Around the time this photo was taken, I would be wearing my analog hearing aids.
When I was 12 years old, I had been wearing analog hearing aids for about six or seven years. I was used to the sound quality, having never experienced anything different. My audiologist suggested a switch to digital hearing aids. This would have been the late 90s, when digital innovation in hearing aids was starting to pick up steam.
I remember being nervous about the switch. Dr. Scharber explained how my new hearing aids would be able to direct sound more easily and also help me differentiate between background noise and important noise. I remember asking him how a hearing aid could do that, and he told me that my ears and my brain would do most of the work for me. I wasn't used to thinking of my ears as able to do much of anything for me, so hearing that made me think that maybe my ears weren't totally useless after all.
When I got the new hearing aids, I was amazed at the sound quality. Right away I wanted more sound out of those little aids. I remember them calling me a "power hearer" at the audiologist's office. I wanted to be able to hear everything.
I don't remember having to adjust to the sounds at all, but I do remember having to identify background noise I had never heard before. I could hear the air conditioner, and when we got home I heard the microwave ding from the other side of the house. The next time it rained, if I focused I could actually hear it beating on the rooftop (I'm not always able to, unfortunately, because I love the sound).
In 2009 I switched hearing aids again, this time to digital aids with Bluetooth capability. Again, the sound quality was a big jump and again I wanted more sound out of the even smaller devices. To me getting new hearing aids is like getting a pair of glasses. Your vision - or hearing - can degrade in such small intervals that you don't even realize what you are missing. When you get a pair of hearing aids or eyeglasses that help restore what you've lost it's great.
I can't wait to see what new advances come out in hearing aids in the future. The new technology is amazing.