Can you hear me now? — The beginning

Source: Bill Abbott cartoons

“What?”

“Do you have mush in your mouth?”

“You can’t talk to me when you’re in a different room. It’s like being in a different state!”

These phrases pop up in our home where two grown-ass humans (hard to say if they are really adults) have hearing issues. This was the year of the “gotta do something.”

I was tested first. I have good hearing to a point then it drops faster than the Dow Jones after a tweet. It’s the high frequencies which are the problem but that is the first to go. Because most of my hearing is “normal,” hearing aids were optional. There should be some improvement but with high range improvement comes louder annoying noises from the lower frequencies.

The tech told me they are not like glasses. You don’t put them on and say “I can hear, I can hear” and jump around in a Snoopy dance. At least I wouldn’t. People with more severe loss might but that wasn’t me.

She referred to it as tweaking my hearing. I didn’t know what that meant so I entered a “trial period.” I can return them and be refunded if they didn’t suit my needs (or my version of what my needs are).

I was surprised that they weigh next to nothing. After a few hours, you can’t feel them in your ear. It’s easy to forget you have them except that all those annoying things (motors, engines, background noise) are louder. Much louder. I wouldn’t wear them to noisy restaurants, rock concerts or parties with political conversations. Poor hearing in older people may be nature’s way of lowering blood pressure.

This decision would be easier if I worked. I did a lot of public speaking and I couldn’t hear questions from the back. I would compensate by walking up aisles. (I also talked louder as if that would help!) If someone had an accent or truly mumbled (yes people do mumble), I would have a lot of trouble.

Life was easier if I said that I have hearing issues. People were kind (and they knew they could talk about me and I wouldn’t hear). I discovered universal “I can’t hear you” motions like cupping your ear. I learned how to bob my head up and down and act surprised periodically during a conversation I couldn’t hear and wasn’t interested enough to exert myself.

At this point I’m retired. I live with a husband who speaks in the frequencies I can hear (and I can fake not hearing when needed) and fairly quiet cats. I can hear birds chirping, squirrels chattering and fish farting. OK, I lied about the fish. If I’m not going to wear them to restaurants, rock concerts or parties, where would I wear them?

To be continued…

76 thoughts on “Can you hear me now? — The beginning

  1. Poor hearing in older people may be nature’s way of lowering blood pressure.

    That’s my favorite line of this post – which like the previous one, made me laugh. I’ve noticed that my husband and I accuse one another more and more often of not listening. I think it is because we are both in denial about not hearing.

    I also had a similar experience with a different sense. People kept telling me that when you quit smoking you can smell so much better. They left out the part that a whole lot of things smell really bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My husband has been in denial for a while but he is going to try them too. His hearing is slightly worse than mine but also at a stage where he could delay it if he doesn’t mind asking “what?” every once in a while.

      Like

  2. Pingback: The sounds of silence — Or hearing aids part 2! | Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

  3. I wish I could talk my husband into at least “exploring” the possibility. It’s becoming more of an issue but he doesn’t think so! LOL! I am so impressed with how small and light they appear to be these days. Long gone are the models we remember from our childhood!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. You can’t feel them after an hour or so. They are not annoying to wear and no one can see them. He should give them a whirl. Most places give you a trial period with a refund if it doesn’t work. I got mine at a bix box store and they were way cheaper and the quality was great.

      Like

  4. I won’t hear (listen) when you poke me, just like a cat or is I not listen but I can hear. Sometimes it’s a blessing not to listen. I just had my hearring tested due to med interaction that create high pitch ringing in my ear. Annoying. Hearing is just fine.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “It drops faster than the dow jones after a tweet.” 😆😆

    I need your talent for wit. I have trouble in my writing to come up with a line for a character to break the tension with some comic relief.

    I admire that you did public speaking. I cringe at the thought for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My husband was a jet engine mechanic in the Navy and then went to work for the telephone company – hearing was significantly diminished by both and as he’s aged, it’s become worse. He won’t get hearing aids but I do get tired of being the translator sometimes. I actually think I have some hearing loss as well so we are like the blind leading the blind to some extent! Getting older isn’t pretty but nobody promised me that it would be so at least I’m not disappointed by it. I hope everything works out for you – it does sound like hearing aids have changed SIGNIFICANTLY since the old days……that’s a good thing.

