Saturday, April 21, 2007

Help - what's the real sound??

Getting used to this hearing aid is interesting. You kind of break it, and yourself, in over a period of about a month, with 1.5 hours per day for the first week, 3 hours per day for the second week and so on - usually taken in 3 bits per day. Of course, my life isn't like that. There seems little point of wearing it at home for that half hour or an hour, just to hear better the rattling of my keyboard. So I've always used it in a batch of several hours, when I was with people or in a concert. The other day I took it off at the dentist's and thought: 'Jeeez, it's gone quiet'. Obviously it does make a considerable difference.

Wearing it at concerts is another issue. I have been terrified of it whistling where other people can hear it. It whistles, for example, when I bring my hand near my ear, or when I hug someone. Adjusting it in the middle of a concert is a bit of a no-no, for the moment, until I sus it out better. I did notice it whistling a little, on and off, in a concert where I was sitting virtually on the first fiddler's lap, with the trumpets 3 metres behind. Though it does not do that in quiet moments, thankfully.

So you ask, why use it in a concert at all? Actually, it is programmed to pick up and amplify those bits of the sound range that I have trouble hearing, and today I noticed a marked difference in a concert of Beethoven and Brahms. It was amazing how clear, crisp and bright the orchestra sounded, and I wonder about those reviews I wrote where I said the orchestra sounded dull.....As it happens the aid should be set more strongly so that I hear even more, but that causes more feedback (whistling) and it makes the sounds more metallic. So the question is, how real is the sound that I hear? The current setting is a compromise between needing to hear and not having the whistling. But what the heck am I reviewing then? Should I keep off the topic of the sound altogether?

This will take some more experimentation. I was wondering, whilst listening to the orchestra, what the results might be if the orchestral musicians had their hearing tested....