Can You Hear Me Now?

By Shamus Posted Sunday Aug 2, 2015

Filed under: Personal 159 comments

My daughter Rachel has something like 45% hearing loss. We figure it’s a residual effect from her seizures as a child, but we don’t know for sure when it started. Unlike a lot of people with moderate hearing loss, she doesn’t shout. (I have a brother with much milder hearing problems who speaks much, much louder.) She’s louder than her siblings and tends to get really loud under stress, but that’s the sort of behavior that’s easily attributed to personality. Her problem is so difficult to observe that it took us a while to realize that there was a problem.

What we did notice was that she was incredibly stressed. She’s an extrovert and loves interacting with people, but unlike most extroverts she’d have this strained, almost panicked expression on her face when she was in a group. She loved meeting people and talking in groups, but at the same time it’s pretty much a worst-case scenario for her particular problem. In a one-on-one conversation she listens carefully, reads lips, and extrapolates missed words based on context. This is obviously difficult and requires a lot of brain power, which is probably why she’d be so stressed.

In a group, there’s a lot more room noise and you can’t watch everyone’s lips at once, which means she often couldn’t keep up with what everyone was saying. Before she was diagnosed, we had no way of knowing this stress stemmed from hearing loss. We just sort of assumed that she was a naturally stressed kid. We had no idea how hard she was struggling to understand in social gatherings, and as far as she knew this was how everyone conversed.


This is some of her art. I guess she's into videogames or something?
This is some of her art. I guess she's into videogames or something?

Once she was properly diagnosed, we got her a set of crappy, one-size-fits-all hearing aids. This is the equivalent of buying those off-the-rack eyeglasses instead of going to an optometrist and getting a custom set. We knew she had “45% hearing loss” but we didn’t know how serious the problem was, from her point for view. So we didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on hearing aids that she would never wear because they were uncomfortable or inconvenientI dislike wearing glasses and I only need them when I’m not using the computer, so I rarely ever put them on.. We got a cheap set as an experiment to see if they made any difference in her quality of life.

When she put them on for the first time she wrote this on her Tumblr:

I just got my first set of hearing aids today, (Being about 45% deaf) And after the roller coaster of emotions today with sensory overload and hearing good for the first time in probably about 7 years. I just tried listening to music for the first time with them in just as I was about to go to bed.

Oh my gosh guys, I'm actually crying right now. I mean today I learned that water makes noise but music oh my fuck I mean I listen to music all the time but GUYS. HOW DO HEARING PEOPLE NOT SPEND THEIR EVERY WAKING MOMENT LISTENING TO MUSIC? ITS LIKE PURE HEAVEN OH MY GOSH.

Another notable quote from her:

“Oh wow. Water really sounds like that. I thought that was just in videogames.”

(She can play videogames with headphones, which is why she hears better in games than in real life, as it were.)

Based on this reaction, we put down some real money and got her a proper set of hearing aids. When I was a kid, hearing aids were ugly, bulky things that sometimes made buzzing noises that would annoy other people. These new ones are smaller, lighter, don’t leak sound, and they have a bunch of fancy bluetooth features. She actually gets voice notifications from the device itself when the batteries are low, and it can relay notifications from her computer. So sometimes she’s sitting on the couch playing Wii U and suddenly her head will jolt in surprise. “Someone’s messaging me on Steam,” she says as she runs upstairs. She can also use them to listen to music. She’s part cyborg now.

Also, the hearing aids of today are overall cheaper than the ones of yesteryear. They’re still more expensive than a good smartphone, but now they’re less expensive than a vehicle.

This is just your friendly reminder that we’re living in the future and it’s a great time to be alive. Also thanks for the support, since the Patreon money made it possible for us to do this without needing to save for months and months.

Onward.

 

Footnotes:

[1] I dislike wearing glasses and I only need them when I’m not using the computer, so I rarely ever put them on.



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159 thoughts on “Can You Hear Me Now?

  1. Alan says:

    This is awesome.

    How did you find out about her hearing loss in the first place?

    1. Muspel says:

      I would guess from a routine doctor visit. They usually do periodic hearing tests in order to catch things like this.

      Or at least, they did for me when I was growing up. Although maybe that varies from place to place, or depends on who your doctor is.

      1. Muspel says:

        And, come to think of it, my experience may have been out of the ordinary. I had a lot of ear infections as a toddler, and the hearing tests might have been the doctors keeping an eye out to see if it had damaged my hearing. (Thankfully, it didn’t.)

        1. Supahewok says:

          In the US, elementary schools run a hearing and color blind test about once a year for their students, or at least mine did, to try to identify children with problems early on. Shamus homeschools his kids though, so it was probably through a doctor recommendation.

          1. Wide And Nerdy says:

            I don’t know if it was annual in my county but they did them here too. I’d say probably once every couple of years.

            But I graduated in 98. Don’t know if that makes a difference.

    2. She realized during her bus trip across the country, but didn’t want hearing aids at the time so we waited to try till she was ready. We did get an official diagnosis but if you aren’t in school you don’t naturally get your hearing tested.

  2. KingMarth says:

    Welcome to the future! More cyborgs always welcome.

    I hear (s’cuze me) that getting to even the cheap amplify-everything hearing aids early is important to keep your ability to differentiate sounds, too long with hearing loss and your brain gives up on distinguishing sources of sound in a group in favor of boosting every signal at once. At least, this is how I interpret my grandfather’s situation, took a couple decades for him to get proper hearing augmentation and that was the result. Sounds (sorry) like Rachel will be fine.

    1. Sydney says:

      Quick tip: Just use hearing-based metaphors without the flinch. Few people mind them unless you’re egregiously doing it as a joke, and the flinch is awkward for everyone.

      Ditto sight metaphors like “I see.”

      If you’re really nimble and can swap in “word has it” and “seems like” and “I get it”, fine, but otherwise just speak/write as you otherwise would.

      1. Alexander The 1st says:

        Plus, puns are best when they aren’t telegraphed and are more of a side-effect of thinking about the context of the wording after the fact.

      2. Snort. Shamus regularly griefs her with puns about hearing. He is a horrible, horrible man but we like him anyway.

        1. Mephane says:

          Well, I would say just because friends and family generally have a much bigger leeway with these kinds of jokes. After all, you know each other and can tell when you are speaking in jest. Hearing the same thing from random stranger could very well feel like an insult.

        2. The Right Trousers says:

          I tell my kids I signed a contract to do that kind of stuff when I married their mother. “Yes, son, it used the word `relentless.'”

      3. swenson says:

        Or you can be like this blind guy I know, who himself is the one making the sight jokes. And doing things like casually getting into the driver’s seat of cars and laughing at us when we notice. I think he’d genuinely be a lot more uncomfortable around people who tiptoed around the subject.

