It must be nearly a year ago now that I went to have my hearing tested.

I did so because a very nice person rang me at home and asked if I would like a free hearing test.

Why not, I thought. So I made an appointment and missed it. They rang me again, I apologised profusely for wasting their precious time and made another appointment. This time I postponed it because something came up.

I can't remember what it was but it was something I grabbed on to, telling myself I must do this instead of going to my appointment, anything really that would put it off.


Why? Because deep down I knew my hearing wasn't as good as it should have been.

Finally, after dilly-dallying for about three months I went. The results weren't so great and I was referred to an audiologist.

I was put in a little booth and had to push a button every time I heard a sound. The audiologist, who was an absolutely lovely man, then looked in my ears.

I've been asked by doctors several times over the years if I had done a lot of swimming or diving.

I don't think I did any more swimming than the next person and certainly not a lot of diving.

Sure enough the audiologist said I had "swimmer's ear". I'd heard this from doctors before but they said it was nothing to worry about. It's a narrowing of the ear canal they said.

I wasn't worried about it, but somewhere in the deep dark recess of my brain I knew my hearing wasn't 100 per cent.

I didn't and still haven't admitted to myself that it might be a problem in the future. It wasn't until the audiologist asked me if I watched people's lips when they were talking to me.


No, I started to say before stopping and realising that's exactly what I was doing. How could this be possible I asked him?

I'm not old.

The audiologist said "you wear glasses, does that make you old?"

No but ...

"Unfortunately, hearing aids are never going to be fashionable like glasses are these days," he said

"Hearing problems are always associated with old people."

How true. You never see young, beautiful models strutting the catwalk with hearing aids ... but you do see them wearing all sorts of designer glasses.

Years ago when I was told my youngest daughter had to wear glasses because she had a lazy eye I was really upset.

She hadn't even started kindy. I was worried she would be teased.

It was a nightmare, not because she was teased but because she wouldn't keep them on. Then when she had to wear a patch it was even worse.

I'm not sure why but today there seems to be loads of young children wearing glasses and no one so much as blinks an eye because these days it's trendy and if you have enough money you can have different frames to match your outfits.

Hearing aids have come a long way since the days of the ear trumpet.

The devices these days can apparently be adjusted with your smart phone, I don't even want to know how that works, thinking about it makes my head spin. They are smaller, come in all sorts of colours and have numerous features.

Still I shy away from the very idea of them. There is nothing remotely trendy about a hearing aid.

As the audiologist. said "I can see you are not ready for the idea of them yet".

He's absolutely right. My "hearing loss" is not affecting any part of my life yet.

Although someone did mention I was loud when I was on the phone ... but then I do have a loud voice.

Perhaps it's time I became one of the softly-spoken people.

Linda Hall is assistant editor at Hawke's Bay Today.