Thursday, May 5, 2016

Technology and Transportation

Driving into and out of Seattle is a mess right now. 

We have a viaduct that was built in the 1950's that was the original Hwy 99 north/south route through the city, before the I-5 freeway was built. Over time we have come to depend on both routes to get us where we need to go. Both get clogged with traffic during the rush hours.

Right now the viaduct is closed, while Bertha, the huge tunnel boring machine, works under the viaduct, drilling a route under the city that eventually replace the viaduct, because the viaduct might fall down. We are earthquake prone here, and the retrofitting can do only so much to secure this old structure. 

I tell you all of this because we have reasons to go into the city. Last week I went to my audiologist for a check back on my hearing aids, and to make yet more adjustments. The Hear Center is in the Group Health Medical Center on Capitol Hill, just east of downtown. Since the Link Light Rail was recently extended, there is now a Capitol Hill Station six blocks from the medical center. Last week for my afternoon appointment, we lucked out and got a parking place at the Tukwila Station, rode the rail into the city and walked the six blocks to the Hear Center.

At that appointment I found out that since I was only about a month into having my hearing aids, I could update to the just released next generation Starkey Halo 2 hearing aids at no cost. They have improved technology for hearing a wider range of sounds, still work with the iPhone, and have a manual volume button right on the hearing aids that the Halo 1 did not have. I said "Yes!". 

So yesterday, it being a morning appointment, with no chance of finding parking at the station, we walked from home to the Tukwila Station.
 As you can see, this station is elevated. 
 It's about a 35 minute ride to the Capitol Hill station. 

 And then a six block walk up hill to the medical center, which is that building in the distance at the end of James Street. 
The Hear Center is right next to a pretty flower shop. 
I have been having issues with the hearing aid adjustments. Compression of high frequency sounds was not working, and everyone was talking with a distinct lisp. There were lots of hissing sounds. My audiologist and I decided to back off on all of the compression, and just make a volume change.  She had the new hearing aids ready to go, set by her computer. She changed the settings, we paired them to my iPhone  app and she gave me a few more options to control them. The result is much better. I think I will be able to live with these.

We grabbed a light lunch at a nearby Starbucks and then began our return trip. 
 The Capitol Hill Station is underground. Yes, more new tunnels under the city. 

We got off at the Tukwila Station, walked under the rail tracks 
 back across the freeway, 
 and up the hill to McMicken Heights, and home. 
 We left at 10:00 and got home at 2:30. We figured if we added up the time it would have taken us to do our exercise walk, then fight traffic, do the appointment and lunch and get back on the freeway, it  would have been about the same time. 
And the 4.25 mile walk was included. Yes, this is my trusty pedometer. For a while I used a "Map My Walk" app on my iPhone, but it was not reliable, so I am back to using my pedometer. Sometimes the latest technology is not better. I just ignore the fact that I don't know how to set the clock to Daylight Saving Time. 


  1. sounds complex to get around...I have a pedometer too and it motivates me to walk more but today it's 88 degrees so I'm waiting for the coolness of evening.

  2. Oh Linda, that sounds awful. Our children that live here think nothing of taking off and walking miles to everything. Rodger walks 7 to 10 miles a day. He learned to walk great distances while living in Japan. He enjoys it. I do not. I don't know what else you could have done given all the construction but I'm not sure I could handle that and I know for sure Bob couldn't. Glad you're happy now with the upgrade and new adjustments.

    1. We were right proud of ourselves. It all worked out well, and we even got all the housework done before and after our outing.

  3. I am certain I would not like living in such a large city with all that traffic. I didn't see even one car today:)

  4. Well, you sure got your exercise!! It's good to hear ( pun intended) that you are liking the newer hearing aid even better than the first one.

  5. Hoo boy! I sure hope they're able to figure out Art's hearing aids when they get it and I hope they can make the adjustments quickly.

    Hawaii is dealing with light rail construction. There have been such awful cost over runs and they're saying now that there's no money to complete the project.

  6. I am imagining that being next to a flower shop is a requirement you factored in when picking an audiologist.

  7. Sorry I haven't visited for awhile. we have been gone and just plain busy. I read several of your posts that I missed. Your May day post was interesting. It is what I have been doing over several days although on May day I was in Ritzville and going to the Beezley Preserve hunting Wildflowers.
    I certainly can relate to the next post about many things that can afflict us older folk. The 18 yr old inside us cannot believe we cannot do the things we used to do or want to do. Keeping busy and walking is surely the answer. As for Seattle traffic---well I am glad I live way North. LOL!

  8. I hope this newer version of hearing aid helps you. And, my, what a hike to get to your audiologist.

  9. Maybe yet in our lifetime, you will be able to have something inserted in your ear with no hearing aid necessary!

  10. so underground tunnels are safer in an earthquake?? I find that surprising. You were wise to walk because you are so healthy!

  11. I'm so impressed and a little envious. That's a walk I'm no longer capable of doing. Seattle has changed so much since I lived there. I did walk a lot when my kids were little and remember taking the bus downtown and carrying a toddler uphill six blocks to Virginia Mason. Hard to imagine now. I have my fingers crossed for your new upgrade's success and thank you so much for sharing this with us. Lots of good information for us all.

  12. What a great way to incorporate your exercise into an errand. Love the flower shop neighbor to your hearing aid center. Sure hope the new ones work the way you want.
    I am a pedometer person also. Cheap and effective.

  13. That was a very eventful day and you got new better hearing aids.

  14. Glad that the new hearing aids are working better for you! They talk about liquefaction of much of the ground under the Alaska Way Viaduct in case of an earthquake. I wonder what that means for all of those tunnels?

  15. I'm a country or small-town girl. I'm in awe of people like you who can maneuver the public transportation system with ease.

  16. Good news about the hearing aid update. I think a lot of fine tuning will be required but in the long run it will be worth the ride to town. Let us know how these work out.


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