My father started to lose his hearing in his 30’s. Before he died 11 years ago, he started to write a book about his experiences as someone who lost his hearing, whilst quite young, and how he coped with it. The technology has moved on since the 90’s, but much of his impression and experience lives on, so I thought I would start to write up extracts from his unpublished book to share with you.
He starts his first chapter with the title:
“Beginning a new sort of life”, by Geoffrey Saunders
So, you are going to wear a hearing aid.
This means that your hearing is impaired, which must be a source of great regret, but at least in one sense you are fortunate – you are living in the electronic age. Only a few generations ago, the only sort of hearing aid available was the ear-trumpet. This device simply funnelled sound waves into the ear drum. A cupped hand has a similar, if lesser. effect. and cam still be usefully employed, even with a hearing aid. It was only with the development of the thermionic valve in the 1920’s that electronic hearing aids became feasible. Thirty years later hearing aids were still based upon a fairly large body-worn amplifier connected by wires to a heavy separate battery pack and by a further wire to an ear-piece. Truly the wearer was “wired up” and much of what was actually heard was simply the noise of clothes rubbing on the microphone. Now and again they got choked up, and when was in the lab, being cleaned is was said that the lab assistant could determine the sec of the owner by whether it was full of talcum powder or pipe tobacco.