      4. Rick says:

        It’s the same as foods in wheelchairsgoing for a walk :)

    2. Zak McKracken says:

      Seriously:
      I worked at a place for blind people for a year and you wouldn’t believe how often they talk about colours, in addition to saying things like “I see” and “in my view” etc.. For people who were born blind it’s just a thing you say (like all the other expressions whose origin nobody remembers) but I never witnessed someone who lost eyesight later in life who had a problem with it, either. In fact I once heard three blind people discuss the colour that a flower on the table may or may not have, with some competence.

      The only thing not to do is to use expressions containing the word and then draw attention to it by laboriously apologizing.

      …that is general advice. My impression is that most members of the Young family can take a pun or five, including bad ones. Though that may not always hold.

      1. Heather says:

        Especially bad ones get random objects thrown in your general direction (Es is queen of horrible horrible puns, enough that her friends hang up on her (Skype) when she does them.

  3. Nyctef says:

    > GUYS. HOW DO HEARING PEOPLE NOT SPEND THEIR EVERY WAKING MOMENT LISTENING TO MUSIC?

    I honestly don’t know

    1. Bropocalypse says:

      Before the internet got good enough to handle the data, we mostly couldn’t listen to music all day since the only reliable source of it was the radio or(shudder) MTV. At least 50% of it would sound bad to you. Nowadays we can control what we hear without bulky/delicate CD or tape players.

      1. RCN says:

        I don’t know about you guys, but I try my very best to spend more than half of my waking time listening to music.

        Though it is 90% Heroes of Might & Magic soundtrack.

      2. DrMcCoy says:

        No, you got a Walkman, and you recorded the music you liked onto cassettes from radio. That gave you 90 minutes of uninterrupted music. Well, okay, 2x 45 minutes with a short interruption to flip the cassette.

        You could easily fit a couple of spare (rechargable) batteries and one or two extra cassettes into your pockets, too. Music all day.

        1. Bropocalypse says:

          After several hours of interrupted music recording from the radio, sure.

          1. Wide And Nerdy says:

            But once you’ve done that several hours, you have music you can play over and over for years. Yes digital is more convenient but tapes weren’t that bad.

            The real problem with that system was you were either confined to top 40 or had to buy albums which might have one or two songs you like out of a dozen (They did sell singles of course but not for everything. Not as common as now where its practical.)

            1. I worked at a used record store in college. Yes, a record store. I was paid in records. We also had tapes but they mostly sucked. I would get tons of records, record my favorite songs, then would trade them in. Also record off radio, some of my favorite preteen memories are of trying to catch the current favorite song on tape with no dj talking.

              1. Joe Informatico says:

                You ever notice how so many hit singles from the 1980s start with a good 20-30 seconds of instrumental, and end with the chorus being repeated a dozen times? It’s almost like the artists knew the DJs would be blabbing over the first and last 30 seconds of every song. While there are songs from other decades that also do this, it just seemed so ubiquitous with 80s Top 40.

                1. Septyn says:

                  And they still do it! My wife likes Sirius XM’s 80s channel and Alan Hunter and the rest of the MTV VJs are the DJs now. More like narrators, when I think of it. There they are at the start of every song, chatting over the first 15-20 seconds. I’m sorry, I just don’t care about this Toto factoid, get on with the music.

                  1. Bubble181 says:

                    In case anyone isn’t aware of this, this was a very deliberate and conscious “design” choice for the “radio edit” of many pop songs, exactly to try and prevent people from recording them. instead of buying the single. A very crude, but actuall somewhat effective, form of DRM.

                2. Wide And Nerdy says:

                  I was born in 79, so yeah, for a long time I just thought that was how music worked.

                  And until you mentioned it just now, I hadn’t really thought about the music not being like that anymore (is it? I don’t listen to a lot.)

          2. Zak McKracken says:

            That’s how it worked: You sit in your room either doing something while listening to the radio or just listening. If they announce a song you’re interested in, you hit record (of course you always have a tape ready to go). If the idiot DJ talks into the song too much, you rewind to the start and record it over with the next one. Or you like the song so much that you don’t care.
            One radio station would always play the “best” 100 songs of the last year on easter, start to end, for two days. I spend much of those days in front of the radio.
            I still have two old mixtapes which happened this way. The older one starts with Chesney Hawkes “the one and only”, interrupted after the first line of lyrics by Bart Simpson shouting “Oh, my ears!” (from the Bartman) bursting into something else I actually liked at the time… spontaneous art!

            The other way of acquiring music, of course, was to borrow tapes with music which had at some point been purchased from a real shop and copy whichever songs one liked. That was perfectly legal, too. Glorious times :)

            Oh, and at some point I got a walkman with a radio receiver. Technology!

            1. Oh and borrowing. Yeah, we shared tapes all the time and copied our favorites.

            2. Blackbird71 says:

              I suppose I was the odd one who, instead of recording the popular tunes off the radio, used up most of my tapes recording songs off of the “Dr. Demento Show”.

              I can’t really complain with how things turned out though; part of the early courtship with my wife involved sharing Weird Al (mine) and They Might Be Giants (hers) albums. If listening to Dr. D at night helped prepare me to catch an amazing girl like her, then I’ll consider it time well invested.

              P.S.: We’ve been married over a decade, and are attending a Weird Al concert later this month; and who says romance is dead?

      3. Alexander The 1st says:

        Beyond this, listening to the same soundtrack can get tedious after a while.

        Basically, after listening to music for a few decades, Sturgeon’s law starts to come into effect.

        At least, the above is probably why I don’t like The Beatles’ songs – grew up with my parents playing it on loop pretty much every day. I gladly take 4’33” or Water Walk after enough standard music.

        1. Jabrwock says:

          I was listening to “Q”, a Canadian Broadcast Corp production before the host got outed as a molester. They had a bit where they had a former DJ radio host on, and they tested him by playing a song, and he had to generate as much gibberish about the song as he could before the intro riff ended and the actual song started. He nailed it. finishing his intro right as the song’s chorus broke in.

          1. Zeta Kai says:

            FTR, Q is still on the air, with a different host, & it’s still a great show.

    2. Volatar says:

      Holy crap that clip really resonates with me. I am tempted even more to give that game a shot.

      I also tend to listen to music constantly. I have several playlists on Youtube I listen to when at my computer as well as my personal and family music collections (family file servers FTW), a selection of the above on my phone, and DI.fm on both.

    3. Trix2000 says:

      Completely in agreement with this response. WHY AREN’T YOU ALL LISTENING TO MUSIC NOW?

      If I’m not actually listening to something, I tend to roll a lot of songs randomly in my head. So I think if we count that (and ignore sleep of course) I might have a 90%+ uptime for music. :)

      1. Supahewok says:

        Nothing helps time pass by while working as a lifeguard like a radio. Always a blessing for a pool to have one. We can’t use ear buds cuz we’re supposed to be, y’know, alert, but radios are the best.

    4. Halceon says:

      It’s simple. I consume so much non-music audio media that music actually gets in the way. Though that’s mostly because typically both come from the same device.

