Olivia Newport hearing aids

Would you see these if I didn't tell you they were there?

My friend is a drunk and not afraid to admit it. That’s one of many things to love about her.

A couple of months ago at a book group meeting, Heather smiled at me across the room and asked, “How’s your tub?”

I thought it was a peculiar question. Probably some dumb blank look crossed my face. “Your work,” she said, “how’s your work going?”

Oh. How’s your job?

This was far from the first time something like this happened to me, but it was the one that made me think, “Hey, I have good insurance at the moment. It will only cost me $20 to find out exactly how awful my hearing is.” A doctor told me a while ago that I had hearing loss, but nothing that needed action right away. “Come back in a year,” he said.

Yeah. Well. I waited fourteen years. But I finally trotted off to an ENT practice to see a doctor and paid my $20. The nurse invited me through the hallowed doors and said, “We’re just going to get a urine test first.”

Urine test. For hearing loss? Hearing test. Hearing test! Yes, I need a hearing test.

Well, I tanked. When the audiologist put sample hearing aids in my ears, I was instantly in love with sound. Crunching, crackling, flicking, flipping, scraping, sizzling sound. And words. Words. I do love words.

So I am now the owner of two hearing aids (these things are not a cheap date) and the recipient of the special revelation that my left ear canal has the smallest opening the audiologist has ever seen. Jamming a device in there is no fun. It’s like being 14 again and learning how to put contacts in and take them out. I was practically in tears with spending all this money and then not being able to do it. After one day, I went back for a remedial lesson and wondered how many mornings the audiologist would put them in for me.

I have a vanity-friendly variety of hearing aids. People don’t see them, especially if I let my hair grow a little longer. But if Heather Kopp is not afraid to admit she is a Christian alcoholic in recovery, why should I be afraid to admit I don’t hear so well?

Why do we feel we have to hide our imperfections? Is the world going to end if I admit I have hearing loss? Is anyone who loves me going to cast me out? The fact is, I’m hearing a ton of stuff now, and I’m more comfortable in a variety of social settings. Hearing is so much better than guessing at the gaps and trying to look intelligent. My life is actually better for having faced the truth.

Thanks, Heather, for a great lesson. (Check out Heather Kopp’s exceptionally honest blog about craving grace at www.soberboots.com or follow @soberboots.)

• What’s your truth question?







• What is your truth question?