    Hugs, Pam

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I joined the hearing aid crowd a few months ago (mostly for one ear that starting having issues many years ago). I admit though, that I hardly wear them. A) I forget, and B) my hearing isn’t bad enough that I don’t hear most conversations that I have with my husband (as long as he is in the same room and doesn’t mumble 🙂 ). I definitely wear them when out with a group of people. “Drops faster than the Dow Jones after a tweet.” Good one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I fear I won’t wear them much. I’m wearing them to a small group without significant background noise on Saturday and we’ll see. I would wear them so little that I fear they would “age out” before I really need them on a daily basis.

      Like

  8. The hearing aids today are improved from those large, clunky ones in the past. Not only lightweight but they pick up every little noise like you say. The neighbor across the street got his … probably 20 years ago now, and his wife was so excited that she no longer had to hear the stereo or TV blasting and could talk to him in a normal voice, that she was more excited than he was to get them. He got them and refused to wear them from the very beginning – he said hearing all the noise was disturbing after not hearing everyday sounds for so long. Put them in a drawer and never touched them.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good luck with your new earring aids Kate! Don has a set that took him about 2 months to get just right for him. Now he really hears a difference …. and I don’t have to keep repeating myself and asking me to look at me! Its a bonus all round 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Once my wife heard that straining to hear can contribute to cognitive issues later, she got pretty motivated. Prior to that, however, she was like Donna’s husband in that she was mostly in denial. Her main problem now is that they are so light she sometimes forgets she to take them off when she goes into the shower. There have been near-accidents because of that, but so far no damage.

    “Drops faster than the Dow Jones after a tweet.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Good luck deciding what to do. My hearing is terrific but BFF is having an MRI on Monday due to a sudden loss of hearing in one ear ~ “they” want to rule out a tumor on the auditory nerve.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hmmm. The gardener and I both had our hearing tested this year. Because we talk that way in our house. I am still in the normal range, yet have more trouble hearing than he does. And his hearing is now less than normal so he had to end up paying more after insurance than I did. Who knew the cost of the test was based on the results?! But he talks to me from two rooms away. And he mumbles. Good luck with those lil things!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Diminished hearing abilities is a two edged sword. While I loved the music I grew up with in the 60’s, 70’s and disco 80’s, I’m paying for it now. Not sure I’d be able to handle the cacophony you end up with hearing devices. Like I said, two edged sword. Good luck sorting it out during the adjustment period.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I have hearing loss in my left ear. If there is alot of noise around me I can’t hear what people are saying. I think my hearing loss is from going to a lot of concerts as a teen. My mom’s hearing is bad, but she doesn’t have hearing aids. When we watch tv she always misses words and asks me what they’re saying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My left ear is also my bad ear. TV is the first place I realized that I couldn’t always hear. Some programs are worse than others and some accents are worse than others. I can hear well enough but I have to pay attention.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you for this very timely post, Kate. Richard’s poor hearing is now at the point that it is truly driving me bonkers. He has been very Egyptian about it (ie. in De Nile). He promised me yesterday that he would mention it to his doctor…..sometime in the future. At least that’s a start! Keep us posted on what happens in this regard for you. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some things to know — today’s aids aren’t at all like they were. They are light effective and you can adjust with a smartphone. Phone calls go directly into the aids if you are set up for that and also the TV. They can adjust each frequency up or down depending on what your needs are. The batteries last about 3 days. They are not noticeable at all. If you truly need them, they are amazing. I know all about DeNile. I love that place. I spend a lot of time there for a lot of things! 🙂

