If you have hearing problems at all…

…I urge you to get the very best hearing aids within your means.

If someone is totally or partially deaf, of course, loved ones will need to learn sign language or whatever else is needed to communicate. If everything has been done that can be done, then others will need to work to around the hearing loss as best they can.

I have known some women to get teary and sensitive at the thought of having some hearing deficiencies. I don’t know if it is due to dismay at the reality of a body that is beginning to lose its functions or if they sense a bit of a stigma associated with hearing aids, or what.

But when you obviously can’t hear well and you don’t want to investigate hearing aids, it makes your family feel that you don’t care to hear them.

It’s not enough to just ask people to speak up. If you think you would feel conspicuous with a hearing aid, think how much more conspicuous it is to have people practically shouting in order for you to hear them, or to give an answer that makes it obvious that you didn’t hear what was said.

Also, sometimes people with hearing problems cut themselves off from opportunities or social interaction because of difficulty hearing. Why do so when their are solutions at hand?

No, this post isn’t about my mother-in-law. She has worn a hearing aid for decades and has accepted that she needs one. She does tend to get to a comfortable status quo, though, and doesn’t want to change anything, even if it would mean improvement in hearing and in comfort. She also doesn’t like to spend money. True, hearing aids aren’t cheap, but they are a worthy investment.

No, this post is more general, in response to people I have known or accounts I have read. If someone is suggesting that you might want to check into hearing aids, or into getting new ones, you’ve probably already been missing out on conversations and interactions without realizing it. Take the suggestion and look at it not as a reason for sorrow or shame, but rather as an opportunity to improve your quality of life and theirs. Your loved ones want to communicate with you. And they want you to want to communicate with them.

8 thoughts on “If you have hearing problems at all…

  1. You know, Barbara….this is kind of like my needing to get some sort of walking aid. I put it off and put it off until I read an article in Dear Abby, I believe it was. This person told of a male co-worker who was a valued employee but he had difficulty walking and had to cling to the wall or hold onto things and it just took away from his professional appearance and all. Yep…..that letter is what compelled me to finally get a walker and I’m so glad that I did. I had gotten to the place that I didn’t go out nearly as much as I used to because I couldn’t walk without some sort of support. Sometimes we just need some gentle nudging.

  2. I’m really reallllllllly hoping that since I had to give up my teeth, and I have worn glasses since childhood, that perhaps I won’t have to give up my ears! It’s not that I wouldn’t want to be able to hear… it’s more about HATING having THINGS in my ears! And since I already have to have PLUGS in my ears to get any sleep at night… I’m feeling like a really deserve to go “thing free” during the day! 🙂

  3. Jewel, I have known of many folks with TM who have had multiple falls and didn’t even think of or consider getting a walker until some of us urged them to. I don’t know if they didn’t want to appear “handicapped” or just didn’t think of it or what. I had to use one for the first several months after TM, and then a cane, and it is a bit of a nuisance to have to carry around “equipment” just to go anywhere (and figure out where to put it when sitting, etc.). But the stability they gave outweighed those factors. If we can think of these things not as stigmas or hindrances but as aids to a better, more fulfilling, more secure existence, I think that helps the perspective. My walker was also useful in letting people know I had a problem, so they gave me space to move around. 🙂 My balance was wobbly for a long time afterward, and I remember trying to get on an escalator in a busy mall at Christmastime when people were zomming around, and feeling so unsteady that I had to just move back until it cleared out a little.

    Melli, that is one thing I had forgotten — the discomfort of having something stuck in my ear. Like you, I hope with everything else I have going on that I don’t have to use hearing aids, but if I do I want to be willing to for the sake of my kids and everyone around me rather than just asking them to “speak up.” I’ve been in situations where the hard-of-hearing person just kept asking someone to speak up, and they kept speaking louder, and the other person still wasn’t understanding, and they both finally gave up, and everyone was frustrated.

  4. I think it’s important to remind those who have a progressive hearing loss, that “sign language” isn’t necessarily what is in store for them. There are 34 million Americans with varying degrees of hearing loss. Less than 5% use or know sign language. I have found that especially those who are late-deafened choose cochlear implants.

    I certainly never thought I’d hear this way again “this side of Heaven”. I think we have to be careful about suggesting that sign language is for those who become deaf. The culturally Deaf use sign language, but few who are adventitiously deaf do. It is far more likely that individuals and those who love them, will find success at “hearing again” technologies and support. I have received a lot of help from the Hearing Loss Association of America too.

    Love the blog… keep up the good work!
    DeniseP
    http://hearingelmo.wordpress.com/

  5. I agree, Denise. I was just trying to distinguish between those for whom nothing could be done to improve hearing and those who could benefit from hearing devices — in other words, I’d advocate getting a hearing device if it will help and if it can be afforded it.

  6. (lightbulb) Ok!

    It’s a shame hearing aids cost so much. When I finally went and got my first one at the age of 25, I had to buy a “refurbished” one. Two little ones at home, and my being a stay-at-home mom meant we didn’t have $2000. I was very happy with the one I could afford ($175) for 4 years.

    I know that there is a bill before Congress for a tax credit for those who have to spend their money on hearing aids. I think it will be able to be renewed every 2 years? I’ve met a few people who are state employees whose insurance paid for hearing aids, but most companies do not.

    Why will insurance pay for eyeglasses, contacts, etc., for those who can’t see well, yet not pay for hearing aids? Crazy!

    DeniseP
    http://hearingelmo.wordpress.com/

  7. My husband has progressive hearing loss, a genetic condition that has affected almost every male in their family. About 5 years ago he got hearing aids but was inconsistent, to say the least, in wearing them. Lately as he has finally realized the impact to me and the boys in how very often he doesn’t hear us at all, he has decided to wear them again. I am thrilled. Great post. Thanks.

  8. Pingback: Stray Thoughts… « Stray Thoughts

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