I came across this message on the online question-and-answer board “The Straight Dope,” a syndicated Chicago Reader column with the tagline “Fighting ignorance since 1973 (it’s taking longer than we thought).” The question was “Hard of Hearing? What helps you?” and I found this answer about hearing birdsong particularly touching:

I wear hearing aids and love them… The best thing is being able to hear birds! When I walk in the morning, even though I’ve had them for several years, I’m still thrilled and delighted at all the birdsong. The second best thing is taking them out when I want the myriad obnoxious sounds of this noisy world to fade away slightly. When I first put them in, I was stunned at how… NOISY the world is! I’m not deaf, but my hearing loss had been mercifully filtering out the mechanical, electronic, and natural sounds that we are bombarded with. My first thought was, “Geez, no wonder people are so cranky all the time! The noise is driving them crazy!”

I can relate! When I get ready in the morning putting my in my hearing aids is usually one of the last things I do. One day I had them in early, and discovered that there’s a mourning dove who likes to sit on a ledge near my window, as well as few other birds who come and go tweeting — now sometimes I put them in sooner to hear the birdsong.