The Mrs. wanted to visit some friends in Phoenix over the weekend. So we headed out on the town Saturday night to Oldtown Scottsdale.
I had never been so I'm taking in the sights and people watching as we looked for a place to eat.
Seemed like a pretty mixed crowd strolling along the canal. Young professionals, retirees; I passed more than a couple tables I noticed were more mature adults on dates.
As our party of four were walking around, and settled on the restaurant (Kelly's at Southbridge), a friend asked while we were walking in: "Can you hear us in here?"
It wasn't just busy, it was LOUD. Pushing a 100 dB loud.
How loud is that? (here is a link with a great list of examples):
Weakest sound heard - 0dB
Whisper Quiet Library at 6' - 30dB
Normal conversation at 3' - 60-65dB
Telephone dial tone - 80dB
City Traffic (inside car) - 85dB
Train whistle at 500', Truck Traffic - 90dB
Jackhammer at 50' - 95dB
Subway train at 200' - 95dB
Level at which sustained exposure may result in hearing loss - 90 - 95dB
Hand Drill - 98dB
Power mower at 3' - 107dB
Snowmobile, Motorcycle - 100dB
Power saw at 3' - 110dB
Sandblasting, Loud Rock Concert - 115dB
Pain begins - 125dB
Pneumatic riveter at 4' - 125dB
Jet engine at 100' - 140dB
12 Gauge Shotgun Blast - 165dB
Death of hearing tissue - 180dB
Loudest sound possible - 194dB
Now, despite this, I was doing pretty well. I have worn hearing aids for well over 30 years, and despite my severe hearing loss, my devices are well programmed with adequate hardware and features to handle the environment. I was reasonably comfortable and could hear my wife and the other couple in our party pretty well.
As we sat on couches facing each other about 5-6 feet a part, They even remarked how they were struggling to hear from time to time.
And therein lies the rub.
So often in pursuing or using hearing instruments an unrealistic expectation may come into play with patients. There is a reason they are called hearing aids/instruments and not hearing cures. A hearing instrument cannot make you hear again like you are 18, any different than new shoes can make us run like we are 18 again. It is a process.
You need to start with good equipment and you need to have patience.
I ran cross country when I was younger and it was something I always enjoyed. Today, let's just say chasing my 4 year old around is about as much running as I currently do, but the Mrs. would also like us to start running 5Ks. While, I'm still in open negotiations on this topic, I recognize that should I acquiesce, putting on new running shoes tomorrow will not help me in completing (or even getting 25 yards) in a 5K.
While, I have knowledge on the subject from years past, and there are lots of information and tools online to help you train, I know the best results will come if I have a coach or running partner to help me through the harder parts of training. There will be times I'm frustrated. There will be times I have setbacks. There will be times I will want to give up. It is normal and it is human.
Improving your ability to hear and understand in conversations, particularly in challenging listening situations like restaurants, is not any different.
Don't start at a disadvantage by not having equipment that can handle the environments you want to be in. Hearing loss can be limiting your life, your choice of activities and your ability to communicate with those we enjoy having around us.
Better hearing is not simply a product or device that is picked up at a store and put on. It is a journey. Not always an easy one for some, but a rewarding one if you have the right professional and the right product. Let others in on your journey. You will be glad you did.
As for our night out at Kelley's in Southridge, it was excellent. We sat inside on their couches and had drinks while waiting for our table on the patio. The ambiance change greatly going from inside to the patio outside. Both were great and the food was fantastic. Looking forward to coming back.