Sunday, June 24, 2018

Now Hear This

Peggy got hers from her late ex-husband, Sam, and now that’s being replaced by the generosity of M... who got his from a friend who died three years ago. This is no small gift. We’re talking about $7,000 hearing aids. For a mere $250 our audiologist has reset the instrument and provides new ear molds.

And why not? The damn thing is probably the most over-priced gadget in the history of over-priced gadgets. Yes, I’m sure world-class technology has gone into miniaturizing and fine-tuning them according to an individual’s frequency and decibel loss but once that mountain had been climbed there is little to justify such an enormous mark-up….even given the follow-up visits for adjustments.  

I suppose a hearing-aid dealer would argue that thousands of dollars of expertise goes into each instrument in addition to years of education in the creation of these state-of-the-art hearing aids. And considering the life-altering change it is a reasonable value. Furthermore that one cannot simply add the cost of material to determine the true worth. By the same reasoning a Reuben sandwich probably contains about 11 cents worth of ingredients and sells for approximately $15.

That argument falls upon my deaf ears. I still believe they are taking advantage of us old folks who in our eight or nine decades let in too much punk rock or Pavarotti. Pharmacists, having endured five or six years of higher education and licensing exams, dispense life-saving medications plus consultations for a fee set by insurance companies of five or ten dollars. When I arrived in California in the mid 1950s you could buy a house for today's price of a hearing aid. 

I wonder if Martha Washington passed along George’s old teeth or did the termites make a meal of them first. We’ll never know. But it’s a good idea to cozy up to Uncle Abner in his twilight years. It wouldn’t hurt to laugh at those jokes he’s told for the past forty years…even if you no longer can hear them as you wait for him to check out and stake your claim to his old trumpets.

It might be time to summon the lawyers to re-write the will. To my good-for-nothing son, Clive, I leave the heavily mortgaged manor house. To Marigold I bequeath my Lamborghini which no longer runs. And to Neville I hereby pass along my hearing aids.

On the other hand, with all the lies emanating from high places, maybe an irremediable hearing loss is the preferred state. I understand the new Blue Tooth bilateral devices come with an on and off switch to save us from the moral violence in the air.

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