“The people of Israel have closed their ears. … They don’t want to hear the Lord’s message,” (Jeremiah 6:10).

I first reported this story a year ago when tests revealed I have enough hearing loss to warrant intervention. Research tells me nonintervention comes with repercussions, including relationship stress and a correlation — over time — with increased risk for cognitive decline.

So, when my audiologist reached out with an invitation to participate in a trial designed to test-drive some new tech, I said “yes.” Now I get to use state-of-the-art hearing aids for a month before making a decision.

The effect has been immediate and profound:

I did not know the mouse I use at this computer makes an audible ‘click.’

I did not know the keys make a noise when I type.

I did not know I could hear my dog’s name tag when it bounces against his collar.

Before adjustments the hearing aids made my voice sound — to me — like I was using a microphone on stage. Then, as frequencies were tweaked to fit my prescription, my own voice started to sound more familiar.

My job now is to pay attention, to keep notes and to be honest about how wearing this tech makes a difference — or not.

I especially need to know how well I’m hearing Rebekah. Because in the final analysis, hearing clearly is critically important for a relationship. Not volume so much as clarity — it’s an important distinction. But it’s impossible to know if we can hear at all unless we first make the effort to listen.

I’ll never forget our daughter’s words when she was 3 and had important things to say: “Listen to me with your eyes, Daddy!” she insisted.

So, the audiology people can only do the equipment part. They can bring to bear the very best available tech in order to give me a fighting chance. The rest is up to me. ‘Lots of money’ is not the critical issue here. What’s important is my desire — or not — to be fully engaged.

Previous articleFaith & Footprints: Old North Church — Boston, Massachusetts
Next articleNew Faux Flowers Are For Rent
Derek Maul
Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at www.derekmaul.wordpress.com.