The hearing aid didn’t work.
Ben had the prescription filled right away, and as much as he hated to use something he believed should be reserved for old men, he couldn’t lose his hearing. So he swallowed his pride and let them measure his ears to make sure the hearing aid they got for him would fit properly. He paid an exorbitant amount of money for it before taking it home and fiddling with it. He even read the instructions.
At first, it seemed to work. Suddenly he could hear everything around him much more clearly and he understood what Naomi had been talking about – the volume on the TV was up way too high. So was the volume on the stereo and his car radio. He wondered how he had ever let it get that bad. He supposed it hadn’t seemed like such a big deal to turn the volume up every now and then, not realizing he was consistently turning it up higher and higher until all his speakers were maxed out.
But a few weeks later he started doing it again. This time he caught himself and he raised the volume on his hearing aid instead.
But pretty soon he was constantly raising the volume on his hearing aid, rather than his speakers. The problem was getting worse.
He called Dr. Ibrahim to make an appointment, but when he described the problem, she said his problem was out of her league as a general practitioner. She recommended an audiologist for Ben to see.
It did not go well.
The audiologist tested Ben’s hearing, both with and without the hearing aid before recommending a cochlear implant.
He explained what a cochlear implant was and how it would work.
“So it’s like an implanted hearing aid,” said Ben.
“Will I be able to turn the volume up and down like I can on my hearing aid?”
“So, what if my hearing keeps getting worse?”
“I’m afraid the cochlear implant is your best option.”
“So if it doesn’t work, I’m screwed.”
“It will work.”
Something about the way he said that made Ben nervous. He wasn’t just confident – he was smug.
“And how much will this cost me?”
He pulled out a few brochures and went over the options with Ben, recommending the most expensive microscopic piece of equipment Ben had ever seen.
“All that money for that tiny little thing?”
“It’s the most advanced technology and worth every penny. You won’t regret it.”
Ben didn’t say it out loud, but he couldn’t help thinking that was easy for a rich doctor to say. Would he still be saying it if he saw Ben’s bank account?
Instead, Ben said, “Thank you very much for your time, doctor. You’ve given me a lot to think about.”
Ben went home with all the numbers and figures the audiologist had shown him swirling around his mind. Behind it all he couldn’t shake the fear that he would soon be stone deaf and there was nothing anyone could do about it.
To be continued…