Hear! Hear!

No two ways about it. I wouldn’t want to lose either my sight or my my hearing. With my love of music, reading, and photography, the loss of either would be a downer. That’s not even counting the effect on my driving!

At this stage of my life (I’m seventy-two), I don’t know that I could handle learning to read braille or communicate using the American Sign Language. Or to adjust to using other ways of doing the things that keep me going.

Even though glasses correct my vision adequately–they do nothing for my color blindness, of course–my hearing is a different matter.

I can’t recall when I first started wearing hearing aids, but it no more than fifteen years ago. I started with Beltone and switched to Widex two or three years ago because my health insurance helped some with the cost.

The Beltone and Widex hearing aids both had/have bells and whistles the wearer can adjust according to taste and circumstances. I rarely messed with those features with the Beltone and have done so even less with the Widex.

I just want to be able to hear and understand what people are saying!

And therein lies the real issue. Even though I hear and understand immeasurably better now than I would without hearing aids, there are certain instances (the reverberation in the halls at the mall, for example) in which complete comprehension is nearly impossible.

The way certain people talk is another issue. Our church music director must think I’m a total grouch for my failure to laugh at her funny stories when everyone else is cackling riotously. I guess I’ll get around to explaining that to her privately–sometime. (I can normally understand her very well one-on-one and can always ask her to repeat something if absolutely necessary.)

I mentioned the mall. What makes that especially frustrating is trying to communicate with several employees I’ve grown quite fond of–at least one Hindu and a whole family of Muslims. Although their English is reasonably good (some better than others), their accents (along with my hearing problems) make it difficult to carry on a serious discussion.

I’m always thankful when my wife is with me–not just at the mall, but anywhere. Everywhere. She understands what I’m going through, and she makes sure I correctly comprehend what others say, although she may not realize I’ve misunderstood something until I respond to someone in a way that makes totally no sense.

No two ways about it. It doesn’t whether years of listening to Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and other loud rock groups through headphones contributed to my current problems or simply age, but I do miss natural hearing.

I’d be hard pressed to function without hearing aids. Even though I hope the Widex will function adequately for the rest of my life, I think I’d be ready to try those three hundred dollar ones I’ve seen so many advertisements for before I spent more thousands of dollars on anything else.

I just want to be able to hear the best I can for as long as I can. Preferably till death. Is that asking too much?

Any comments?

I’ll be back again next Sunday if I have anything to say. Otherwise, we’ll try for the Sunday after that. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,

Roger's newest novel

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What’s the Big Deal about Looking Our Age?

People used to be surprised when I told them my age. They would invariably say, “You don’t look that old.” Now that sixty-nine is just a few months away, I’ve suddenly realized I haven’t heard that comment as often as I used to. At some point I must’ve started looking my age. What’s the big deal about that?

Am I supposed to get a hair transplant or buy a toupee? I think not! I was bald long before I reached this age. It didn’t matter that much then, and it matters even less now.

Should I color my hair–or at least darken my beard and mustache? That gray doesn’t look nearly as nice in photos. Nope on that, too. How many people are apt to study pictures of me and criticize the way my hair looks? If anything, they should note how nicely styled it is. It looks much better now than it did when I was younger.

Wrinkles? If I have any, I haven’t even noticed them yet. I don’t expect to have anyone greet me sometime with a “Boy are you getting wrinkled!” How rude would that be. The problem would be theirs, not mine.

Oh, my! Are my teeth white enough? Doesn’t matter. At least I have all but one of the ones I’m supposed to have, and the missing one doesn’t show.  Although I wish my teeth were perfectly aligned–braces weren’t even discussed when I was growing up–I really wouldn’t want to put myself through that now, even if money weren’t an issue.

Hmm. My arms look a bit flabby. Should I take up weightlifting now to do something about that? As if I don’t stay busy enough doing things I consider important.

Okay, so I use a walking stick for my almost-daily walk. But it’s not because I need it to walk. It just helps me keep my rhythm better. When I need it to get around, I’ll already be almost used to the idea.

By the time I got hearing aids–probably ten or eleven years ago–I was too concerned about wanting to hear better to worry about whether other people noticed them. Now that they’re starting to fail me, my concern still isn’t how they look, but how many important things am I failing to hear properly.

