By Jeffrey P. (a client of Lynn Audiology and Hearing Aid Services)
“What?” I said for what seemed like the fifteenth or fiftieth time that day.
It’s hard to say with any certainty when my over-use of this essential interrogative began. It just appeared one day and never departed. In fact it seemed to be everywhere all the time.
Daughter: Coffee, Dad?
Granddaughter: I love you, Grandpa.
Wife: Take in a movie this weekend?
Before I retired I was a reporter and staff writer for a newspaper in northern New Jersey. At staff meetings I would be the one needing constant repeats of the managing editor’s pronouncements. Now that I think about it, he always complied and showed no sign of irritation. Maybe he had his own auditory issues and understood the frustration of conducting business with lousy hearing.
Any number of people urged me to investigate getting a hearing aid. Some put it nicely, pointing out how conversation would be clearer and more understandable for me and for the people I spoke with everyday. Others were cruder, such as a friend of mine on staff who asked one day “When are you going to get that **** out of your ears?” You can guess the message.
I casually rejected them all. I believed that a hearing aid somehow would inform the world that I’m just another old geezer and I wasn’t ready to make such a concession.
But I knew some things. I knew that my hearing was not going to magically return. I knew it needed help. I knew my father bought a hearing aid in the 1950s and got rid of it fairly quickly. It was a monster, about the size and weight of a paperback novel, something along the lines of “War and Peace.”
Eventually, into a bureau drawer went Dad’s hearing aid, never to be seen again and he continued answering “What?” and cupping his ear.
Nowadays of course hearing aids are minuscule affairs, measureable in tenths of an ounce, and able to pick up the sound of voices across the room. In fact with the new ones you can actually hear the waiter as he recites the day’s specials.
My wife uses a hearing aid and finally insisted I at least read up on the aspects of hearing aid use.
Maybe it was after one “what” too many that I gave in, consulted an audiologist, and, after a two-week trial period, bought myself hearing aids. The sound is clear and the aids themselves are all but invisible. The professional services offered by the audiologist contributed greatly to my success and satisfaction.
I was surprised at all I’d been missing. After all, there’s something to be said for hearing a loved one say “good night” and “I love you.”
At a more mundane level, I find I can now watch a movie and not have to lean over every so often to whisper, “What did he say?” And when a bunch of friends get together for Friday breakfast, I can hear every word.
If better hearing for its own sake isn’t enough to get someone to look into hearing aid use, maybe the scary headline on a story about a Johns Hopkins study I saw on the internet would do the trick.
“Hearing Loss Accelerates Brain Function Declines in Older Adults.”
Be prepared to be self-nudged into making an appointment with an audiologist.
Lynn Audiology and Hearing Aid Services in Goshen, NY. Contact them at 845-294-8544.