Thoughts On Human Adaptability … And Hearing!

For Christmas, my daughter bought me a set of hearing aids.  Now, I was born with defective ears, and when I was very young, I think around 8 years old, I tried hearing aids … this was back in the late 1950s when hearing aids meant a box strapped to the chest with wires leading from the box to big, bulky pieces in both ears.  Well, long story short, they didn’t work out for me and the audiologist said that my particular hearing problem could not be resolved with hearing aids.  As I aged, the problem grew worse and today I am about 95% deaf.  But, with the improvements in the hearing aid technology in recent years, my daughter thought it was worth a shot.  Her order was delayed, so it was a late Christmas present, arriving just before New Year’s, and a complete surprise to me, for while we had talked about it, I had no idea she had actually ordered them.

With eager anticipation combined with a bit of trepidation, I tried them on … and … WOW!!!  I never knew our front door squeaked!  I didn’t know that a toilet flushing made noise!  Had no idea that my keyboard was so LOUD!  I can hear the kitties cry!  I can hear Natasha clearing her throat and Chris snuffling!  One day I was in the kitchen rinsing off some dishes when I heard voices behind me, even caught some of the words, so I swung around, for I thought I was alone in the house!  It was the neighbor kids walking through my backyard on their way home from school!  I heard them through closed windows and a wall!!!

Needless to say, I am a happy camper!  Yes, there are a few negatives, like sometimes there’s just too much noise between the television (if Chris is home), three people typing on keyboards, the cats scratching in the litterbox, the furnace running, the washing machine spinning, etc. And my own voice sounds overly loud and somewhat mechanical. But the positives far outweigh the negatives. Last night, I noticed something different.  For the first several days, I marveled constantly about the things I could hear that I had never heard before, but last night when I took the hearing aids out for the night, it was the silence I noticed.  I did not hear the water running, did not hear the furnace nor the cats.  I think this means that I have gotten so used to wearing the hearing aids, to hearing sounds, that silence is no longer my norm, but rather the aberration.

Which brings me to my point, in case you were wondering if I had one.  We become conditioned.  In this case, I spent nearly 72 years being unable to hear, depending on lip reading, closed captioning, and otherwise just nodding my head and smiling, but it took me just over a week to become conditioned to hearing everyday sounds, and then silence became the anomaly.  Here in the U.S., we have become conditioned or inured to gun violence, to bigotry and racism, to corrupt politicians, to wealthy corporations enjoying the fruits of our labour, to the poor and homeless living hand-to-mouth.  If asked to think about those things, we do and we are horrified, but on a day-to-day basis, we simply don’t think about them because they have become the ‘norm’ just as surely as my hearing running water is now the norm.  Every day there is a new horror and we learn to skim the news and simply turn a blind eye, get on with our own lives.

Humans are adaptable creatures … throughout history humans have evolved, have adjusted to meet the circumstances of the changing world.  In most ways that is a good thing, a necessary thing for our survival as a species.  But when it enables us to simply accept the unacceptable, perhaps it is not such a good thing.  When our senses become dulled to the horrors of children being killed in schools, of police killing Black people at a higher rate than white people, of politicians favouring the wealthy over the rest of us, of homeless people living on the streets, then our adaptation to the new norms puts us on a path set to destroy the very things that make us ‘human’ by definition.

There are many things that we must adapt to in order to survive in this world, but when gun violence becomes the acceptable norm, when each set of elected politicians is just a little more corrupt than the last, when people are shunned and abused because of the colour of their skin, their religion or sexual orientation, those are things that we should never accept as the “new normal”.  If we allow them to, then future generations, our grandchildren and and their children, will pay for our apathy. If we want the world to be a better place, then we have to change it and we cannot change it if we are willing to simply accept what is wrong.

55 thoughts on “Thoughts On Human Adaptability … And Hearing!

