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

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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.

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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,
Roger