These were the last words I heard for the next few minutes after audiology person No.1 connected a wire from his computer to the hearing aid in my left ear, as audiology person No.2 did a bit of on-screen adjustments. Moments later, there was a mouseclick and bang! I pulled my head away instinctively from a painfully loud noise in the earhole, but it was too late. The next thing I knew, I was in a silent movie, set in a hospital hearing aid clinic, with a very loud ringing sound in my head as the soundtrack.

“Bloody hell, what was that?” I said, rather alarmed that I now had no voice.

I never got an answer to my question because nobody else had a voice either, just moving lips. I guessed that those sliders hadn’t been set to zero after all, and I wondered if I was the only person that morning who was going to leave the hearing aid clinic deafer than I came in. Fortunately, my hearing came back after a few minutes, but I’ve been somewhat wary of computers and loud noises ever since.

Yesterday afternoon, I was reminded of this incident as I connected the sound output of my MacBook to my digital piano to partake of a bit of cheesy GarageBand fun. I’m still trembling. With 60 watts of Yamaha Clavinova speaker power behind it, that Mac startup chime is very loud. Beware.

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