    5. Armagrodden says:

      Because experience has inured us to the tiny miracles of existence.

  4. gyfrmabrd says:

    Reading this post made me so happy I wanna high-five someone.

  5. Bitterpark says:

    “In a group, there's a lot more room noise and you can't watch everyone's lips at once, which means she often couldn't keep up with what everyone was saying. Before she was diagnosed, we had no way of knowing this stress stemmed from hearing loss. We just sort of assumed that she was a naturally stressed kid. We had no idea how hard she was struggling to understand in social gatherings, and as far as she knew this was how everyone conversed. ” (I forgot how to mark quotes)

    Holy crap, I’ve had this issue for years, I always just assumed it’s because I’m an introvert and subconsciously don’t want to interact with that many people at once. I never considered that it might be a hearing issue…

    And good to see hearing aids have come such a long way. My grandma had hearing issues, but when the family got her a hearing apparatus back in early 00s she couldn’t handle it and chose to be impaired instead, so it must have been pretty crappy back then.

    1. AileTheAlien says:

      I too, struggle with groups of people, but for different reasons:
      1. I’ve got tinnitus, even though I have otherwise excellent hearing. i.e. I can hear very quiet dB levels, across the board, but I’ve got an annoying ringing sound in my ears all the time.
      2. I have a lot of difficulty ignoring background sounds. e.g. Noisy TV, or other people in the room.
      3. Several people in my social circles, seem to have no problem distinguishing 2-5 extra speakers. So, where I (and a lot of my friends) just take turns speaking, these people would rather have everyone talk at once, because the can handle it no problem. The really annoying part, is that they seem to be unable to comprehend, that other people can only listen to one person at a time. :S

      I’m really looking forward to advances in hearing technology. Better hearing aids, implants, or even surgery to replace damaged parts with lab-grown ones. Far future, though, I hope humans just genetically engineer our ears to be less easily damaged, and also more sensitive. As a species, we’re basically deaf, because we evolved to rely on our eyesight so much. ^^;

      1. djw says:

        Sounds like me as well. I can hear very faint sounds, but I can only focus on the loudest sound in the environment, which is almost never my girlfriend. For some reason she gets mad when I ask her not to mumble.

      2. Syal says:

        Don’t have tinnitus, but I’ll add
        4. Half the people in the room are trying to talk over everybody else in the room, so they just get louder and louder the longer the conversation goes.

        1. Mephane says:

          I hate this so much. Also happens on the bus. It usually levels out at a volume far from comfortable, and all the voices except the ones in direct proximity tend to blend into one another like the unnerving buzzing of a beehive. I personally find this type of noise far worse than a similar noise level of, for example, cars on a busy road.

          1. 4th Dimension says:

            Yes. Part of it is the noise and part of it is frustration from your mind trying and failling to parse the conversations.

            1. guy says:

              Ugh, yeah. I can just ignore noise most of the time, but I can’t ignore conversations.

      3. This. This is why I hate crowds. Tinnitus plus auditory processing disorder (yes, it has a name: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auditory_processing_disorder) plus being surrounded by people talking over other people.

        1. Supahewok says:

          If you don’t mind me asking, how does one go about getting tested for APD? What kind of doctor would you see about it? Reading that article, a lot of things are clicking for me. Every once in a while, somebody will try talking to me and for the first few seconds they sound to me like they’re speaking another language. Then its like a switch flips and I suddenly understand that they’ve been speaking English the whole time.

          Some other things match too, like:

          talk louder than necessary
          have trouble remembering a list or sequence
          often needs words or sentences repeated
          have poor ability to memorize information learned by listening
          interprets words too literally
          need assistance hearing clearly in noisy environments
          asks for directions to be given one step at a time

          That fits me to a tee.

          1. I was tested back when it was considered a form of learning disability (in college-I am OLD :P) I have a plethora of processing issues, memory issues, dyscalculia, and so on and this was just one more in the pile. We focused on finding ways to work around it, like taking a test in a quiet room instead of in a crowd- grades went from Cs and Ds to straight As.

            That said, now you would have it tested by an audiologist as it is now considered a hearing issue.

            Some online info that might help: http://www.scilearn.com/sites/default/files/imported/alldocs/mktg/10035-952MYoungCAPD.pdf – the pdf is geared towards parents of children with but the list of resources a tthe end is excellent.

            http://www.capdsupport.org/Diagnosis/how-is-capd-diagnosed.html

            But really as an adult I focus on recognizing it and adapting and practice. When I was young I couldn’t pick out voices in a room, now I can, because lots of practice to train my brain. Playing audio games like Simon really helps if you want to go this route. (I still suck at it but am way better than I was as a child.)

            Recognizing situations that are going to be tricky and finding ways to adapt- like sitting in a corner of a crowded room instead of in the middle. Less sound bouncing around makes it easier. I always go for a booth on the side in a restaurant rather than a table in the middle because it is easier to hear the person I am with. (This is also helpful when dealing with those who are hard of hearing- always put the person who can’t hear with their back to a wall instead of in the middle of a room.)

            And knowing that it is an issue really helps, recognizing it for what it is makes it easier because it alleviates some of the stress. For instance, I went through school thinking i must be crazy because I had so many struggles other people didn’t. I KNEW I had LD (parents both teachers so they knew) but wasn’t formally tested till college and it made a world of difference having the official diagnosis (if you are in school still ask about being tested, there are various ways to get assistance in class that make a HUGE difference though you have to test to see what works for you.) In the real world, not so much. The kids all deal with various LD issues but those only affect them in a school environment since they can adapt anywhere else to suit their needs, so it makes no difference for them.

            1. Supahewok says:

              I’m currently in college, and have carried around a diagnosis of ADD since I was 6, so I already get the separated testing, preferential seating, and extended time bits. There isn’t an equivalent for getting teachers without foreign accents though, so I have to do my best to cope in situations where I don’t get a choice of professor.

              I already unconciously follow your advice about public situations; I dislike large parties, and tend to stick to the edges of them and of other noisy places. I thought it was because I wasn’t sociable, and maybe I’m not, but it also being because I can’t understand people well in those sorts of situations also fits. I guess I developed those tendencies as coping mechanisms.

              Just knowing that there’s a name for this sort of thing is immensely relieving. Growing up, I always wondered if I was just stupid for sometimes asking people to repeat themselves 3 or 4 times until I understood them. I always saw the weird looks I’d get and felt inferior for them. It’s just wonderful to be able to put a name to it, and I bet I could put a cause to it too: I had series of ear infections as a toddler, and although I do fine on hearing tests, they messed me up in other ways. I grew up speaking wrong, because my hearing was distorted during that major learning period, and it took years of remedial speech therapy for me to speak properly. Even now I have an occasional slip; “r” coming out as “w”, and such. I have to pause and mentally adjust myself for a moment before trying to speak again.

