I can’t really hear low and mid-range tones with my right ear, so…well…imagine a stereo in which the speakers aren’t correctly balanced, so you have a lot more treble on one side. So, then, because you are getting a double dose of treble, and just half as much bass as you should, it sounds…well, different. I was hoping it would make a difference, but I was also trying not to get my hopes up, because I didn’t want to be disappointed.
The band was introduced; and then, they played. I was stunned. It was like the first few days with the hearing aid, when I kept looking to the right, thinking someone was following me, only to discover it was my own footsteps I was hearing; or when I would try to figure out what “weird sound” my car was making, only to realize I was simply hearing road noise and traffic on the right side. I am not exaggerating when I say it brought tears to my eyes. Then, when the gentleman to my left commented, “That bass player got it goin’ on!” and the men next to him agreed, it brought more. I had to close my eyes to keep from blubbering like a fool. With my eyes closed, I was completely bathed in the music, just lost in it, and it was just so strange and wonderful to be completely surrounded, for the first time ever, by my daughter’s music.

I know words could never truly express the difference the hearing aid makes. It is just something you have to experience to know. I imagine it’s like the moment a person with extremely poor vision tries glasses for the first time. Sometimes, it is so overwhelming that I have to turn it off for a while. Sometimes, little things that have never irritated me, do. But this moment ~ this was perfection. Moments like this are the reason I am leaning toward declaring the “trial” a success.

Can you hear me world?  Because, now, I can hear all of you!

Photo on 7-26-15 at 7.22 PM
Can you see the tiny cable running in to the receiver, which sits inside my ear canal, above?

Photo on 7-26-15 at 7.31 PM
Above, you can see the hearing aid, as it sits behind my ear.

But, when I am not trying to show it to you, you wouldn’t even know I was wearing it!  Isn’t it amazing how tiny they can make these things?
Photo on 7-26-15 at 7.31 PM #2

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