Thursday, January 11

Hearing Test

One of the downsides of the aging process is this: things you take for granted gradually don't work as well as they once did.

Recently my wife complained that I had the television turned up rather loud. I understand that this is often the first sign of hearing loss so I thought I should get a hearing test.

The audiologist's office had a small waiting room and the only other person present was an older gentleman who made at least 3 trips to the men's room in the short time we waited.

After the last visit he looked a bit chagrined and said, "Plumbing's getting old, I guess."

"Well, you know, frequent urination is not always related to age...", I began to pontificate.

"I was talking about the toilet bowl", he said, looking offended. "It's a mess." I began an attempt to recover from my faux paux, but he was called into the back for his test before I could formulate a proper explanation for being an idiot.

A few minutes later he came out from the examination area, took a step toward the restroom but, after giving me a defiant look, continued on out the door.

The audiologist was younger than I expected him to be, and, as I tried to remember that faraway time when my doctors were actually older than I was, he sat me down in a sound proof room, a little bigger than a phone booth.

As I tried to remember that faraway time when there were still phone booths he placed a pair of earphones on my head and backed out, closing the door behind him.

The booth reminded me of those quiz shows where a contestant is isolated so he could not be given any clues to the questions.

It also bore a disturbing resemblance to the gas chamber in San Quentin.

As I tried to remember that faraway time when there were still Sixty-Four Thousand Dollar Questions and justice was meted out via cyanide pellet, the earphones began producing a series of beeps and boops that I had to identify as coming from the left or right side of my head. Then I had to repeat several words that were given to me in gradually decreasing volume levels. The last two I couldn't really hear that well, but I think they were "Old timer" and "Gramps" or, possibly, "Geezer".

Finally the ordeal was over and the audiologist showed me a graph with the results of my test. It didn't make much sense and I must have looked confused because finally he just said, "All in all, I'd say you were borderline normal."

"Borderline normal, eh?" I said. "Well, doc, I know a lot of people would agree with you about that."

As I was writing out the check he started to say, "By the way, if you need to use the men's room..."

Mustering all my dignity and standing as straight as I could I looked him in the eye.


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