              I don’t know if I’ll be able to follow up on it in the immediate future; the city I’m moving to for school has only 3 audiologists covered by my insurance, none of them have websites, and at least one of them seems to be out of business. Not exactly reassuring in terms of quality. But I’ll try to research exercises I can do on my own, and see if those help. Thanks a lot for linking to APD in the first place and for your follow up!

        2. Zak McKracken says:

          Wow, that’s me!

          My Tinnitus is intermittent but the processing thing is completely me.
          Ever since kindergarten, I’ve had problems understanding people, and ever since then, I’ve scored really well in hearing tests (In my mid-thirties, I heard frequencies higher than many people ever hear as teenagers) — but if you talk in the wrong accent, I have no chance of associating words to the sounds.
          On the plus side, I don’t fall for some auditory illusions.

          Thanks a lot for pointing me to this!

        3. evenest says:

          Two things, Heather (Shamus’ wife):

          1. Why hasn’t your husband given you that orange background color. You might want to help him stub his toes until he fixes that for you.

          2. My wife is hard of hearing. I’m not sure what her loss is at, but it is above 50% in both ears. It amazes me the various sounds that can bother someone with hearing loss. Last week, I was putting dishes away and walked into the bedroom to ask her a question about where something went (an obscure item–don’t take it to mean I rarely do the dishes), and I discovered she was in tears. The clanking of the glasses and silverware was going through her head like an ice pick and she was almost two rooms away. The loss can accentuate certain pitches of sound and make life unbearable.

          On the positive side, we do have great fun when she “reads back” some of what she thinks I have said during a conversation. Doesn’t make any sense some times, but we both end up laughing.

          1. Heather says:

            I have it. Just am too lazy to spend 4 extra steps between logging in and actually responding. Plus I prefer to read from the front page instead of dashboard.

            1. Also, all the bells and whistles when logged in cause interesting disturbances in the force when I try to type on the front page.

  6. I too wear hearing aids!

    I just got mine a couple of years ago when my hearing loss became so profound that I was having to use subtitles with every show I watched. I suspect that my hearing had been slowly degrading for years, due either to chronic sinus infections or heredity.

    Just like Rachel, I had become the master of lip reading during one-on-one conversations. And just like Rachel, I found being in groups to be so stressful that I had actually become a bit reclusive. (Being an introvert, I somehow thought this was “normal”).

    I wear a type of disposable aids called Lyric. Their advantage is that they are completely hidden in the ear canal and they provide a more natural, less “digitized” sound. I confess that I’m a bit jealous of her Bluetooth/cyborg capabilities. I’d love to know what brand she is wearing.

    Please tell Rachel that if she would like to chat about hearing aids (or anything else) with a fellow gaming gal, I’m happy to connect with her on the platform of her choice (Steam or otherwise).

    1. Kathryn says:

      Mine have Bluetooth as well, Leslee. Using the phone is SO much easier this way, as I get the sound piped directly into both ears instead of having it processed several times in only one ear. Both Resound and Phonak make Bluetooth-enabled aids (mine are Resound, but I can’t remember the model name right now. If you’re wearing Lyric, though, you don’t need a power aid, so you wouldn’t be wearing the same model as I anyway), and Resound recently came out with a new aid that gives the user more control via a smartphone app (you can actually adjust the various levels yourself, via your phone). Sadly, the app is iOS and Galaxy S5 only, so I haven’t tried that aid out myself. As for Oticon and Siemens, if they don’t have Bluetooth-enabled aids yet, I’m sure they will soon. Your audiologist should be able to inform you.

      Shamus, I’m glad Rachel got some help. I hope she continues to get good results. I have worn hearing aids for nearly thirty years now and have an 85%+ loss; I’m currently an engineering project manager. My son started wearing aids a little over a year ago (he’s almost four). You may feel free to share my email address with her if you would like to and are comfortable doing so.

      1. Thanks to both of you. Will let her know. I have a few friends who also wear them so she has lots of advice if she needs it from all sides. So far she is just thrilled to hear.

    2. We went with http://www.soundworldsolutions.com/ – $500 for two bluetooth hearing aids that connec tot the phone/computer, self customize, physically completely customizable, and well, have amazing reviews compared to the Phonak and Resound ones we could find (not many reviews thanks to it being mostly older folks who buy them). Told her she is welcome to upgrade later but these seem pretty amazing and with current leaps in technological advancement in the next few years she could get something even better for cheap, hopefully. And Rach would rather save money for things that are important to her right now, like moving out, so she much preferred the $500 to the $3000 price tag.

      Sadly she can’t wear the little invisible ones, mostly because she inherited my teeny tiny ear canals (even the tiniest earbuds are too big) so would need custom ones.

      1. Kathryn says:

        Nice! Your options are a lot wider when your loss is moderate instead of profound. It doesn’t actually say, but just looking at those, I can tell they’re not intended for the kind of amplification I require. (Although 18 hrs battery life would be a dealbreaker for me. I get ~5 days right now and consider that barely acceptable.)

  7. RCN says:

    Have you welcomed her to the Human Revolution?

    Well, that’s pretty much the crossing point, isn’t it? Fake legs that are faster than real ones and hearing aids that have more functionality than actual ears. I wonder what will happen when we start making organs more effective than the real deal…

    The problem of course is that these are still fragile and don’t heal like us sacks of flesh. But who knows what the future will bring?

    1. Muspel says:

      She never asked for this.

      1. LCF, UNATCO.MP3 says:

        What a shame.

    2. krellen says:

      Eyeglasses have been able to correct vision better than 20/20 (20/15 is a common goal) for a while now too.

      1. James says:

        i have good eye sight, last test i had i think it was close to 20/20, and my Friends wear glasses, i’ve worn them just to try them out and i couldn’t see shit, it was rather shocking to see how bad their eyesight was

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Thats a common thing people ask me when they ask about my glasses.But the thing is,what they see through them is the opposite of what I see without them.Also,there is the fact that your eyes need adjusting every time you change glasses,so sudden vision change of several diopters would leave anyone blind.

          1. Very yes. Just upgraded mine, with several levels change which left me feeling pukey for a few days till my weak eye caught up and my strong eye willingly gave up.

        2. Mormegil says:

          How other people’s glasses look will also depend heavily on the type of correction as well as the strength. A correction of +1 dioptres will appear very blurry to someone with plano vision whereas a correction of -2 dioptres will look a little strange (like everything got a little smaller and a little sharper) but will be adapted to quite quickly.

      2. Soylent Dave says:

        Yeah, I get 20/10 – 20/12 out of my glasses.

        (my uncorrected eyesight is slightly better than 20/200 (I can see the top letter on the eyechart, and if I squint I can make an educated guess at the next two))

      3. McNutcase says:

        As far as I’m aware, laser surgery can do this as well, in many cases. I keep wanting to look more into the laser surgery, but it’s hideously expensive, and would be unlikely to even get me to a point where I could legally drive without glasses. My prescription is ridiculous – my better eye needs -8.75 dioptres of correction. I’ve worn glasses full-time for almost my entire life, and even with the highest index lenses you can get (which are 90% of the cost of a pair for me; I’m wearing $12 frames that cost me $125) and postage-stamp sized lenses, they’re still thick and heavy. Heck, my history of glasses has actually resulted in my nose being narrower than it would otherwise be, so my sinuses get clogged way too easily.

