Kids hated having braces on their teeth and old geezers would never admit to needing a hearing aid. Well, all that has changed.
Now kids beg for braces – change colours from lime green to black or pretty pink every few weeks. Maybe they consider having their school colours or prefer to show support for their favourite sports team every time they open their mouth.
Parents are forking over major bucks. It’s all for a good cause. Their offspring are part of the cool crowd. Kids with braces on their teeth aren’t bullied – they’re envied. That’s great, right? Not really. Well, it’s good that kids aren’t subject to name calling, of course. But, in my opinion, there is a downside to this era of the perfect smile. We have a new generation looking like they all bought dentures from the same website. Gleaming, even, straight teeth right off the assembly line. Identical smiles. They’ve lost so much of their natural character and identity. Before you get bent out of shape about my comments, know that I admit some people benefit greatly from the skills of an orthodontist. But I think it’s taken to extremes now. Anywho, that’s a rant for another day.
Let’s talk about hearing aids for a minute. Are you ready for this? If wearing braces on your teeth is the big thing with kids these days, then hearing aids are the new craze with the geriatric crowd. Hearing aids have come a long way. They’re practically invisible. Anyone could be wearing one without you knowing it.
Actually, it was a point of embarrassment for me one day. When I approached the counter, he was looking at his computer monitor. He spoke. Then I addressed him and he answered. So I proceeded to rattle on about something I needed. That’s when he looked up at me. I’m talking on the phone, he said. My mouth clamped shut.
When I thought of how I’d jabbered on as if his responses were for me I almost laughed aloud – even though I felt foolish. I checked for his little headset. There was nothing visible. He tapped his ear – Bluetooth in my hearing aid, he said. Amazing!! It was my first encounter with this technology.
My mind works in strange ways sometimes. You don’t have to be a certain age to be hearing impaired but still, I wondered if he was an electronics geek who just had to have all the latest gadgets. Maybe he was like little Suzy begging to see a dentist to get braces on her teeth. Bluetooth. Huh! Who would have thought. Is it too far-fetched to consider Bluetooth in dental braces? Hey parents, open your wallets.
After my encounter with the gadget guy, I started noticing newspaper and magazine ads for hearing aids. Suddenly, wearing a hearing aid seemed like the most desirable thing in the world. One ad even touted the option of adjusting your device from your smart phone. Go back to enjoying your relationships, the advertisement said. It almost read like a Viagara promotion. The hearing aids come complete with a ‘Be Happy Guarantee™’. What did I tell you? Incredible.
I went for a hearing test myself. No, not because of the ads. I went a few years ago when my husband and son constantly told me to have my hearing checked. Before we even got started, I told the audiologist my hearing was fine. The problem was everyone around me spoke softly or mumbled. It was infuriating, I said. She assured me that most people having an evaluation made the same claim. The good news is that there’s nothing wrong with my auditory senses. Considering the popularity of hearing aids, maybe that’s the bad news.