So now my hearing aids have converted themselves into ear-plugs, and have been sent away for repair. Has anyone, every, anything good to say about these devices? Mine, I find, make it possible to hear crockery and cutlery being washed up in neighbouring suburbs, but the human voice? - nada. Well, let me qualify that: if someone stands behind me and speaker very clearly with his or her lips not more than six inches from the device, I can hear reasonably well. When I mention this to the people who supply the things, they say, 'Well, you did go for the cheaper ones.' Let me tell you, old dears, that (call me skinflint) I do not consider two thousand dollars cheap. And I'm not convinced that top-of-the-range would be much better: as far as I can understand, the main benefit is that youcan carry a device in your hand by which you can increase the volume. So what? Doesn't work for me. I suppose I have to reconcile myself never to hearing music properly again - the human voice I may learn to do without; there are some politicians, for instance, who are much improved by silence. Oh, well - old age is life's parody.