I recently got my hearing tested. No, I didn't pop down to my local WalMart's hearing aid desk. It's open to all and right by the front entrance where anyone could see me sitting there! Instead I executed a stealth sidle over to my ENT specialist (note I do have the excuse of hay fever). He quietly directed me to a 'hearing services' office tastefully tucked away in an obscure tower - little chance of being spotted there.
Presciently, five years back I filed in my 'Future' drawer an alarming newspaper article about 60-somethings getting deaf a full decade before their parents. That filing followed an earlier clandestine visit to my ENT over long-term tinnitus - ringing in the ears. Being the privately-educated Englishman he is, he immediately connected that ailment with my laudable service in army cadet corps in the prime of my youth. No ear muffs on the rifle range in those tough-it-out days.
As I've since encountered some chaps with the same problem from attending Canada's finest independent boys schools, I feel I'm in the best of company. Though in my less self-assured moments I do wonder if standing right beside the biggest speakers during a packed Animals gig might not have been what did my hearing in. No fire restrictions on audience size back then. Instead, Eric Burden at full blast into my eardrums.
So hear, sorry - I've got it on the brain, here I sit with a weird tube in my left ear (the one that got the straight line sonic benefit from bullets exiting). And as the 2006 newspaper noted about this gizmo in my ear - "unfortunately, it amplifies all sounds".
Right! No mouse sneaking through our pantry will henceforth go undetected. When the weather warms up I expect to hear every unwanted fly rubbing its legs together. Nothing that moves remains safely unrevealed to me.
But right now I'm constantly startled, and I twitch a lot. If that and the new blotches on my skin weren't enough to give me away, my full membership of codgerdom will now be readily apparent to anyone getting a clear left-side profile.
To make things worse, yesterday's paper has something else to make me worry. You see, now I'm visually a crock, I might be tempted to commit suicide. It's official that we Boomers are more prone to do ourselves in than the three generations before.
I don't recall my parents warning me all this might happen. Did yours?
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