        1. swenson says:

          I feel the same way about laser surgery–I really want to look into it, but I don’t know how much they could correct me. Mine are -9/-10 with glasses (I think it’s -8/-9 with contacts?). But isn’t it just crazy how much lenses cost? In the end maybe it’d be cheaper to get laser eye surgery…

          Then again, I’m a little bit self-conscious about it so I pay extra for the super-thin kind and usually wear contacts instead, so I technically could pay less.

          Amusing side story: when I first started full-time at my job, I was advised that I really didn’t need to pay for vision insurance, because the amount you paid in was basically what it cost to get glasses anyway… I laughed heartily to myself because they clearly had no clue just how expensive high-correction lenses are! I’m just glad I don’t have serious astigmatism like my mom, toric contact lenses at a high prescription are insane.

          1. Graham Mitchell says:

            “I really want to look into it”

            Unintentional gold grade punnage!

    3. Scourge says:

      What about some muscle upgrades?

      Or Eyes?

      Nevermind artificial hearts, arms and legs and more. Lets face it, the future is Shadowrun. And it is coming closer and closer.

    4. Thomas says:

      The legs in Human Revolution sprinted almost as fast as an Olympic shot-putter and had the endurance of Wal-Mart’s Customer of the Year

  8. Mephane says:

    So sometimes she's sitting on the couch playing Wii U and suddenly her head will jolt in surprise. “Someone's messaging me on Steam,” she says as she runs upstairs. She can also use them to listen to music. She's part cyborg now.

    Pure awesome.

    Out of curiosity, what colour are these hearing aids? I personally don’t like it when they try to make them look like skin, because the colour is always off and makes them look really ugly (imo) while still standing out. If I were to get some (I am half-deaf on one ear only, so maybe I will have to wear one eventually), I’d make sure they are just grey or blue, if they’re going to be visible anyway at least they wouldn’t be beige. :)

    1. Shamus says:

      I agree – the slighty-off skin tone is bad. It’s some kind of localized uncanny valley.

      In Rachel’s case we went with black, although they’re small and usually hidden behind her hair.

      1. Should have gotten DeusEx branded ones or something. :P

        1. Gruhunchously says:

          She never asked for that.

          EDIT: Ninja’d!

      2. She wanted bright purple, but the purple ones were out of our price range and didn’t have all the features she wanted anyway.

        1. Alexander The 1st says:

          Now I’m imagining that there’s at least some research into painting the earbuds that you guys went through at one point.

          1. https://www.pinterest.com/NDCSUK/hearing-aids-decoration/ (not my board, just one I found.) Yeas, we have researched possibilities.

        2. CraigM says:

          Wait, they charge more for purple than black?! That seems weird to me.

          Well congratulations, I’m glad it worked out so well for her. The music bit especially made me smile. I’ve got several family members who have hearing loss (both my father and grandfather from being firemen), and it can definitely have impacts on family life.

          Sounds like her first days as a cyborg are really going good :)

      3. Caffiene says:

        My uncle has a bionic ear implant, and has the external transducer / processor parts in black with a white skull and crossbones pattern. Looks pretty cool.

      4. Mephane says:

        Also: microsphones. Like, when you watch a recorded talk, and the speaker has one of these microphones attached to the their cheek, and it is made in skin-tone, except the tone a) never perfectly fits and b) makes it look, from a distance, like a some kind of giant pimple or tumor.

  9. modus0 says:

    The human brain has an amazing ability to adapt to loss of senses.

    I discovered at the end of the 5th grade, via a school eye test, that I was essentially blind in my left eye. A visit to an optometrist came with a prognosis of amblyopia, and having to wear an eye patch over my right eye along with glasses for the rest of the summer. Fortunately, forcing my brain to accept input from only my left eye for several months was enough to at least allow me to see with that eye. With glasses it’s only correctable to about 20/70, but that’s better than nothing.

    It wasn’t detected earlier, because I’d adjusted to only getting visual data from one eye, and there weren’t any overt visual indications of the problem.

    1. Raven_Sloth says:

      I remember taking those eye tests every year in the elementary school I went to. Although I really didn’t like them because they were right after the photo for the year book, so the flashes gave me a head ache. On top of that I already wore glasses and for some reason they decided to make me take them off so that they could tell that I had terrible left eye vision every single time. What is worse is that they would keep me after my class had left to make sure that my eyes could see a whiteboard for 15ft away without the use of my glasses. Which I always found irritating since I have had to wear my glasses all waking hours since I was five, I think. I don’t really remember, I just know I have a lazy eye and 3 other things wrong with my eyes.

  10. Supahewok says:

    That all sounds very familiar to me. One of my oldest friends has worn hearing aids since I met him in kindergarten. In the time since, I think his hearing has degraded to 90% lost. He’s in my DnD group still, and we try to help him as much as we can: when playing live, someone (usually me) sits by him to help him catch up on what’s going on, with the DM on the other side of him, and we also make a point of asking him his opinion when we’re making a decision rather than waiting for him to offer it because chances are he’s only heard half of what we’re talking about. Online we do much the same, only we type out our summaries and use type to ask him questions. I also stay online afterwards to fill in any holes he has about the session.

    I guess if I have a point, is that the best thing you can do for the hearing impaired is to have a lot of patience and to not assume that they’re keeping up with everything going on around them, if there’s a lot of cross talk. Just be mindful of them.

    Also don’t have blaring music or a lot of screaming. I think the hearing aids amplify loud or high pitched noises to painful levels; my friend is always the first to complain about mic interference and clutches his ears when a bunch of children are shrieking nearby.

  11. Joshua says:

    Been reading here since early DM of the Rings back in 2006. I worked at the corporate office for a large hearing aid chain here in Texas. I’m glad that she is getting such great results for them!

    Sounds like you got a good deal on the price as well. Our typical aids sold for about $2,500 to $3,000 *apiece*.

    1. Mintskittle says:

      Holy crap, man, $3000?! What is it that makes them so expensive?

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Electronics,I guess.

      2. Nidokoenig says:

        I’d assume a fair bit of it is that they can’t just wire a cheap microphone to some cheap earphones and say to just chuck it and buy another when it breaks, everything has to be highly durable and medical grade and stay within those specs during its projected lifespan. That, and if a MacGuyvered mic and earphones set up could do 80% of the job, doing the remaining 20% probably costs $2475.

        My mum has mobility issues and uses off the shelf Nordic walking poles instead of proper crutches because it’s just easier for her to get replacements and she doesn’t have to be as precious with them.