  1. Wow, Sis. I love this post so much. I am so happy that you are able to hear again, and I bet it is a huge adjustment after such a long time of silence. What a wonderful present from Natasha!

    I love what you said about us browsing through the news and turning a blind eye to the bad stuff. I wish everyone got fueled and fired up from reading all of the injustices or seeing all the trauma that the country is taking right now. It’s a “new normal” that I can never accept.

    Love ya, Sis! This is a must read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed, it is an astounding thing to hear water dripping, a glass being put down, and the sound of a baby laughing!

      People are people, and the human mind can only take in so much before it simply tunes out that which doesn’t seem relevant at the moment. This is how Hitler managed to come to power in Germany and how many other governments have failed, because people got inured to it all. We must try hard to keep people on their toes, keep them from tuning out.

      Thanks again for the reblog, Sis! Greatly appreciated! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s awesome! I love that you are getting to experience those sounds! So cool!

        For me, it brought to mind the ease of people falling victim to cults and the like as well. The reason so many followed Manson and Koresh was because they said something different than all the rest and appealed to the part of the brain that conditions them to seek out that kind of control.

        You’re most welcome! I wish I was able to spread the word more. I supposed I will get caught back up on life again when I graduate haha! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        • You are, I think, spot on with your assessment of cult-followers. I would only add that I think many of them are bored with their lives and seek something new & different, yet are not well-educated enough to understand the dangers posed by those people and ideologies they choose to follow.

          Ha ha … yes, when you graduate you’ll get caught back up on everything, mostly sleep!!! ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          • I agree with the points you brought up as well. I think submissive personalities would be very vulnerable also. I think of that show Escaping Polygamy and the one about Scientology. We actually have one of those churches up in Fresno. I think it ties in with Q’anon as well. It’s all very cultist.

            I will send you an email with my class schedule. I was going to share it with the classes post, but that did not seem very internet safe to me. It’s going to be a long semester, and I don’t get my summer off either lol. Work hard, play harder 😁 😝

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yes, I definitely think you’re right about that! I know nothing about the church of Scientology, but if you want a real eye-opener … remember Paula White, that evangelical priestess who was Trump’s personal ‘pastor’? She is a follower of something called ‘prosperity theology’ … take a look: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology Seems quite the opposite of what I have been told Christianity is all about!!!

              I’ll be looking for your email! I agree … don’t post personal info, especially given that you’ll be on campus until late at night! Better safe than sorry! ❤

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              • Scientology is very masculine and overbearing in my opinion. There are a lot of famous folks that are involved with practicing Scientology. Here is their website: https://www.scientology.org/what-is-scientology/. It’s definitely masculine, and it is an odd “religion” that has their own television station.

                I remember that priestess…bat shit crazy! Which explains the state of the union for quite a while LOL. I remember seeing a few of her sermons in the time that Q’anon was being brought to the world stage at the end of Trump’s term.

                I find it hard to say, “I’m a Christian” or “I am a Wiccan” or “I am a Buddist” etc. I just say that I have faith. Faith can translate to a person’s own relationship with a higher power. Your higher power doesn’t need a name or location…it just needs to know that you have your own beliefs. That’s my outlook anyway.

                I sent you the class schedule just now. I need to login my WP app to this account rather than my other one. That way I will know when everyone is posting. I am going to try not to disappear because there is too much going on. I miss you when I am gone! 💗 On the plus side, my logic and composition class is based on current events 😁

                I think I will put a bat in my car too haha! ❤

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  2. I’m so happy for you that you can now hear but why must the celebratory aspect of this revelation be morphed into a political post. Is it not possible to just celebrate something without going full on politics about it for once?
    I imagine, in some ways, it must have been even more overwhelming to experience hearing than you were able to put into words and I thought of how it would possible for me if I were to ever gain sight. I wish you many great experiences with your new found sense and even having hearing all of my life, the noise does sometimes get to be too much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Scott! I am enjoying being amazed by new sounds, such as hearing my neighbor’s baby laugh for the first time! Scott, I did not turn it into a political post at all. It isn’t political, merely my thoughts on society, how we all become inured to things we should be paying attention to. I literally had that thought as I was marveling over things I’ve taken for granted all my life. I wish they would invent some miracle that would allow you to see one day … you would be so amazed and I would be so happy for you!

