The green light flicked on episodically, indicating the client's recognition of each of the tones presented at intervals. I smiled with a nod, in acknowledgement of each positive response, my eyes meeting theirs, in an effort of encouragement on my part. Inwardly I reflected on whether my encouragement was recognised as some sort of approval, a reward even, for pushing a button, for recognising a series of sounds, for the ability to still be able to process a given intensity of a handful of frequencies.
The client appeared eager to please me, quick to pounce on their button as soon as they'd assimilated the information I was sending via a click of the mouse and a strike of a key, enroute through an intricate electrical conduit. They were obviously keen to pass the test, in an effort to defy the ageing process and sensorineural decay, which affects the majority of us, as time passes and our bodies deteriorate.
However, I wondered if they realised that even if they proved their ability to pass this audiometric testing, even if the comments stated "within normal limits", the result is by no means absolute proof that they hear well at all, and nor does it suggest they've defied their own mortality, as it's not the hearing that matters, but only the ability to listen.