Chapters 84-85 Summary


August has always had poor hearing, and he has always known that he would need hearing aids someday. This idea has always bothered him because he feels his ears are the most disgusting of all his features. They look “like squashed pieces of pizza dough,” and he is reluctant to call more attention to them. He has noticed his hearing getting worse for months, but he has been hiding it in hopes that he could graduate fifth grade without adding another weird element to his appearance.

But August cannot hide his bad hearing during a hearing test, so he gets sent to an ear doctor, who presents him with a pair of hearing aids on a big headband. August hates this contraption at first sight. The headband is the worst part, but it is necessary because August has no outer ears to hold the hearing aids up.

Angrily, August says that the hearing aids will make him look like Lobot. To his surprise, the ear doctor understands this Star Wars reference and declares Lobot’s headgear “cool.” To August, the ear doctor says, “It’s not like you’re going to look like Jar Jar, you know? That would be bad.”

Reluctantly, August tries the hearing aids on. He complains immediately that they do not help him hear. The ear doctor laughs and turns them on.

Hearing Brightly

When the ear doctor turns on the hearing aids, August’s attitude changes immediately. He has long been living with a rushing sound, like the ocean, inside his head, but now that background noise disappears. Meanwhile, the sounds he should hear sound “bright" and clear.

When his mom asks him if he can hear better, August grins and tells her she can stop shouting. He learns how to change the volume, and he checks out how he looks in the mirror. It turns out his hair covers most of the headband, so he does not even have much to complain about. He agrees to wear the hearing aids from now on.

At school, August is sure kids will laugh, but nobody does. Summer and Jack are supportive. Summer just likes the idea that August can hear better, and Jack claims the hearing aids look like spy equipment. Nobody else even mentions them except for a teacher, who takes the opportunity to tell August to speak up if he cannot hear something.

In the end, August decides it was ridiculous to worry about the hearing aids. He reflects that it is "funny how sometimes you worry a lot about something and it turns out to be nothing.”