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  3. what a clever and important post.
    I’m so happy for you to hear…. I often discussed with my mother what, if she could choose, would be more desirable: Hearing better or seeing better. We both loved music and nature.

    I hear such comments from friends who had their eyes operated. So many colours! Such wild shades…. I wish I could have my eyes operated that way. But helas, it’s not possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 🤣 Indeed I do!!! Tonight, I took some soup to our friends next door and got to hear their baby, Naya, laugh for the first time! I’ve seen her laugh before, but never actually heard it! What a delight!

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  4. I couldn’t agree more Jill. I will never feel hardened off to the horrors of our modern societal issues but when your hands are tied you move on to those things you can affect. When I find opportunities to help, to speak out and at the very least offer empathy I do.
    But…so happy you found a hearing aid that works so well for you! Bless your daughter’s heart. You know I had a blind Sunday school teacher when I was a pre teen. She had been blind since birth. It spawned an interest in Helen Keller for me and I studied her life and contributions at a young age. I remember saying my preyers at night and giving thanks for every one of my senses, Right now it is still dark out and I am listening to the world wake up here. The wind whooshing through the trees, the roosters crowing, every bird waking up. It is a blessing.
    But it would be nice to shut out the hubs’s snoring…. 😉🫢❤️Have a terrific week my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree … it is highly frustrating to read about shootings every day in our community, but we are basically helpless to change the circumstances. But, we just have to keep letting our elected officials know that we DEMAND gun legislation, and vote only for those who promise to at least try! Sigh.

      Yes, the hearing aids are great … daughter Chris is a gem and I am so very lucky to have her! Your imagery of the wind, the roosters and birds, makes me wish I were there! And yes, I hear you about the husband’s snoring!!! 🤣🤣 Thanks, Cheryl, and I hope you have a great week as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a brilliant post Jill. Like you I wear hearing aids – my genetic condition is more to do with my brain not processing speech properly but I also have some hearing loss and amplification helps. Like you I have noticed the difference between the noises with them in and the silence when I take them out. Each time I return to the hospital and they are adjusted I have to adapt again (Mine are prescribed on the National Health service and set to compensate for the frequencies I have lost). We are indeed adaptable and we get used to coping with all kinds of sh*te. The good thing is that if, like your ears and mine, we are poked in the right way we can notice and change. I just don’t know quite how to make people wake up to the mess. But you. I and a lot of other good people are working on it!

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  6. It took me about six weeks for my brain to fully adjust to hearing through my hearing aids. But adjust it did and now I have found that when I’m not wearing them, my brain is having trouble hearing much of anything anymore. So I am now wearing them during most of my waking hours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, already I find that my brain has trouble hearing anything when I’m not wearing them. Like you, I try to wear them most waking hours until around midnight, when I take them off so I can concentrate on my work for a couple of hours without any distraction (and to charge them, so I don’t have to leave my laptop running overnight!) I remembered that you were having some problems with yours initially, so I’m really glad you’ve adjusted to them so well!

      Liked by 1 person

      • My wife is thrilled with my having hearing aids. The volume on the TV doesn’t blow her out of the room and I’m not constantly saying “What did you say?” to her. You said the hearing aids your daughter bought for you were OTC. Do you mind sharing what brand they are. I got mine through an audiologist m, and they were really expensive, because, at the time, they weren’t available OTC. But if (or when) I need a new pair, I might consider OTC hearing aids.

