Written By Galen White
Have you seen the TV commercial advertisin’ the miraculous ear device that’s supposed to improve your hearin’?
I said, HAVE YOU SEEN THE COMMERCIAL ADVER……., oh, ‘scuse me. I couldn’t tell if you didn’t hear me the first time or if you were just ignorin’ me.
Regardless, the miraculous ear contraption advertised on TV looks like a blue tooth device, which as you know, is a thingamajig you stick in your ear so you can talk on your cell phone as you eat a burger, drink a Nehi bellywasher, comb you hair, punch an address into a GPS unit, scratch your back, read the newspaper, and weave side to side while drivin’ merrily down the highway. And if you ain’t drivin’ your vehicle, the blue tooth device allows you to make fools of others who hear you talkin’ and think you are talkin’ to them. They answer, and then realize you ain’t talkin’ to ’em after all. They usually leave redfaced, but in some instances, you leave with a blue tooth device shoved up your nose hole.
The advertised miraculous ear doomafatchie is supposed to greatly improve your ability to hear things. The ad claims you can hear the caller at a bingo game call out B3. However, the ad makes no claim that you can hear B1 of C1. Of course, if you hear a bingo caller calling out C1, you’d better lay off the Dr. Tichenor’s. Either that, or the miraculous ear doomafatchie ain’t gonna help you none no way! You will “B1” whether you want to or not!
About thirty years ago they…., and I ain’t got the foggiest idea of who “they’ are, but “they” came out with a bionic ear. The difference was the bionic ear utilized great big ear phones or ear muffs that fit completely over your head. The ear phones were wired to a hand-held contraption that looked like a small satellite TV dish.
The idea was to place the ear muffs over the ears……, that’s why they call ’em ear muffs, you know. Anyway, you pointed the device in the direction of whatever conversation….., uh…, the direction of the “sound” you wanted to hear, and the dish picked up the sound vibrations, sent them to the amplifier, and the amplifier sent them to your ears. It was up to you from there on.
Both devices, I’m sure, will amplify sounds. I can speak confidently about the bionic ear ’cause ol’ Galen was gullible…., I mean, smart enough to purchase one. Hey! It was for huntin’! I wanted to hear that big ol’ buck as he tippy-toed away from me after he’d heard me first. If I coulda heard him sneakin’ away, at least I’d have know there had been one in the same parish I had been huntin’ in. Otherwise, I had about as much chance of seein’ a rangutang…, uh, a orangetung…, of seein’ and orange monkey!
As I said, I bought my bionic ear for huntin’. The very first time I used it, I climbed in my stand, got ready for that good ol’ big ‘un to walk by, quieted down, and donned the device that guaranteed me to hear things I’d never heard before.
Sho’ nuff, I heard somethin’ I’d never heard before. At first, it sounded like a whole army of soldiers marchin’ in unison across a parade ground. Thrump, thrump, thrump, thrump! I commenced to lookin’ ’round, tryin’ my best to figure out what in the name of thunder I was hearin’.
Took me some time, but then I saw it. Right there in front of me and crawlin’ along the edge of my deer stand was a thousand legger. Now, in case you ain’t country enough to know what a thousand legger is, it’s a worm lookin’ creature that has a thousand legs; also known in the “white coat” circles as a centipede. Anyway, the bionic ear amplified the sound of its feet to such a point……, okay, okay. You know I’m pullin’ your leg. It really wasn’t a thousand legger causin’ the ruckus, it was a bunch of soldiers marchin’ through the woods and….., okay ag’in. I’m just jokin’.
Seriously, the thing about enhanced hearin’ doodads is that they work. Of course, that airplane flyin’ from Atlanta to Shreveport at 18,000 feet over your head is amplified to the point that it sounds like it is only 18 feet over your head. That truck travelin’ down the road a mile off sounds like it’s right there beside you. Each and every little sound is amplified at the same time each and every other sound occurs. It would be great if you could isolate individual sounds, but that ain’t the case.
To my knowledge, most similar devices have an internal loud noise cancellation feature. With my bionic ear, I could snap my fingers near the hand-held dish, and the device would cut off before the amplified snap could register in my ear. You can just imagine what would happen if you were wearin’ such a device which failed to have the noise cancellation feature, and pulled the trigger on a 7mm Magnum rifle.
As I said, sound amplifiers work, but it is also safe to say that ol’ Galen ain’t gonna buy another such device. While it may be true that I’m gettin; hard of hearin’ in my old age, you’ll just have to learn to speak louder! And if’n that don’t work, write it down on a piece of paper and hand it to me! Maybe I won’t forget where I put it.
Galen White has written articles for several papers in North Louisiana and is now retired.