Mary and I went out to lunch yesterday and not long after we ordered, my hearing aide battery died, going I suppose, to wherever good dead batteries go in their electric afterlife.
The restaurant in which we were eating is popular and somewhat noisy, so I knew I was in for a minor adventure for the rest of the meal.
The first confirmation of that came when Mary said something to me. I thought she was talking about rain and I said, “Yeah, there’s a slight chance of it.”
“A slight chance of what?” she said. It turns out she was talking about something having to do with her nose. Now I realize nose does not sound anything at all like rain, but somewhere in her sentence or two, there was a sound that made me think she said rain.
Of course that wasn’t the only problem I had with my dead battery. When the waitress came to our table I could never be sure whether she was asking if I wanted more tea or if I was ready for the check. I’m not very good at lip reading at all, you see
About a year and a half ago, a more disastrous consequence followed after my battery went dead at a restaurant. We were having lunch with Mary’s sister in Baton Rouge when the little voice warned “Battery!” and a couple of minutes later the poor old battery expended the last of its amps.
So, rather than leave a useless device in my ear, I put it in my pants pocket. Then, as we were saying goodbye to sister-in-law in the parking lot I stuck my hand in my left pants pocket and began fiddling with the hearing aide. When I got back to where we were staying, I went to remove the device from my pocket and it wasn’t there.
All I can figure out is that when I was messing with it in my pocket, it must have fallen out of the pocket when I withdrew my hand. Of course I called the restaurant to see if anyone had found a hearing aide in the parking lot, or for that matter, anywhere else on the premises of the restaurant. They hadn’t, of course. And my confidence in their finding it was diminished when I heard the young man who answered the phone tell someone in the background, “These girls wouldn’t know a hearing aide if they saw one.”
Well! He was probably right, though. It does resemble some kind of bug more than anything else.
(Hey, maybe that’s the origin of the old saying, “Let me put a bug in your ear.” Or, maybe not.)
Even when it has a good new battery in it, the device is not foolproof. In a noisy environment, it picks up all the background noise, people chattering, music, TV dialogue or whatever, and that makes it often difficult for me to understand what someone is saying to me. Even driving in the car, it picks up road and traffic noise so that I have to repeatedly ask Mary to speak up so I can understand her.
It works well in church or at the movies, however. After I’d lost my first hearing aide in the incident described above and was waiting for a new one to come in, Mary and I went to a movie. I had such trouble understanding the dialogue that I told Mary, who was enjoying the show, that I was going home and I’d pick her up later. It was either that or endure growing frustration. She understood and said, “I’ll see you later.”
Some voices are easier than others to understand. If you have a resonant voice with clear pronunciation, I’ll catch every word you say. But if you talk softly, or rapidly, I’ll miss a lot.
But, I’m better off with it than without it, obviously. I wouldn’t want to consistently confuse a nose with rain, after all.