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On a whim, I decided to download "Hearing Aid," a short story by David Langford, because of a personal interest in the subject matter. There's no image in the Amazon Kindle listing for it, the description is very minimal, and you can't download a free sample. Despite that, the 49 cent price tag seemed like an acceptable risk.

There's a one sentence synopsis of the story on Amazon: "A tone-deaf man turns to technology to solve his problems. Great, dry, British humour abounds."

And that's basically what you get.

The tone-deaf man listed in the description, Anderson, tries out a special kind of hearing aid - one that can decipher and identify music. I had a hard time picturing exactly how the technology was supposed to work, but it was interesting nonetheless. While hearing aids do currently exist, there obviously aren't any that feature the musical technology described in this story.

The narrative is basically a small slice of life about this man's experience with his new musically-intelligent hearing aid. There are several nice passages of dialogue. Most of them revolve around a frustrated Anderson trying to convince various disbelieving acquaintances that he is in fact tone deaf. In one particularly fun bit, the main character goes shopping for a hearing aid and discovers that the cheapest model allows its user to pick the musical catalog of one artist.

Even though the setting feels modern (Langford wrote the story in 1982), it appears to take place in the future because of the technology used by the main character. Fictionwise.com even categorizes the story as science fiction. But other than the futuristic hearing aid itself, there's not much sci-fi to it. In this case, that's a good thing because it makes the story more accessible and relatable.

When I say this is a short story, I mean it. According to Fictionwise, it clocks in at a mere words 3057 and the reading time is listed as 8-12 minutes. Sounds about right.

David Langford's "Hearing Aid" probably won't knock your socks off or change your life, but it is an entertaining, endearing read that's at least worth its asking price.

Amazon Kindle link: Hearing Aid by David Langford
 

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Yep, it's about a 10 minute read.  I usually read for about 10-15 minutes in bed before turning out the light, so I thought I'd try this last night. 

Interesting little story, both technologically and sociologically.  What else could be done with this kind of hearing aid?  Not just for music but for book discussions, sort of like a cliff notes in your ear. 

The moral of the story is, when someone has their mind made up, don't bother to try to change it, just accept and find a way around it.  (You're not tone deaf, you just don't try.) 

Thanks for the recommendation.  I think I'll read it again, because I'm sure there are nuances that I missed the first time around.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
gertiekindle said:
The moral of the story is, when someone has their mind made up, don't bother to try to change it, just accept and find a way around it. (You're not tone deaf, you just don't try.)

Thanks for the recommendation. I think I'll read it again, because I'm sure there are nuances that I missed the first time around.
Looks like I need to read it again too. ;) Instead of the moral of the story you came away with, I thought he was
really going deaf
at the end.
 

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CS said:
Looks like I need to read it again too. ;) Instead of the moral of the story you came away with, I thought he was
really going deaf
at the end.
I'll wait until you read it again to tell you why I came to my conclusion.
 
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