City Hearing

We are in downtown Chicago visiting my boyfriend’s brother.  I’m having a great time and I just love the skyscrapers and architecture.  A few funny hearing situations have popped up.

The other night sitting by the pool (wearing hearing aids), I swore I could hear the “L” trains which are above the street, adjacent to the high rise condo where we are staying.  “No it’s not the train,” my boyfriend tells me.  I tell him, “I swear there is a rumble – is one coming, I ask?” No he assures me, one is NOT coming.  “What is that noise then?”  I’m grasping for straws.

By then the others have joined the conversation.  No one hears anything.  I tell them I hear this low rumble in pulses.  They are all quiet for a moment and listen for what I’m hearing above all else.  A lady visiting with us says it could be possible road construction on road near by.  They decide it’s city noise.  It’s typical city rumble or the pulse of the city.  OK, I think, I guess I can understand that, but why do my hearing aids pick it up so well and how do they filter it out so easily???  I dunno.  Perhaps it is the mechanics of hearing aids.

The next day, as we toured the city on the “L” train, I took my hearing aids out. I can’t hear while traveling on the train.  Also, certain busy places of business it’s the same thing, I take my hearing aids out.  Last night we walked to the Cityscape bar at the Hilton.  It was Sunday night, traffic was low and the “L” trains had slowed down a bit.  A Harley motorcycle roars by and I can’t hear again. My boyfriend says something and I do not respond. He thinks I’m ignoring him but I tell him, “I can’t hear”… The motorcycle has gone by and is a distant rumble and “I still can’t hear,” I tell him.  It’s weird. I think my hearing aids shut down.  All of a sudden the volume goes back on to my normal and I can hear.  It dawns on me (after almost 2 years with these hearing aids) that they shut down in noisy situations to protect my remaining hearing or to keep me from wanting to rip them out of my ears. Two years and I barely notice this?  Who am I?  Where am I? Do I pay attention?

So, that’s why I can’t hear in noisy bars or on the “L” train.  My hearing aids adjust for me.  Interesting.  How come I never noticed this before???  I feel like a dimwit.


2 responses to “City Hearing

  1. Well written! BUT no way are you a dimwit, as there is no way for you and I to know what we are NOT hearing! 🙂

  2. Thanks Robin. I was thinking about this incident yesterday and how it took me so long to figure out. You are right, it’s hard to know what I’m not hearing.

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