So, I have been a hearing aid wearer for almost two whole weeks.
After the euphoria of being able to hear iPhone ringtones died down, it was time to get down to the bare-boned reality of life with my new ears and of course, with the smooth, there has been some rough.
Not least, because I managed to catch the worst cold I've had in quite some time. The kind of cold where your voice drops two octaves and takes on that husky tone that sounds like you've had a 40-a-day fag habit since birth.
My sinuses were filled to the brim, my eyeballs felt like they were popping out and I had a cough that sounded as though Stomp the musical was being premiered in my lungs.
I wanted a new head. And instead, I had hearing aids that amplified my every single sound. Last Tuesday I could take it no more and yanked those darn things out of ears and onto the desk. Yes, it was quieter, but I no longer sounded like Darth Vader's wife or felt as though I was claustrophobic inside my own head.
You see, the problem with being claustrophobic inside your own head is that there's no escape. You can't step into a bigger head with more space. You're stuck. But taking the hearing aids off did give me some much-needed breathing space.
But don't think I gave up there. No, no, no – I persevered through the headcold hell. Every morning last week, I got up and put my hearing aids on. I travelled to work – sucking on sweets and sipping water to keep my dreadful hacking at bay – and kept them in for as long as I could possibly bear.
I did well.
By Friday, when I flew to Amsterdam to see Big Bro, I was more snot filled than ever. I got on the plane and informed the cabin staff of my deafness, asking them to let me know about any announcements – even the 'WE'RE GOING TO CRASH' ones and sat down.
The engines fired up and I ducked as though we were under attack. The lady next to me jumped in panic and so to avoid a mid-air riot of jumpy passengers, I took my hearing aids out.
It. Was. Bliss.
And what I've realised over the last few weeks is that these aids aren't like my old aids. They don't give me so much amplification that everything sounds horribly quiet when I take them out. They just amplify the right bits. So when those bits get too overwhelming or noisy, I can whip out my aids in record time.
The only downside to this is I am getting through rather a lot of batteries. You see I haven't quite coordinated the turning off thing alongside the taking out thing yet, which is done by opening the battery case.
I should probably do this once they're out and safely in my hand, but by the time I get the urge to take them out, I'm usually in such a flap that I turn them off first, at speed, opening the battery casing and sending the small silver battery flying in whatever direction I propel it in.
Heathrow Terminal 4 has two such batteries in its check-in area now, and the London-Amsterdam flight has one, too – I think that latter actually travelled the length of the cabin all the way to first class.
But on the whole, the hearing aid adventure is going well. They helped me understand my little nephews better and follow Big Bro and his family's conversation – well the English bits anyway – as they chatted around the kitchen table.
And as I'm only a quarter of the way through the getting-used-to-my-new-hearing-aids period, hopefully there'll be better things to come.
Will keep you posted peeps.