Basically, I think you can say I love technology. And I really love what technology applied to surgery can do for an old body! No, I’m not talking about cosmetic surgery. I have been tempted in that direction, though! I’m talking about medical surgical procedures to help out old, worn body parts. I’ve had a few parts replaced. I don’t know what the docs did with the old parts. But, I have so many new body parts my son calls me the “Bionic Nonny.” I think he’s jealous! So, yes… I’ve decided technological advances can be good. Very good!
One of my newest experiences with advanced technology are the hearing aids I am currently wearing. I had excellent hearing until the last few years. And my hearing loss can’t be attributed to going to rock concerts with break-the-sound-barrier volume. I also did not wear earphones with the sound loud enough to rattle the brain, like so many of my generation. So, it came as somewhat of a shock to me when I started having difficulty understanding the high-pitched soft voices of my two granddaughters. Really, I shouldn’t have been that surprised, as I remember my dad was somewhat hard of hearing for as long as I can remember, and the genes he passed along (and I don’t mean Levi’s) probably played a role in my own hearing loss.
I had been wearing hearing aids for about three years when my audiologist asked me about joining a hearing aid trial group. In the trial, I would wear a new pair of hearing aids for a few weeks and then make an evaluation.
“Well, you know,” I thought, “that might not be a bad idea.”
So I said to Dr. Hörengut, the audiologist, “I’m still experiencing the frustration of hearing but not always understanding. And it’s those darn final consonants of words! ‘P’s and ‘b’s! They sound the same to me. And I can’t distinguish between final ‘t’s and ‘d’s. Okay… Sign me up. I’ll come to a luncheon to hear about these new hearing aids.”
By the way, did you notice that my audiologist’s name really fits her profession? “Hörengut” is German for “hear good.” So if we were to translate her name Dr. Hörengut to English, she would be Dr. Heargood. At least her name sends out positive vibes, if you know a little German and you know what she does for a living! I remember seeing a billboard one time advertising a law firm run by a father-son entity named “Crook and Crook.” I don’t know. That name would give me pause for reflection if I were looking for a lawyer. Of course, maybe it would depend on what area of law I needed help in. The billboard said, “Specializing in criminal law.” Do I dare repeat that old saying, “It takes one to know one”?
Anyway, the scheduled hearing aid presentation and luncheon date came. I walked out of the restaurant with new hearing aids in my ears that very day. After wearing them all day long, I felt good about how much more natural the sounds around me seemed to be.
However, as I was winding down for the evening, I took the hearing aids out and ran into my first problem: I couldn’t find the little raised ridge that I was used to pulling down to open the battery door so I could effectively turn my hearing aids off for the night. I worked for maybe ten minutes or so before I opened the instruction guides. Of course—if in doubt—try reading the instructions!
Let’s see… There were three little booklets. And they almost made the print large enough to read!
By the way, have you ever noticed that the warranties in those booklets are written in grey instead of black? The guy who writes those warranties is chuckling to himself as he curls his lip as if to say, “That’ll learn y’, dern y’!” Of course, these are in such light print that you won’t try to read them until something goes wrong. And by then the warranty will have expired!
But back to the three little booklets. They are called the “Quick Start Guide,” the “Hearing Control App User Guide,” and the “Operations Manual.” Oh my gosh! There was too much here for me to absorb in my tired brain that first night. So, I put them on my night stand close to my pillow in hopes that some sort of osmosis might take place while I slept.
The next morning all refreshed after a good night’s sleep, except for the two times that I had to get up to go to the bathroom, there is my adult literature ready to give instructions on the fabulous new technology of my trial hearing aids. Wow! Leafing through the “Hearing Control App User Guide,” I am told how to trigger a voice assistant.
“I sure could have used that last night,” I thought, “to ask something like, ‘Virtual Assistant, how in the world do I get the hearing aid battery doors open so I can put these ear appendages aside and get to sleep?’”
Continuing to flip through the hearing aid instruction booklet, I find another interesting feature. I can pair my aids with my Android smartphone and they can somehow rate my brain health. Let’s see…it says something about memory. Yes, I still remember most of what the factory rep told the luncheon group the day before. So…now my hearing aids are going to rate me on that?
What’s going to happen if I’m not rated “normal”? Is my phone going to call my ICE (in case of emergency) contact and say, “You’d better get over here and check on your mom! Her memory is not in the ‘Normal’ range today!”
Oh, and a word about my having an Android phone. No offense to you iPhone devotees but I refuse to buy one. A $49 cell phone from StuffMart works just fine for me. And besides, I have to save money somewhere to afford these hearing aids!
Hmm… My advanced technological hearing devices are also monitoring my heart rate. Good grief! I’m not a sedate senior citizen but I don’t need to have the heart rate of an athlete in training for a triathlon!
What else? These auditory wonders are keeping track of how many steps I take and calculating bodily health scores. Oops, I think my doctor’s number is stored in my cell phone. Ms. Elephant Ears, are you going to call my GP?
Brain score. Body score. Heart rate. This is getting to be more than I can handle!
Ah! Here’s something that does appeal to me. There is a translation feature. I love language. And since high school I’ve loved studying foreign languages. Let’s see. I choose my language. All right, my native language is English. And I want to engage in conversation with a person who speaks German.
I know a little German: Ich weiss ein bischen Deutsch. But not enough to speak comfortably. So my German conversant speaks her German into the phone. I speak my English. And the phone app translates her German into English for me, and my English into German for her.
That reminds me of the New Testament story of Pentecost which takes place after Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection. Peter and the other disciples were in the Jerusalem temple during a religious festival. They would have been speaking to each other in their native tongue, Aramaic. However, within the temple there was a huge crowd consisting of peoples of various languages and dialects.
Suddenly the Holy Spirit came down from heaven anointing these men untrained in preaching or languages. Thus, they began to speak and preach the Gospel of Christ in languages they had not studied. And the Bible account also states that this miracle of the Holy Spirit caused each listener to hear the disciples’ message in his or her own native tongue! So… that’s like what the little voice in my ear coming from my technologically savvy hearing aid is capable of doing! It can take the place of the Holy Spirit!
You know what? It just occurred to me that with my amazing hearing assistant, I don’t need God anymore. There’s no longer a need to offer up my usual morning prayer of “God, help me throughout this day.” I’ve got the supernatural assistance of THE NEW GOD!
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not laughing at God. In fact, I think it is probably God who is laughing. And pondering how humankind is going to handle this exponential increase in knowledge that has happened in the last three or four generations. He just might be saying to Himself, “Are the people I’ve created going to use all this knowledge for the betterment of themselves and the universe, or are they going to mess things up as they have done so many times before? I certainly want my people to seek me, the Lord, and not trust their own understanding of things. If they will, I will direct their thoughts, their hearts, and their footsteps in the right way.”
If you care to read the biblical account of what happened in Jerusalem as Jesus’ disciples were celebrating the Festival of Pentacost after his death, you can find it in the book of Acts, Chapter 2, verses 1 through 21.
I hope I at least made you smile or chuckle through most of my story. And maybe the last part can serve as your mental exercise for the day.
A few Laughable Lines to Brighten Your Day
And a Serious Thought or Two for Your Reflection
By Connie Carlisle Polley, 2019
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