I Can Hear You Now
Fran, my mother-in-law, was hard of hearing toward the end of her life. We had to raise our voices for her to hear us, and it wasn’t uncommon for us to have to repeat our statement or question again even though we were speaking loudly. At the encouragement of my father-in-law, Fran finally relented and “allowed” him to buy her hearing aids. They were tiny and hardly visible at all. We were so excited for her (and us!). Yet she wouldn’t wear them with any regularity. Actually, we think she probably wore them only 2 or 3 times in all of the years that she had them. She said she “didn’t need them.” We think she just didn’t want to wear them because it made her feel old.
One time I drove with Fran to a baby shower. It was an hour drive, and by the time we got to the shower my stomach muscles actually hurt because they had to work so hard for so long to speak L-O-U-D-L-Y. I was actually in pretty decent physical shape at the time too, so I know those sore muscles weren’t just lazy.
When the shower was over, and we started driving home, I dreaded having to start talking loudly again. As I was answering a question Fran asked, she said: “Stop yelling at me!” I guess I was being overzealous in my efforts to get her to hear me. I really wanted to say, “Well, I wouldn’t have to yell if you would wear your hearing aids,” but what good daughter-in-law would actually say that out loud.
So fast-forward to last year. I developed an ear infection that caused me to lose some of my hearing for about 3 months. I finally went to the audiologist because I was so concerned about it. She said that eventually, the hearing loss caused by the infection would return; but she did note that I had some hearing loss in high pitched sounds as well as very low tones. She asked if I had any hearing concerns. I told her I have difficulty hearing well when I talk on the phone, sometimes when listening to my young grandchildren, and sometimes when watching television. She took notes and asked me to return in a year.
I did return for another test in October of last year. She said I had experienced more loss in both the high pitched and low tone sounds, and said I would “qualify” for a hearing aid. She said that based upon my lifestyle and needs, I could wait longer, until I felt more affected by the loss, or I could try one now and see how I liked it.
Since I was able to try the hearing aids for 6 months and receive a full refund at the end of that time if I didn’t want them, I decided to give them a try. I thought about my experience with Fran in the car and thought, I might as well deal with this now rather than later. What did I have to lose?
I received the hearing aids in mid-December, and I have to say I like them. I don’t always wear them, because, truthfully, I don’t NEED them. (HAHAHA!) Nah, they are helpful for me when I am talking on the phone, and I LOVE that I can stream music or podcasts through them straight into my ears! They help when I watch television and when talking to the little ones with high voices too. Could I get along without them? Yeah, probably for a few more years, but why?
The thing is…. I haven’t told anyone about the hearing aids, except my family and one friend. Why? Because they make me feel “old.” (Oh, Fran, I wish you here now so I could tell you that I understand.)
So here I am telling the world. I figure I might as well get it over with. You’re going to find out sometime. And anyway, lots of “young” people need help hearing, right?
Good for you to try… I do understand, I am blessed so far with good hearing, but when my Mom or sister used to watch TV with me, it hurt my ears. I could hear perfectly fine with a setting of 10, I had to crank it to 75 for them to hear… ?
Thanks for the encouragement, Judy! From 10 to 75? Oh, yikes! Yeah, I’ll bet that did hurt your ears!
I was 46, when I was told I had the hearing of a 70 year old, now over that age, I am so glad I have it, surprisingly most people don’t know I have it, my hair covers them, very rarely do I have to ask them to repeat what I’m saying, unless my batteries are running out. LOL I’m so glad you hadn’t got to the stage of “would you repeat that please?” and to struggle to hear lots of things. Good for you wearing them, I put mine in first thing in the morning and take it out last thing at night. Keep using and enjoying sound as it should be heard!
Love the story Karen. I remember when I had to get glasses I didn’t want to. I was 43 and couldn’t read the labels on bottles. I only needed readers probably but taking them off and on made me nauseous so they gave me bifocals so I could read on the bottom but the top strength wasn’t much. Now years later they are stronger but hey I can see. LOL
Yeah. Same sort of thing, my friend!
Good for you for being brave and doing what is right for you… and besides, you wouldn’t want to miss a word from your grandchildren! From the stories you share it sounds like they say the most adorable stuff.
Oh, yeah, Renee! More for me to hear and share! LOL!
I have been wearing hearing aids since I was 20. I have lost 90% of my hearing and I am now 67. My newest aids let me use a Bluetooth device to take the sound from my phone to my hearing aids and adjust the volume level if needed. I’d be in a totally different world without my hearing aids!
That is wonderful Deb. As you said, what a different world it would be without these little marvels. My set does that too – with the Bluetooth! LOVE that feature! I listen to podcasts when I am driving to our son’s (3 hours), and it helps keep my mind stimulated so I don’t fall asleep at the wheel. Thanks for sharing!
I don’t need hearing aids, but I think of them the same as eye glasses. if you need them, you need them. Age doesn’t matter. So, wear them with a thankful heart that technology has made them so small and more accurate! You go girl!
Karen, my story is pretty much a carbon copy of yours. I too thought about putting it off for awhile, but here is another good reason to do it sooner rather than later. According to my ENT doctor, studies are starting to show a correlation between hearing loss and early onset dementia. I had two opinions and they both agreed I should get hearing aids sooner rather than later. I think you made a wise decision. And, you are right!! Bluetooth hearing aids are pretty cool!!
Oh, wow, that’s really interesting! Thanks for sharing this. And yes.. .bluetooth is probably my favorite thing! :0
I totally get it, I have hearing aids and it took awhile before I started using them… LOL Thanks for sharing your lovely story… 🙂
Thank you for sharing, Alta!
Karen, loved reading this about the hearing aids! I’m 72 and will be going in for my Medicare wellness testing soon. I’m sure they may suggest a hearing test and most likely will be told I need them…right now just to hear certain dvd’s here at home I have to position myself about 2 feet away from the screen! That should give a clue, wouldn’t you say?? LOL
Congratulations on doing it now and not later! Hugs, Vicki