        1. Thing is, it isn’t just “turning up the volume” – if that worked there would be plenty of earbud and cell phone apps. It is more like visian- it doesn’t get darker as you get closer to blind, it gets blurrier. Hearing is the same way, it gets muffled, not quieter. So thee is a lot of research going on to make sounds shaper. And there is a ton of new technology with everyone testing different possibilities. Digital is only about 4-5 years old and they are just figuring out how best to use cell phone apps with bluetooth. In a few years it will be even better and they will be further along ubt with hearing aids costing so much people don’t upgrade to digital, which slows down research. Combine that with the majority of people who wear hearing aids being older and you have less incentive to bring down cost and do more research.

          1. Mike S. says:

            Digital is a bit older than that (my wife got her first pair early-mid last decade, and it looks like the first all-digital aid on the market dates from the mid-90s). But things like needing regulatory approval, serving a small market, and requiring substantial individual work to fit and configure are presumably all factors.

            But hearing aids really are miraculous devices when they work, and my wife and I have become huge evangelists for them. It’s a tough sell for a lot of people, just because it is such a large cost for an unknown benefit. (My wife was convinced for many years that her hearing loss was too great and involved too much distortion to be helped much, so she’s very motivated to keep others from making the same mistake.) All I can say is that anyone who thinks they might have a hearing problem should get tested, and if aids will work then (if it’s financially at all possible) bite the bullet and do it. Especially since the younger you are, the easier it’s likely to be to adapt to them.

            Hers don’t have bluetooth, but they do have a wireless receiver she can connect to audio sources. Marketed for TV, but they spend 99% of the time connected to her computer for gaming purposes.

      3. Joshua says:

        Testing equipment that’s expensive and needs frequent calibration, professional fees for the audiologists, advertising, and other typical expenses combined with the fact that there really are only a small amount of sales in a week, and the rest of the time is spent on servicing existing patients, which typically are covered under the purchase price.

        It does seem like a lot of money, but there were definitely months where the business had a net loss due to a ton of these types of expenses. For example, one month’s advertising for a major newspaper could run about $50,000.

      4. Primogenitor says:

        Also I guess some of this is that if its insurance paying for them, then the user doesn’t care about the price as long as the insurance will pay. So the manufacturer can overcharge and the insurance will pay up anyway. But then the insurer will push the high prices into higher premiums for everyone.

        1. Joshua says:

          Nope.

          There were a few insurance plans that overpaid for hearing aids, like UHC’s American Airlines. Sometimes I would see $10-12,000 in payments for the aids and testing. Medicaid used to overpay for aids, shelling out $5,000 for *one* aid. They revised their policy a few years ago to pay out about the same amount of money for both aids, which was better for everyone all around because one aid for two bad ears is only barely helpful.

          For the most part, though, insurance plans were pretty reasonable. BCBS would pay $500 per aid, regardless of whether they were $1,000 aids or $3,000. Aetna paid a reduced contractual rate of about $4,500 for those $6,000 aids, but they weren’t terribly that common. Many insurance plans didn’t cover them at all.

          The costs come from the fact that you’re not only buying a more expensive product than the one off the shelf, but for a paid professional (audiologists/dispensers might make between $80-120K a year, so they’re basically cheap doctors) to test you properly for them, adjust the settings routinely, and constantly check up with you every few months to ensure you’re getting the best results out of them. YMMV, but the much cheaper aids require a lot more luck to work exactly how you need them, and you may not be able to adjust them much to your needs.

          Anything beyond that is administrative cost, which is determined by the business and cost effectiveness of any given company, but most prices in our area were pretty much in the same range.

      5. Falterfire says:

        I’d assume part of it is that you can’t get economies of scale with a specialty product like this. A huge part of the cost of advanced electronics is in the research and development, which gets split across everybody buying the product if it’s something like an iPhone but is a lot larger part of the cost for something like hearing aids that has a much smaller market.

    2. Which is why we didn’t go with a major manufacturer. Lots of research and found a small indie developer doing awesome stuff, fully adaptable, which we could afford right away without financing.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    While Im almost blind and have strong glasses to combat that,there is one other sense some people lack that still no one has tackled successfully:Smell.Which,Ive often found,is actually a good thing to be lacking in this day and age.Ive found out that my sense of smell was diminished when I was in a bus with some friends,and they complained about some woman that entered having too much perfume,making them almost gag,while I detected only the sweet scent of it.Other things I dont mind,which are also common when walking down the street*:Garbage cans.Also cigarette smoke in closed spaces doesnt bother me much(unless its so thick that it starts irritating my eyes).But I guess if we were using pheromones to communicate,this would have a priority just like sight and sound.

    *Singin’ do-wah diddy-diddy down diddy-do.

    1. Soylent Dave says:

      My mrs has anosmia (no sense of smell at all).

      In the absence of bionics, the way she deals with its lack is ‘asking me to smell things for her’ (like “has this food gone off?” or “are these clothes dirty?”)

      1. Shamus and Rach both can’t smell, except very occasionally. With Shamus he always thiks he smells bacon, which is funny because we never have bacon.

        1. 4th Dimension says:

          In what kind of hellish existance does Shamus live when he is taunted by the smell of tasty bacon every day while never having any delicious bacon?!?
          ;)

        2. Zak McKracken says:

          oh, that might explain some of his dietary choices… if you can’t smell, everything tastes kind of bland, with the exception of just sugar, salt, bitter and spicy things.

    2. 4th Dimension says:

      Complete lack of smell isn’t as fun as near lack. I know this as my mother lost her sense of smell during an operation. It’s especially difficult for her since she is also doing most of the housework and cooking, and not being able to smell has caused at least couple of burned garments left on the heater. Fortunatelly she has us other housemembers, but still…

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Well losing one sense is much harsher than never having it at all.

        1. 4th Dimension says:

          That, that is true. On the other hand she did get use it in the intervening time. After all last time she was able to smell was decades ago.

        2. Henson says:

          “Poor girl…lost her sense of smell. How will she smell without it?”

          “Same as always – terrible! Bwahohohohoho!”

    3. Matt Downie says:

      People tend to just put up with complete anosmia as a normal part of their life, but it’s often treatable – depending on the cause. Steroid nasal sprays work for some people, for example. So if you have it, see a doctor for a chance to say GUYS FOOD ACTUALLY TASTES GOOD HOW DO SMELLING PEOPLE NOT SPEND THEIR EVERY WAKING MOMENT EATING?

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Food?I love food!I taste perfectly fine,and I can still smell enough to enjoy the smell of food.But if enhancing that smell of food meant enhancing the smell of garbage and sweat,Id rather not do that.Especially when I have to use public transportation in the summer.

        1. JAB says:

          A lot of what the average person thinks of as the sense of taste ends up being linked to the sense of smell. A guy I know of, with no sense of smell, gets most of his enjoyment of food from texture. Dennys Grilled Cheese Sandwiches were a big favorite of his.

