Diminishing hearing – another gift from hell

Source: Bill Abbott cartoons

“Don’t talk with mush in your mouth!” That’s what my Mom always said. Now I am her.

I haven’t heard well in years. Listening is work especially if there is background noise or a crowd of people. (More than two is a crowd.) I’ve been smiling and nodding for quite a while now. I unknowingly agreed to do things that were fun and never showed up. Maybe they were illegal. I’ll never know. I wasn’t there. Never heard about them. No police at my door either.

The beloved husband and I accuse each other of mumbling. (He does. I don’t.) He faces a different direction when he talks to me (of course I NEVER do that). We both have selective hearing…or do we?

I needed to get tested again. I don’t want to agree to anything too kinky. Especially if I’m a no-show. Then again, I don’t want to miss an invitation to a free beach house vacation!

The medical practice was ear, nose and throat but there seemed to be a lot of ear people there the day I went. The staff used their outside voices (similar to a barker at a carnival or a loudspeaker at a rock concert) to call patients and even then there were times no one reacted. They upped the volume and eventually someone stood up. Everyone was kind. No one rolled their eyes. They probably didn’t hear the first several calls either. Or in my case I was wondering if it was my name they just called.

The test is straight forward. You are in a sound proof booth with ear phones while sounds are made at different pitches and loudness. Some I heard well. Some not so much.

My audiologist sat down to deliver the news. It was good with a slight twist of bad, like a martini with a twist of lemon.

My hearing is borderline except for the high pitch in my left ear. Those are not so good. As long as I can compensate with my right ear, I’m not a candidate for aids. Not yet but that day is coming. The good news is that today’s aids, while outrageously expensive, are smaller, lighter and work better than the old heavyweight speakers you had to dangle on your ear.

There are letter sounds that I can’t hear so well – f, s, v, th and a few more.

(Conversation at Starbucks: Me — “I want a venti.” Barista — “Venti.” Me — “What?” Barista — “Venti, you said venti.” Me — “I don’t want tea!” All I heard was the second syllable.)

Do you think people could have been using bad words and I didn’t understand? Maybe I missed a lisp.

Doesn’t matter. If you want to swear at me aim for my left ear. I’ll nod and smile and agree to accompany you but I may not show up.

Did you just offer to buy me a Starbucks mocha latte? I’ll be there.

Author’s note: I recognize that hearing loss is a big disability. Not everyone can be fitted with aids that work well. I am not making fun of the hearing impaired. As is always the case, I am targeting myself.

Additional note: Venti is the large size at Starbucks.

 

76 thoughts on “Diminishing hearing – another gift from hell

  1. I need to have my hearing tested. I know I don’t hear well and part of it is because of the ringing buzzy static. I was going to do it last year but my eyes had first dibs for being taken care of and it seems this year is the year of the dentist. I have moved from check ups and general maintenance to repairs of the body parts. Being old(er) is okay except when it is not.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Though I may be younger I can identify with you!
    They wanted me to get hearing aids when I was in my 30’s, I found out the price and decided I would keep compensating the best I could. Finally 3 years ago I broke down and invested in hearing aids.
    Wow! On one hand it was great to actually hear an entire conversation without asking “What did you say?”, on the other hand if my husband shook the newspaper one more time or closed a cupboard door I was ready to smack him!
    Yes, no volume control! I was told I would adjust to it, and actually I did!
    The next problem was the batteries were going dead after only 2 days!
    I got sick of paying for batteries so stopped wearing them.

    Recently I got an offer for a new kind, says background noise can be controlled, has a remote control that comes with it and I can have a Free 45 day trial. Plus only half the price of the others. Hmmm…Sounds to good to be true, right? But I might go ahead and try it. Would you? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s clear to everyone – except my husband – that his hearing started to decline some time ago … however he refuses to acknowledge it. He is so deep down the well of denial, he blames my soft voice and the mumbling of others. I do not want to become that person who has to shout all the time to be heard.
    … and hopefully he won’t make me deaf too from all the noise he generates from the TV and radio. I wish I was joking when I say I can hear him coming from the sound of his car radio when he approaches the house :/

    Aging is definitely not for the weak!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My hearing test last year said my earing is borderline, hearing aids will be helpful sometime in the future. Last month my nephew and his wife set up the their two young daughters’ favourite DVD on the TV, and went out for the afternoon while I looked after them. They sat transfixed on the sofa, staring and listening to their DVD with rapt attention. I sat beside them on the sofa and struggled to hear what was being said. Uh oh !

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I notice I need the television turned up a lot higher than I did even a couple of years ago. My dad had the television up so loud and it was annoying…now, here I am! Some of my friends have recently been fitted for hearing aids, and you’re right about the expense, but if they didn’t tell me they had them I’m not sure I would have noticed. That’s the good news, if it comes to that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great blog! I swear I DON’T mumble! But, my husband is convinced that I do. He, on the other hand has mumbled since the day I met him! (He is in constant denial and says he doesn’t mumble!) I think he does it on purpose. And his memory is somewhere lost on Memory Lane! Ah yes, the joys of aging.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hubby and I both have tinnitus, but seem to be affected y different pitches of buzz. It’s annoying anyway. We say Maggie is selectively deaf, and I remember a foster kid in my care who never heard you when you called him, but the rustle of a toffee wrapper and he was there in seconds.