As I look back at what I’ve written, I can only conclude that I might not win any prizes for my looks, but who cares? Not I. I’ve done a pretty good job of accepting myself as I am. And that includes looking my age.

What about you? Do you look your age? Would you do–or DO you do–anything to make yourself look more youthful? How about sharing a comment?


I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
Best regards,

Hear! Hear!

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Somewhere in the Bible’s Old Testament you’ll find the words “He who has ears, let him hear.” Or something close to that. I’m not always a perfect Bible quoter, and I’m even worse at remembering exactly where any given verse is found.

Although my father has been dead since 1993, one of the things I remember best about him is the fact that he wore hearing aids for a number of years prior to his death. Judging by my mother’s complaints about still having to repeat everything, either they didn’t do much good or he failed to have them in all of the time.

Probably fifteen years ago–maybe longer–I realized that not everyone was actually mumbling. And I was asking for people to repeat themselves more and more often. Not good. I was only middle-aged then.

I’d never priced hearing aids seriously, but I’d noticed the prices in Costco and figured I’d better start saving.

Funny how that money I kept setting aside always ending up going for something I considered far less important. But that’s another story. One I don’t plan on sharing here.

I’m not sure why I ended up going to Beltone, but I did. In fact, my wife accompanied me. She knew I’d forget most of the important details by the time I got home if she didn’t come.

We were both well impressed with the testing and the Beltone products, and we ended up taking out a loan from my credit union to buy a pair. Not the most expensive by far. Closer to the least expensive.

Such an improvement! Well worth the investment.

But as I got used to wearing them–and as the years passed–I realized that hearing aids only help. They are no substitute for good natural hearing.

I wouldn’t enjoy life nearly as much without my hearing aids, but more and more I have to accept the fact that I’ll never hear anything quite the way it probably actually sounds.

I’m back to thinking that some people are mumbling and asking folks to repeat things again. Not as bad as before, but–at sixty-eight–would investing in new hearing aids be worth it? I doubt seriously that anyone receiving them as a bequest from my will would have any use for them.

Or should I try something other than Beltone? There are cheaper, but are they equally good? I don’t know.

But I do know that if I want to keep writing, playing, and listening to music, I may have to bite the bullet and do some serious investigating.

Any opinions or advice? Please leave a comment.


I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I use “As I Come Singing” to post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Check it out HERE  if you’re interested. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.


My new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is out now. If you’re interested, please check it out at Amazon.

Best regards,

Hear! Hear!

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Who would ever have thought that listening to loud music over headphones during the latter sixties and early seventies would have had such a detrimental effect on my hearing? Yes, of course the problem might just be advanced age, but who wants to think of himself as old enough to have hearing problems?

I’m sure I heard warnings about the dangers of loud music–when I turned the volume down far enough to hear the warnings–but I certainly didn’t pay that much attention to them. After all, I was years away from being old enough to have problems.

I’m not sure how old I was when I first became aware that my hearing had deteriorated. The obvious problem was the fact that my (not yet ex-) wife always mumbled.

Nonetheless, I looked at the price of hearing aids at Costco and decided I needed to start saving. The day would come when I would HAVE to do something before I ended up agreeing to something horribly wrong because I hadn’t heard about it correctly.

Saving at that time was a losing battle. So I continued to hear less and less accurately.

Years later I had to admit that the time had come to do something. If I’d ever been self-conscious about having people see me wearing hearing aids, those days were gone.

So I went to Beltone. Maybe not the least expensive choice I could have made, but they have quality products and excellent follow up service. I had to take out a loan to pay the $3000 each for the hearing aids I still use.

I’m concerned that these may no longer be doing the trick. That is to say, I keep asking people to repeat what they say a lot more than I’d been doing.

But my wife and I have determined–thanks largely to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University–to get totally out of debt, and we’re getting really close to doing that. Early next year my car will be paid off, and that’s the last thing we owe any money on. After that, we plan to sock money away into our Emergency Fund for a while.

So it looks like I may have to settle for the current hearing aids until we figure out how to do something about them without going against our financial plans.

If you’re one of the people I keep saying “What?” to, please understand that I’m just a man of age with a problem of age.

How’s your hearing? Any signs of problems yet? How about dropping a comment here to tell us about it.


I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my blogs. On “As I Come Singing”check it out here–I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. Check here for a list.

Best regards,