          1. I have exactly what you describe. Very very limited sense of smell, so we assume that my sense of taste is muted, though obviously I can’t tell. My favorite foods and drinks are determined largely by textures.

            An interesting upside to that has been that if someone burns their food or mangles their mixed drink, I have no problems taking it off their hands. Despite being a fully grown man, I can eat/drink things sweet enough to make toddlers turn them down.

  13. Soylent Dave says:

    Rachel’s reaction to hearing properly for the first time reminds me of when I first got glasses, aged 8, when I found out that actually the world being a blurry mess *wasn’t* how it’s meant to be.

    “wow, people can see the tops of buildings” and “trees have individual leaves”

    It was like a video card upgrade, basically.

    I’m so glad we can do this sort of thing with more and more senses now. We’re getting really close to a world without hearing or sight impairment.

    1. Henson says:

      I got some last-gen glasses, so the world occasionally has some stuttering.

      Also, load times are really good, but for some reason fast travel doesn’t work.

      1. Mephane says:

        And most of the gameplay is shit (the best part usually are the minigames), most other players are jerks and you can’t even put them on an ignore list to never hear from them again.

    2. Spammy says:

      Oh my god I was about to post a comment about leaves before I saw this. I distinctly remembered after we figured out that I was nearsighted and took me to the optometrist that the first thing I saw with normal vision was a Burger King sign, but the second thing was a tree and my 4th grade mind was blown away at being able to distinguish leaves.

      In fact sometimes I still end up staring at trees and watching the leaves.

    3. p_johnston says:

      I remember having the same reaction. I got glasses when I was 13 and had probably needed them for close to a year before that. Walking out of the store with my new glasses the first time I remember looking around and being blown away that I could now read signs.
      Also I can’t help but wonder how many people realize their vision/hearing/sense of smell/etc is worse then normal without a doctors visit or some other outside force pointing it out. I know that I just assumed that everything being a colored blur beyond a few feet was normal. This seems like what most people who need glasses but don’t have them assume. Did anyone ever stop and go “this isn’t right, I should see better then this.” before they had glasses?

      1. Syal says:

        Presumably the guy who invented glasses did.

      2. Supahewok says:

        “Also I can't help but wonder how many people realize their vision/hearing/sense of smell/etc is worse then normal without a doctors visit or some other outside force pointing it out.”

        I actually think about things like that a lot. I like to cook, and even more to eat. Yet, I sometimes can’t smell things other people say they can, and sometimes people seem to appreciate tastes in food and drink more than I do. Do I have reduced smell/taste, or am I just being a worrier, or am I just more grounded and stoic about things in general? I have no idea, and I have no idea how to know. I don’t even know if its worth knowing, as what kind of treatment lets you taste things better? I can’t afford an operation, if it exists.

        Things to worry about, while trying to sleep.

      3. guy says:

        Happened to me. I started developing a problem sometime around tenth grade. The reason I figured it out was my math class; the teacher used a projector with relatively small writing a lot. For maybe half the year, I noticed that it was kind of hard to read and blurry but put it down to the projector quality. Then one day I was squinting at the board and realized I couldn’t tell if an equation had an exponent in it.

    4. Akri says:

      I was blown away by how vibrant all the colors suddenly looked. “Like a video card upgrade” is the best analogy for being able to see properly for the first time ever.

    5. shiroax says:

      My reaction was “I always assumed the ships in the harbor were covered in mist”. My eyesight was so much better back then, I don’t think I’d be able to make out the sea from that place these days.

      I still have a “Huh. Leaves.” moment every time I change prescription:D.

    6. JAB says:

      Yup, I clearly remember a “trees have leaves” moment with my first glasses.

    7. swenson says:

      Haha, I was just talking to my friend this evening about this… I got glasses very young so I never had that moment, but she didn’t get them until high school. She said it used to cause her no end of confusion when watching TV shows, because she literally couldn’t tell the difference between characters unless they looked and sounded VERY distinct! There were some shows where she watched them again after she had her glasses, and she went “wait, those are two different characters? I thought it was just one character this whole time…”

    8. fyrb says:

      the leaves look so sharp! yep :)

      (Trees are why I swear Fragonard was near-sighted)

  14. Shivoa Birch says:

    Many thanks for writing this. I hope someone reading over the discussion of social gatherings will have something click for them and realise that they’re both not alone but also might be able to do something about it because not everyone is overloaded by issues with being able to parse/hear speech.

    It’s so isolating to not be able to deal with group settings/noisy backgrounds and even if it’s just others being aware you’re going to get quickly overloaded and have to take a break then it helps.

    Also: that’s a really cool drawing.

  15. 4th Dimension says:

    These kinds of threads are bad for my innate hypohondriarchy (;) ) since now am thinking about problems I have with understanding people when there is noise in the enviroment, like in coffe shops/bars, where I’m often reduced to nodding my head like an idiot. And normally I have no problem hearing weak sounds, but filtering in my mind sucks. I guess I need to flash the firmware of the hearing.

    Oh and work as a teacher, and trying to understand somebody while there is student noise in the classroom can be a right pain. Add to that that I can’t keep track if multiple people are talking to me or if they are talking at the same time, and I start to loose my patience even if there is a normal level of talk.

  16. Cinebeast says:

    Wow, this is great! I’m happy for your daughter. And I dig her art, too. She’s clearly got a personal style going on and everything.

  17. The Rocketeer says:

    Are the batteries rechargeable, or are they those little disc batteries like in cameras?

    1. Kathryn says:

      13As or 675s depending on size of aid. I’m currently using 13As, which last a whopping five days (Bluetooth drains the battery), and my son’s aids use 675s. His last about three weeks if we’re not using the FM system and much less if we are.

    2. Hers are rechargeable, which is lovely (at work the lady I take care of wears the battery ones, which go out every other day.)

  18. She up for commission work? I got piles o art, but all linework. I can’t color theory for sheee-it!

    1. Rachel says:

      I do commissions but it completely depends on type of line-art. If you honestly want to look into it though. My website http://www.blueberrystarstudio.com/ has a lot of my other artwork and my prices on it.

      1. Zak McKracken says:

        Just tried to click on the Tumblr link on your site but it takes me to a 404 page… think there’s a spelling error in the link.

        Also: Like your drawings.

        1. I think she changed her tumblr url after. Will check with her when she gets up. Thanks for the headsup.

  19. The Mich says:

    Aw, your daughter’s comment is really sweet! Thanks to her and you for sharing. Glad that you were able to find a good hearing aid! :)

  20. Chris says:

    Glad everything worked out. :D

    Cousin was dealing with a horrible, continuous bout of inner ear issues that was fixed with a dental appliance. This dentist explained a situation that lead to a new focus for his discipline.
    The dentist mentioned he had a child patient who lost the hearing in one ear due to an issue with her jaw. The patient’s parents asked many professionals, who couldn’t determine why the patient was deaf in one ear since the ear was perfectly fine. The dentist noticed her bite was uneven due to a tooth having grown in too long, so he offered to grind it down – and unknowingly cleared up the girl’s hearing problem. Weird, huh?