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  8. Fortunately my hearing is still good. My husband’s not so much. Combine that with his increasingly poor memory and we’ve got ourselves a situation here. We got him one of those miracle ear things advertised from Walgreens. Not very expensive and although he said it helped him hear at night while laying down watching TV, he sleeps on the ear with the aid and it bothered him. Go figure! It really is not fair that with all the medical advances they make, fixing hearing problems is so costly and unpredictable. My brother-in-law needed hearing aids but was allergic to the material they were made out of.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am learning that it’s not as easy as sticking something in the hear and everything’s all right. Poor memory. That’s another post. I find if it’s not something I really care about, I just don’t remember it. Then again I have trouble remembering my wedding anniversary and I do care about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m with you, Kate. I’ve been to the audiologist who said my time is coming. Meanwhile, I repeat the things I actually hear to husband and grandsons, and we all laugh when they speak up and repeat the original words. I’ve got to enjoy getting old while I can.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is another issue that I will have to deal with eventually. My hearing has been deteriorating for years and I had a broken ear drum when I was a teenager, so one ear has always been bad to begin with. Actually glad to hear about Costco–LOL! I may be forced to go that route.

    I don’t see anyone but the cat most days and she could care less about my hearing loss. She’s very quiet herself…a black shadow. Not a talker. But when she wants something she will come and stare at you. So as long as my eyes still work, we’ll be fine–LOL! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • So funny! Ever since my appointment I’ve been observant. I can hear my cats crunching on kibble in another room. I can hear them jump off furniture and I can tell you which piece of furniture it is. I know when one of them went down to the basement. Yet….I can’t always hear where my husband went. Maybe I have “cat” hearing.

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  11. My husband had hearing aids. (Notice that I didn’t say that he wore them.) He hated them And because he hated them, they sat in a drawe. I had to yell for him to hear me and often repeat things several times. It was very frustrating. One day he said to me: ‘When I married you, you had such a sweet voice. Where did that go?’ I wanted to slug him right then.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Sadly (and from my experience), hearing aids are far more than simply buying a pair and putting them in! Sound is based on frequencies and hearing aids must be set up to amplify specific frequencies. In my case, I am very good with low frequencies, but rather shaky with high. Lifestyle must also be factored in. I love music, which created a whole new set of problems because many hearing aids will not reproduce music correctly. My first pair made violins very hard and grating. It was just a bad match by the audiologist. My initial hearing aids also squealed when I put a telephone near them. I ended up with a totally new pair which resolved all those issues, but created more! They were fine in a concert setting, and good in a restaurant where noise was all around me…. but in heavy traffic, construction areas etc, they were extremely loud.
        I will/do need another pair but it will have a volume control on it! Sadly, it is trial and error on behalf of the user… and at significant cost. I am not impressed with the industry!

        Liked by 2 people

        • That is discouraging. My audiologist was not there to “sell.” Her words were that at my hearing level I wouldn’t get my “bang for the buck” because of the high cost. I’ll limp along a while longer and use the compensating techniques. Thanks for your comment. Sounds like different environments require different settings.

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          • It gets more complicated when you consider the “insert into ear” type vs the “hang on the outside” type. My experience was only with the “insert” type. My next pair will most certainly be the exterior type. The “you get what you pay for” adage is very appropriate with hearing aids because they are totally “computer” technology and have many variables to be programmed to suit the wearer’s circumstances. Unfortunately, the people who supposedly understand all the variables are the audiologists… and so we tend to accept their recommendations. In my case, they were very disappointing (I tried two plus the hearing aid manufacturer to solve my problems without too much success!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Last year’s guy said I could get a good pair for $2.6K. This year she was talking $6K for 2. She was showing how it interacts with a smart phone. You hear your calls through the aid and you can adjust things on the phone for different environments. Seemed complicated but I’m sure you learn as you go.

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              • Bluetooth is a wonderful thing, but because we are individuals in our hearing abilities, it is necessary to program a hearing aid to match your particular deficiencies and without impacting those areas which are fine. Everything else is “bells & whistles” which are pointless if they cannot program the hearing aids correctly to start with.

                Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve had heating issues in my right ear for a while due to a medical condition, but now I think my left ear may be getting bad too… probably because of my age. Both my husband and I have soft voices so we are constantly accusing each other of mumbling.

    I see hearing aids in our future but I’ve resisted because of the price. I did read an article recently, though, about a push to have hearing aids (for non-complicated hearing problems) made available over-the-counter, much like reader glasses are sold in drugstores. That would take the audiologist out of the picture and bring prices way down.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Having had one unsuccessful battle with the hearing aid profession, and having to look into the the possibility of another one, I can predict that you will be in for adventure! I SAID YOU WILL BE IN FOR AN ADVENTURE! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I hear you… my mom got hearing aids 2 months ago (2k …I’m still speechless, this sh*t insurance she has) and it is a challenge the first time… I hope she will see it like you with some smiling at herself once… wonder who was the one who said it’s fun to get older… sigh…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Are high-pitched sounds the first to go? I’m doomed. My sisters and I all have high voices and there are times when I can barely understand the youngest when she is agitated, on her cellphone, and speaks rapidly. And she’s always agitated.

    So I suddenly have sympathy for my grandparents. I started speaking much more slowly when I have my grandmother on the phone.

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