Everybody shouts now (and I can hear you)

hearingUSE

Everybody whispers.

That humorous sign of old age is a frustrating fact to the approximately one in three people age 65 to 74 who have hearing loss—and even more maddening to the people who talk to them.

“Woo Hoo!” and “Yaaayyyyyyy” were my sons’ elated electronic replies to my “good news and bad news” email this week. Good that I finally got hearing aids; bad that I used some of their inheritance to pay for them.

Finally is key here. I didn’t make it to 70 without them, but still I waited years—probably decades—too long.

“You’ll know when you’re ready,” an audiologist predicted three years ago, explaining that my own and others’ frustration would reach the level that would make me act.

Frankly, I already knew. The catalyst was a request my oldest son made of my boyfriend the night before we left from a recent visit with his family: “ … and please, the next time I see you, make sure she has hearing aids.”

That plea did not surprise me after having heard (barely), “Mom, it’s time,” from both of my sons on numerous visits. Even my grandkids know to shout from the backseat if I am driving.

Honestly, I understand my family’s and friends’ frustration, having experienced the same thing with my mother. How I hated hearing her TV blaring from the sidewalk, hated having to repeat everything, hated clarifying her ridiculous and inappropriate responses to what she thought she heard. I yelled, “Mom, I can’t stand it anymore,” too. Then she got hearing aids. What a blessing they were … to all of us.

So, I wonder, why did I delay? Vanity? Denial? Cost? Getting around to it?

All of the above.

Plus getting by.

One-on-one and in small groups, I could hold my own pretty well. More and more, my input consisted of “What?” and “Huh?” I didn’t think I was reading lips, but I was. I thought I was getting by, but I wasn’t.

I wasn’t alone. According to a 2012 study led by Johns Hopkins researchers, of an estimated 26.7 million Americans age 50 and older who have hearing loss, about one in seven uses a hearing aid.

While heredity and aging play big roles in hearing loss, experts agree that people are losing hearing earlier because of noise, particularly loud music, workplaces and recreational equipment. Although many of my peers in their 60s claim to still have acute hearing, many others either have aids or struggle to hear.

Sure, signs of my hearing loss were there for years: trouble hearing over background noise, straining to follow conversations, turning up volumes on TVs and radios … But often it’s not that we can’t hear; it’s that we can’t comprehend. Because we lose the ability to hear certain pitches—usually the highest, such as women’s voices—words sound garbled. Lately, even watching movies was challenging, trying to decipher plots while missing lines. If I couldn’t make out some of Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent lines that blasted from the sophisticated sound system of an IMAX screen right in my face, I am more deaf than I realized.

The World of Sound

So now that I have my amazing new hearing aids, I’m embarrassed for waiting so long. And remorseful. Not only are they barely visible, my whole world seems to have a new dimension.

And I have new responsibilities.

Like not getting them wet:
hearing aids new June 2014

New discoveries:
– My computer keyboard clicks when I type.
– The brake pedal in my car squeaks.
– A toilet flushing sounds like Niagara Falls.
– My normal TV volume setting is really loud.
– My alarm system beeps when I open the door.
– Barefoot shuffling on hardwood floors is annoying.
– EVERYBODY SHOUTS.
hearing shouting.jpb

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About Lorrie DeFrank

Retired and relishing the time to write about anything concerning people 65 and older, which is everything.
This entry was posted in 65 plus and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Everybody shouts now (and I can hear you)

  1. Susan Geisler says:

    Love this!! I had no idea you were having a problem. Curt is very deaf from past loud military stuff. He had his ears checked awhile ago and is practically deaf in one ear. They recommended hearing aids that cost $6,000!!!! Yikes! So we haven’t done anything yet. He just has had so many other health things to deal with! So glad they worked for you!!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. Susan says:

    what? huh? There was a time when I thought you were reading my lips but then I just decided you might want to kiss me====just kidding!!!!! Well good for you!!! I am proud of you for getting the aids. I sure hope all that music that Night Train played didn’t make you deaf; that girl singer was pretty loud.

  3. Well, if that’s the case, listening to Night Train was worth it–especially that rockin’ girl singer!!! Still have my Night Train t-shirt and wore it last week.

  4. Mary Schulz says:

    Oh, I have the same thoughts!   Excellent, Lorrie.  Love your writing, it is entertaining and so very true—you WRITE what other people THINK but never put into words.    Thankyou for sharing.    –m.

    ________________________________

  5. Thanks, Mary. So many of us wait way too long. Wish I had done this years ago.

  6. Janis says:

    Lorrie, I had no idea you were having trouble hearing. So glad you found out and got some help. After reading your story, I’m wondering if I should get tested too. “Huh” is probably the most used word in my vocabulary these days. Very well written story about a serious subject we will probably all face at some point.

    • Huh?! Guess I was getting by better than I thought! Thanks, Janis. I believe a lot of us are in denial about hearing loss. I really did mentally blame it on other people for mumbling. (Dental assistant wearing the mask was the worst!)

  7. I can relate to your post, today. We struggled with my dad’s hearing issues. He kept promising but never did invest in hearing aids. I only hope I’ll truly know (and admit) when I’m ready!

  8. narife@cfl.rr.com says:

    WELCOME TO THE CLUB – GREAT ARTICLE – MY LOVE, NANCY

  9. Thank you, Nancy. I should have joined years ago! 🙂

  10. Marie Meltzer says:

    Lorrie,

    Vanity and cost have been the two great factors in my not getting fitted for the hearing aids I so need. But how cute does it look when you have to cup your ears to try to catch the words more clearly. I give up. Will make my appt, next week. Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration.

    Marie

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