The literature says that most people take seven years to recognize their hearing loss and do something about it—I took 30. In that time, I became quite used to asking people to repeat themselves or for interpretations of TV dialog. I love music. I often think it might be my reason d’etre, but for as far back as I can remember, I haven’t been able to understand the lyrics to many songs, especially those sung by women. I heard harmony but only as an entity that sounded nice. When asked to sing harmony, I was at a loss, not being able to hear the distinctive parts. Bird sounds? l thought all the birds had died, except for the occasional crow. Many years of wearing earphones at high volume in radio work and being subjected to destructive concert noise levels in the audience had robbed me of my hearing.My wife got her aids four years before I did. She seemed so happy with the difference she experienced that I was eventually lured to give it a try myself, remembering, however, my father and mother-in-law both throwing their aids across the room in frustration. The difference is in the new digital devices; the old analog ones simply threw loud volume at the eardrum, much like turning the TV volume up to ever-increasing levels. A trip to Champlain Valley Audiology answered any questions I might have had and made a huge difference in my life. Sharon Macner analyzed my difficulties and found that my hearing loss is moderate to profound. Most of my loss is in the ranges that interpret speech, as my hair cells are very badly damaged, thus eliminating my ability to naturally hear some sounds distinctly. Once the testing was completed, Sharon began digitally shaping the sound patterns that would be fed into my new aids—an amazing process to watch, and even more amazing to experience when finally wearing them. Over the course of a year, periodic visits addressed all the difficulties that my damaged hearing would allow, and the digital shaping was completed. I now have three different ways to stifle ambient sound that interferes with understanding dialogue, such as crowd noise. I can also lower the volume to four different levels.I don’t remember what perfect hearing was like, so what I am now experiencing seems miraculous. I can sit in a room full of people and understand the different conversations. Loud sounds can be brought to an enjoyable level. Shrill sounds can be modified or eliminated. I can once again hear the birds and bells and referee whistles, all of which had previously disappeared. I no longer have to have TV dialog interpreted. Possibly most important is that I can hear music to a degree I had forgotten existed. I owe all of this to the professional care and concern I found at Champlain Valley Audiology.