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  7. What a beautifully thoughtful and loving gift from your daughter! ❤ And how wonderful that you have adjusted to them so quickly! Enjoy the new adventures, and thank you for reminding us to never stop listening and reflecting upon the important events in life that must continue to be talked about and heard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed, my daughter is the kindest, most considerate individual I know! And yes, I am lucky that I adjusted to them so quickly … several friends have told of horrible experiences with them, which was the reason for my initial trepidation. It seems to me that we are so bombarded with news on a daily basis that our brains just quickly learn to tune much of it out. That is a mistake, for we must remain aware of the problems, else they will never be fixed!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You do not know what you are missing — until you find out it is there!
    I have done that twice now in life. First it was sight. I had to sit at the front of class so I could see the blackboard. To me this was normal. Then one day a friend left his glasses on my desk. As a joke I put them on, about to mske a joke. The joke was on me. Suddenly I could see! And his glasses were not made for me. When I got a pair made for me, the world changed.
    It was the same with my hearing. Thst vanished so slowly I never noticed it going. Then I went back to university at 54 years of age. If I sat at the back of the room I could not hear the prof. There I was back at the front of the class again. I tried hearing aids, but they did not help me.
    Last year I tried again, because they said they had a new way to make them. This time they worked. I too can hear again…

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know you had some problems with yours recently, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’ve not experienced the things you did, thankfully. I’m glad they are working out better for you now! Isn’t it great to be able to hear ‘stuff’?

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        • I’m glad, too. It was yours and Fandango’s experiences that made me a little leery at first, but thankfully I’m adapting well enough. One thing that does bother me, though, is that there is a loud, high-pitched squeal whenever my hand gets close to my ears, such as if I scratch my head, or if someone hugs me.

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          • I wonder if there’s some sort of setting you change to fix that issue? Maybe it’s got something to do with the proximity of objects to the censors and they’re feeding back because of that proximity of objects or other matter? I don’t know if that makes sense.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I’ve been adjusting the bass/treble, and a couple of other settings, and it helps some. You’re right about the proximity of objects, though, for if I bend over to get something out of a lower cabinet, and my head is nearly touching the cabinet door, they squeal. And if someone hugs me and their face is close to mine, they squeal. Just takes some getting used to, I think.

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          • That’s feedback. The noise is amplified by the hearing aid, and the hand is usually cupped and echoes the noise right back into the aid. Try to learn to use just one finger to scratch, and to keep a bit of space between heads during a hug. It is annoying, but with patience it can be controlled.

            Liked by 1 person

  9. Jill, what a terrific present, the gift of hearing, I am excited for you. Best wishes.

    Good job on the analogy to getting numb to what is wrong. We seem to tolerate stuff we should not be it gun violence, unscrupulous politicians lying with impunity or organizations taking advantage of others without accountability,

    We need to open our ears and eyes more. This is not acceptable, we should say. We deserve better. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was definitely a wonderful present! My daughter is a gem, for sure.

      Thanks, Keith … I’ve been pondering on the situation of humans becoming inured to such things as gun violence, racism, and political corruption for a while, and this just seemed to me a viable analogy. If such things as school shootings are allowed to become the norm, then we have lost the war. Sigh.

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  10. I’m really happy that you can now HEAR, Jill. I too have hearing difficulties (not as bad as you) so I can identify. I am curious, however, about the aids that your daughter got for you. Are they the new “over-the-counter” ones … and have you had them adjusted by a hearing aid specialist? I ask because your remark about “too much noise” might mean they need tweaking.

    In any case, I can appreciate the “new world” you’re experiencing. 😍

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, they are the newly approved OTC aids, a highly-rated brand. I haven’t been to a hearing aid specialist, but I did some online research that said the likely cause of some of the problems is the size of the piece that goes into the ear canal. Since it came with three different sizes, I plan to experiment with the other sizes in the next few days. Meanwhile, I’m also tweaking them with the app that allows me to adjust volume, bass, treble, and type of situation. It just takes a bit of time.

      Liked by 1 person

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