COVID-19 and its aftermath on society and culture have been immense. Ask three different people about it, and you’re almost certain to get three different opinions on it. I pray that long term we can respect each others’ opinions. Despite the many negative impacts it had, there were some upsides to it.

At our company it showed that we can operate and even thrive if the engineering staff is not in the office five days a week. Remote work solutions really proved themselves beneficial for certain types of remote work, even if they tend to perform poorly in others, i.e. education of the young.

One upside of the aftermath of this era is that it encouraged my youngest to look into what is the current state of the art in solutions for folks with single sided hearing. It’s already difficult enough to hear in mono in a classroom setting, but add the muffling effect of face masks, and things are even worse. His research and determined discipline to follow-up on it every step of the way led us to getting him fitted with a BAHA implant. I won’t go into the ‘how it works’ but just summarize and say it gives him hearing on his right side for the first time in his life. And no, it’s NOT a cochlear implant.

This morning all of those consultations, tests, scans, pre-surgery, surgery, fittings, tuning, and follow up visits came to a close. A week ago we met with his audiologist who did some final minor tweaks to his small external signal/audio processor. This morning we had our final meeting with the surgeon who thought everything had healed up nicely. I also congratulated him when he announced he’d be retiring in a few more months. It was also interesting to learn that the cosmetic surgery for my son that had been proposed to my wife and I some 18 years ago is – in his opinion – rarely worth it now that we’ve had many years to review its efficacy.

On our way back home we stopped at Flight Coffee in Bedford, ordered some hot drinks and bagel sandwiches, and celebrated that all of the effort is done and working as well as we’d hoped it could. Between the BAHA implant and his switch to weekly contact lenses, it’s almost like he’s a different man. Certainly studying 1,500+ miles away has also developed his confidence in his abilities and independence.