Today I went with my sister to a hearing center so she could have her hearing tested. She recently returned from a visit with her 93 year old mother-in-law, and I think all the shouting on her end made her realize how annoying it is for those of us on the receiving end of her own frequent "What did you say?" The testing center requested that she bring along someone she knows to read words to her. Apparently the results are more accurate when the patient hears the words from someone with a familiar voice. Though as much as my sister talks, I do most of the listening...but whatever. I was game, especially as it meant lunch at a local pizza parlor by her.
The first test was "Hear Kim read". I had only gotten to the third word on the list, which was "fifth". I read it out loud and my sister said "What?" To which I replied, "I have a fifth of booze." The teacher, errrrr.....I mean the tester said that was cheating! I was only aloud to say the word once. If she didn't get it, I was to go on to the next word. Properly chastised, I continued through the list. Next stop was in the room next door. Kathy had to enter a box similar to a phone booth but smaller, and sit facing out. A door with a glass window was then shut. I told her she looked like she was getting into the Easy Bake Oven. We made faces at each other until sent a scathing look by the technician. I then occupied myself studying the graphic of the ear posted on the wall. Let's see - outer ear, middle ear, inner ear. At least someone finally took an organ and labeled it so it made sense. Well, except for the cochlea, which totally sounds like it belongs on another organ. I had enough time to contemplate that as the technician read words to Kathy, raising and lowering the volume through Kathy's headset.
The final step was fitting Kathy with a hearing device to see how she liked the fit. Kathy's ears are very sensitive, and even the small headphones of her mp3 player hurts her ears. So of course that means going to the most expensive hearing aid, which wraps around the outside of your ear, depositing a small mini-microphone looking device into the ear canal. Skeptic that I am, especially when someone works on commission, I wondered if that is the same hearing aid they have everyone try at first? Let the person drive a Lexus and then show them a Chevy? After all, that's what sales are all about. Can you hear ME now?