  21. Matt Freeman says:

    This little blog post put a big smile on my face today. It’s nice to just hear a good story about something working out well from a bad start.

    1. Artur CalDazar says:

      Yeah it’s really cool. She doesn’t just hear well now she has some things that are advantages over those with naturally good hearing.

  22. Tektotherriggen says:

    When I saw her “Life is Strange” picture, I just assumed that it was official art and that you were about to tell us about how the game taught you about hearing loss, or something.

    She’s good!

  23. Phantos says:

    I think it’s every father’s dream for their daughter to one day become part cyborg.

    Also, every time you post a picture of your family members, they just seem to be cooler and cooler.

    At this rate, if you post a pic of you and your wife on your next anniversary, it’ll be you two slaying a mythical creature of some kind. It’s gonna look like a Frank Frazetta painting.

  24. Cuthalion says:

    Hearing how people respond to things I take for granted is always really neat. Glad she’s discovered full hearing!

  25. Da Mage says:

    I was born without most of my hearing my in right ear (I can hear REALLY loud things and low frequencies), and over my childhood and teenage years I was tried on two different hearing aids. Like Rachel I struggle with hearing in busy places, but the hearing aids never helped. They ended up just making the background noise worse and making it even harder to hear someone speak. Nobody ever notices I have a hearing problem unless I tell them, since i pick up ‘most’ things that are said (and just smile and nod if I don’t).

    I have one question, I personally struggle with talking on a phone since there are no lips to read and will do anything to avoid it. Does Rachel suffer the same problem? And if the person on the other end has an accent, then it’s basically impossible.

    1. She did and avoided it. Her hearing aids block background noise and have a phone setting that works directly through the hearing aid to her phone. This means when she uses her phone she can hear very well but if she uses someone else’ not so much.

  26. Irridium says:

    Ah, this made me smile. Glad things worked out.

    Also, speaking of living in the future, did you know there’s glasses to help with color-blindness?

    What a time to be alive.

  27. Somebody says:

    “and it can relay notifications from her computer”

    Is that a Steam specific feature? Or does her computer just send all sound to her hearing aid? How does that work?

    1. Got Bluetooth for computer. Hearing aids recognize it and notification sounds come to her hearing aids as long as she is within 11ft or so.

  28. SlothfulCobra says:

    Hearing is one of those senses that the loss of can be really subtle. I had some hearing loss in one ear as a kid, but when they caught it on the test, they only realized it when I was raising my hand when there wasn’t a beep for me to hear. Turns out one of the bones in my ear had been dissolved away by an ear infection, and I never noticed.

    Now I’m really paranoid about ear infections, because if I get some more hearing loss, I may never notice, since I no longer have those regular checks that I got in school.

  29. Jokerman says:

    I hear perfect, but those hearing aids sound pretty awesome… i kinda want some.

  30. OYID says:

    This post made me cry. I’m just so happy things are going so well for you and your family. I’ve been reading this blog for a long time and am a fan of much, if not most (if not all!), of your work (Witch Watch is awesome, btw). I’m personally going through some tough times right now and it’s just great to know you’re all doing ok.
    Take care, a lot of us really like what you do. :)

  31. Zaxares says:

    That line about “today I learned what water sounds like” made me very sad. :( It makes me wonder about how much blind/deaf people or people with other sensory disabilities are missing out on. In any case, I’m glad that things are looking up now! :)

  32. Zak McKracken says:

    Question: How does this device work? Is Rachel missing part of the spectrum, and the hearing aid works as an equalizer to boost the missing bits (which I suppose has to be calibrated), or is it something more complicated?

    1. Hers is mostly straight across the board aside from some minor difference at the top and bottom of the spectrum. I am not 100% sure how it works but it doesn’t just turn up the volume, it clarifies the sound and has different settings to ignore other sounds like background noise through directional microphone and some sound filtering. So restaurant setting is forward only and also filters droning people talking sounds and dishes sounds (I believe). Home setting is all directions except right smack behind her head which is a blind spot. It filters certain sounds but not as many as street which also seems to filter some car sounds but all. We are still working out different ones. She found that she needs to be careful with them when crossing the street because if she puts them so they work well for conversation while walking she can’t hear cars.

      1. Zak McKracken says:

        Ah, that makes sense. I suppose it’s not as much signals being too weak but the usable range being limited (too low, you can’t hear it, too loud, it just booms in your head uncomfortably — I’ve got that sometimes when I have a bad tinnitus day).

        In public transportation or on the street, I sometimes just put noise-cancelling headphones in, with no music. Removes the constant background hum, and voices sound much clearer (because the phones can only remove roughly constant noises) I suppose the hearing aid does something similar though more sophisticated, on top of directional filters. Nice!

  33. Jeysie says:

    This hearing person does spend her every waking moment listening to music, and I agree that it’s heaven.

    I’m glad that everything turned out so well, and that she got to make such awesome discoveries. :D

  34. ccesarano says:

    A friend of mine wears a hearing aid, so I will be sharing this with her when I get home from work.

    I love the music that I listen to and I love to share it. One of the things I love most is taking a song I’ve listened to hundreds of times and trying to follow instruments or vocals I don’t normally pick up on, to get a better sense of how it all comes together. When I got the new Blind Guardian album I put it into my Dad’s righteous sound system so I could get as much of the full sound as possible.

    This post is the first time I feel like I never appreciated what I had before. I imagine your daughter enjoys drastically different things, but being able to hear any music is just… I dunno. Music is emotion to me. Hell, I almost cried at Distant Worlds in Pittsburgh this weekend.

    It is good yo hear that she can enjoy one of the greatest human accomplishments. And all while being a cyborg.

    The future is awesome.

  35. Rick says:

    Do the voice notifications spook her if she’s alone?

    It’s great that the cheap ones provided enough benefit to convince everyone to go ahead with the Borg version. It is indeed a good time in which we live. Imagine what wizardry awaits us tomorrow.

  36. The Nick says:

    Your description of modern hearing aid’s features here makes me want one.

    “I did in fact ask for this.”

  37. Torolf says:

    For me, I never listen to music. At all.

    Growing up it’s because there was none. Grew up in the backwoods of Iowa. Gravel or dirt roads, pump water, outhouses, etc. There was a party telephone line.

    When more modern conveniences came along, I was proud of doing without (still am, mostly. Still don’t use cell phones or television). Now I have the additional medical reason of migraines that have noise as one of their triggers. The neurologists want to inject me with botox to treat them, saying that all other avenues have been exhausted, but as someone who has never poisoned himself with nicotene or alcohol, injecting the botulism toxin is not attractive. Especially when they haven’t done any investigation into why the migraines started.

    Also, very happy that my Patreon money went towards this.

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