My friend musician Sam Larkin developed hearing problems and in the last years, I asked him about it one time. I liked his explanation, “hearing aids work terrible with music. and terrible in general. you have very little sense of the direction from which any sound is coming. and i’m sure our ears somehow naturally adjust volume for sounds — as the sounds are on the way in. Which seems impossible. But with hearing aids, the rattling of a paper bag can be as big as a brick dropping on the floor. Sometimes, not always. For music, especially when you’re playing, it’s the filtering you miss, again. You want to turn them up to get some things better, but everything goes up and it’s not much help. on the other hand, they pretty well saved my life because i can hear now. can’t make the distinctions between sounds too well, and volume is a problem — turn it up and it’s all up. just not a situation without them, with natural hearing. most of what is said and sung onstage — even at Fat Alberts — I don’t get. I hear the noise, but can’t filter it finely enough. Movies are the same. Really don’t know what they’re saying. But in the end, if your natural hearing is disappearing, they’re the next-best thing.”

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