      Like

  16. I can remember taking Jerry’s Mom to have her hearing aids adjusted. She went to a friend of the family. I said out loud that I wouldn’t mind not being able to hear as well as I do and boy she gave me a scolding. But it’s true. My hearing is so acute… I mean I hear all and I truly think I would have much less anxiety if I didn’t hear as keenly as I do. Couldn’t I trade a little loss of hearing for a better functioning heart or no dry eyes syndrome?… Ha! Jerry’s not far from having to deal with the realization of loss of hearing. He is still in the denial stage… too much noise from flying helicopters. We have four AC units outside our condo building and you can barely hear them but I can tell you when they come on and go off and I can tell you whose AC unit it is. Crazy making… I’m a mess! I’m pretty sure your hearing aids are going back!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand what you mean. I am more acutely aware of what I don’t hear and most of it I don’t miss. I like a more quiet world. If the aids would only amplify voices, that would be perfect. She has adjusted the lower frequencies down but I’m still not hearing better enough to deal with the hassle.

      Like

  17. Such familiar expressions Kate. I do need mine in noisy surroundings, because my “natural” hearing equipment cannot separate words spoken to me from the surrounding babble. In a restaurant I will always head for the table up against a wall, and I will sit with my back to the wall.

    Interesting though … that when I don’t have my hearing aids in (often), and ask for something to be repeated, typically the response is “you really should wear your hearing aids more often”. However, when they don’t understand what I am saying, I am told “You’re speaking too softly.”

    Us humans are a weird species. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I remember my mother who never had aids. She would complain that people mumble or speak to the floor. I understand that now. The tech gave me some great tips about the best place to sit in a restaurant and how to manage noise in groups. I’d still prefer my old hearing back.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Those are great features. Since my hearing loss was on the minimal side, I opted to try at a big box store and was pleasantly surprised. The cost was less than a third of the audiologist and I found the people knowledgeable. I had gone to an audiologist a few years back for a test. I felt that what I got this time was the same value.

          Liked by 2 people

  18. I have had hearing problems ever since I been a teen caused by nerve damage and it has grown increasingly worse as I age. I finally did break down and buy some hearing aids 5 years ago, and I did feel like Snoopy. LOL! My husband and children felt like Snoopy too! No longer did they have to repeat and repeat things to me.
    I also was surprised at how light they were and you do forget you have them in. Yes, background noises can be a pain sometimes and often if home alone I will take them out so I don’t hear the ticking of the clock. Of course if I do that then I get blasted by the stereo the next time I turn it on, forgetting that I had turned it up so I could hear it! !

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are the perfect candidate for aids. My brother has fairly profound hearing loss that is work-related from the days before OSHA requirements. He can’t wear the little thingies that I have but needs the plastic ones that fit inside his ear canal. For him they are a life saver. He’s been wearing them for 40 years or so. If this doesn’t work out, I’ll try again in 3 to 5 years depending on how much more loss I have.

      Like

      • Yes. It really was one of the best decisions I made. I should have done it earlier but I was stubborn about feeling that I should be “old” before I needed hearing aids!
        Though the age I consider “old” keeps changing. 🙂
        But they aren’t for everyone. Will be curious to know how yours works out!
        But yes rock concerts aren’t recommended! LOL! I remember wearing them into the daycare that I worked at. Oh my gosh the babies cried and the 2 year olds let out a shrill and those hearing aids came out fast! My co-workers could just continue to repeat things to me!

        Liked by 1 person

        • My brother started wearing them young. They help him enormously. There are definitely places that you don’t want to wear them. During the first week, I wore them in a very busy, noisy restaurant. Won’t do that again.

          Liked by 1 person

    • If your hearing is good enough to get away without them, its’ good. If I was working, I’d work harder with them because it’s good for meetings and other conversations where you are unlikely to have annoying background noises.

      Liked by 1 person

    • 🙂 We also have the “I told you about that last week!” “No you didn’t!” conversations hers. Sometimes it’s because neither of us hear perfectly or maybe it’s that we THOUGHT we said something but didn’t. Hard to say. Aging is challenging.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. my mother got them but it really was like in the picture (sh*tty insurance) she has them in a drawer now, because she feels awful with them, it is like life became a wrong adjusted tv, the back ground noises are louder than the essential things… and they were not even good to spy at the neighbors…but even when they sleep mostly in the chest, the batteries are empty anyway …

    Liked by 1 person

Don't be shy, I'd love to hear what you're thinking!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s