If the Shoe Fits
Dog Day

Listening to You

Today's soundtrack brought to you by Pete and the boys . . .

 

Listening to you . . .

I get the music . . .

Listening.

Think about all the sounds you hear every day.

The click of the keyboard keys.  The sound of someone filling the dishwasher.  The oven timer going off.  The dog walking across the wood floor.  The furnace kicking on.  Music on your iPod playing in another room.  Regular conversation.

Just the mundane, normal sounds of life.

Guest speakers at a conference.  Co-workers during a staff meeting.  Friends enjoying a lunch together in a noisy restaurant.  Television dialogue.

Just the mundane, normal sounds of life.

Right?

Sure.  Unless you notice that you can't hear those mundane, normal sounds of life quite like you used to.  Maybe you stop using the oven timer altogether and set your iPhone (turned up loud and with the "vibrate" setting on) instead.  Maybe you've figured out just where to sit at staff meetings so you have a better chance at hearing even the more quiet speakers.  Maybe you just stopped watching television altogether -- unless you can plug in earphones and watch on your iPad.

Maybe. . . you're going deaf.

Maybe.

Just maybe.

Well.  Probably.

For years - at least a decade - I've noticed (and my family and friends have noticed) my hearing deteriorating.  Oh, I can still hold my own in one-on-one conversations, and I've developed coping strategies to adapt to my growing hearing loss.  I know just where to sit in group meetings.  I've learned to arrive on the early side and sit down front at large gatherings with guest speakers.  I rely more and more on my earphones for television.  And I pretend I hear things I really don't (because, really, there are only so many time you can ask someone to repeat themselves.)

But in the last year, things have gotten noticeably worse.  I'm having a harder and harder time getting the details in meetings.  I'm missing pieces of information I need.  It takes a lot of energy and hard work for me to concentrate on hearing clearly.  My family, even though they're patient and understanding, get frustrated with me.  My Not Hearing is beginning to take a toll.

So last month, my doctor referred me to an audiologist, and I went through an extenisive regimen of ear and hearing tests.  Turns out I have moderate sensorineural hearing loss (nerve damage; very common as we age; some people are even more prone - thanks to heredity).  It's permanent.  And progressive. 

Lucky for me, I don't feel ashamed that I have a hearing problem.  (Lots of people seem to have a stigma with not being able to hear . . . I don't quite get that.)  Lucky for me, I am open to using assisted-hearing devices:  hearing aids, closed captioning, etc.  And, probably luckiest of all for me, our health insurance includes generous coverage for hearing aids (I had no idea hearing aids were a major health investment -- but they are).

I picked up my "new ears" today.

IMG_1465

(Spot them if you can!)

It's going to take a little while (but probably not too long!) for me to adjust.  The world . . . it turns out . . . is a Very Noisy place! 

I'll share more with you . . . as I surprise myself . . . with my new-found hearing ability.  For now,  it is simply a pleasure . . .

Listening to You!

 

 

 

Comments

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bonny

Hooray for hearing! My dear MIL has been having progressive and profound difficulty hearing over the last 5 years or so, except she (stubbornly) refuses to do anything about it. We've offered to take her to the audiologist, pay for hearing aids, tried to discuss it as a safety issue, and begged her to do something because at this point it feels as if she doesn't care enough about her family to be able to hear and listen to us or be able to participate. It makes me sad that she has chosen not to hear so much of the world around her. But I'm so glad that you've got new (and barely visible!) ears and are finding the world a noisy place. I'm looking forward to hearing (pun intended!) about your new superpower. Happy Hearing!

Marilyn

It's a difficult thing when our senses start failing us. But isn't it wonderful that there is help out there! The new hearing aids look so much more comfortable than what was available just a few years ago.
Yay for new ears!!
xoxo

Carole

Boy, hearing aids sure have evolved! Good for you for taking this step. My mom had pretty significant hearing loss and she couldn't afford hearing aids and didn't have health insurance. It was very frustrating for her and for us, I'm glad you have options.

margene

So many people I know (Smith included) do not want to admit they have trouble. Good for you in embracing the help you need to live well. From what I understand they can be adjusted until the sound works best for you. It's a whole new world for you Kym! Sometimes I'd like to shut out all the sound. This world can just be too noisy in this day and age.

Patty

Congratulations! I joke that Doug, Rocket and I are all deaf. It's progressing but still manageable. We a wonderfully tiny little device!

Debbie

Good for you! You are very fortunate that your health insurance offers coverage. Most people don't realize how expensive they are and how much hearing aides improve quality of life.

Rachel

Congratulations and good luck with your new aid!
Now you have the advantage over us of being able to shut the world off when you feel like it!

Emma

Wonderful that you are able to hear better. I hope it doesn't take too long to adjust to the noise levels. It will make meetings, etc. so much easier for you.
I don't understand the reluctance to have hearing aids if needed. The same goes for glasses. I'd always choose to be able to see and hear.

Vicki

Hm. I imagine this will soon be me, with the added wonderfulness that is tinnitus.

My mother has significant hearing loss; while she eventually (reluctantly) made the investment in hearing aids, she doesn't often wear them. My theory is that she waited far too long to finally get them and was completely overwhelmed by how noisy our world is! It is so frustrating trying to communicate sometimes.

Yay for you!! ;)

Susan

How wonderfully small and virtually invisible your hearing aids are! At this point in life, I am not aware of any hearing loss on my part, but it is encouraging to know what is out there if I should ever need it! I wish you the best of luck with your new-found hearing abilities!
Oh, and talk about the wonders of aging.... I may not have a hearing loss, but I can tell you about knee replacements!

Erin

I'm so happy that you can hear all the mundane things AND the important things too! And, if you ever require advice about hearing aid batteries, my time at Rite Aid has educated me ALL about that.

So proud of you for being so adaptable to such a big change (even if it's for the better, change can still be weird).

Just maybe take the things out if Brian comes home to play the drums...because that is VERY LOUD. :)

kmkat

My kids bugged me about always saying What? when they talked to me, and they suggested I have my hearing tested. (This was 15-20 years ago.) My hearing tested perfectly; the problem was that the boys mumbled and talked really fast ;-)

Good for you for re-joining this noisy world!

Diana Troldahl

I am headed that direction, mostly in one (right side) ear. Alison Jeppson-Hyde has just gotten new hearing aids that are da BOMB (her blog is spindyeknit)

Mary

thank you for sharing your story. your courage, honesty and grace are an example to all of us for how to deal with the challenges we face - and, especially as we get a few years older, fear. it helps, too, that science is making huge advances. no, I didn't see that hearing aid! way to go, Kym!

Lori On Little Traverse Bay

Kym, I'm so glad you looked into this (Mary is right about courage) and found a hearing aid solution that works for you.

My husband's friend, a physician/musician, just got his new hearing aids, and he said they are amazing. (He was very worried about no longer being about to hear, or play, music.) The thing he learned that many people don't realize is with some hearing losses the brain will stop looking for the signals from the ear. Consequently, those hearing losses can progress quicker without the use of hearing aids. We need to protect what we have, and really, are hearing aids any different than eyeglasses?

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