Upholding the Family (Hearing Aid) Tradition – By Gael Hannan
My guest writer this week is David Drake, the founder and headmaster of the White Oak School in Westfield, Massachusetts, a school serving bright students with dyslexia and related learning disabilities. He lives with his family in Northampton.
by David Drake
I’m pretty sure I come from a line of serial hearing-aid abusers.
My grandfather’s hearing aids were fascinating to me as a young boy. Somehow the electronics fit inside the temples of his thick, black glasses, with a tube extending downward, terminating in a mysterious piece of plastic that I was told was an “ear mold.”
Now, when you’re very young, and you’re already put off by the bristly ears of adults, the term “ear mold” has a disturbing connotation. So I quickly put the glasses down, although I continued to examine them. They looked like a piece of Cold-War spyware, a combination of James Bond and Clark Kent, which were now inexplicably and permanently relegated to my grandfather’s bedside table.
He didn’t use them, of course. He didn’t use any hearing aid terribly well. You had to shout around Grandpa. And Grandma, who had also became deaf. And frankly, you had to shout around Mom, too—his daughter who inherited his deafness when she was in her thirties.
Thanksgivings and Christmases were especially memorable due to this family trait, because in addition to the misunderstandings and the yelling, ….