Turning Up the Volume

No wonder I get along so well with the elderly members of my weekly writing workshop in a local retirement home. We have so much in common. Call me precocious, but just this week I was diagnosed with hearing loss.

Hearing loss is something that can sneak up on you, unknowingly, over time—I had just assumed it would be a good seventy, eighty, or ninety years. But no, mine arrived early. And I thought my husband was talking lower for some reason, that various rooms had acoustical problems, that cell phones didn’t work as well as land lines used to, and that no phone worked as well as when you can see the person talking. A week ago I almost excused myself from jury duty because whenever the judge brought his hand up to his mouth, I was challenged to understand what he was saying. Turns out, of course, I’ve been supplementing my hearing with a little lip reading. And it wasn’t acoustics in the room; it was my inner ear. How long this had been going on I do not know, but I wish I could do my MFA in Creative Writing all over again. For words were what we lived for at Goddard, and there were numerous readings where, if I hadn’t arrived early enough to secure a seat up front, I was often challenged to hear. I’d like to try it again with the new devise being manufactured for my ears now.

I am surprising not only my husband and friends, but also myself, with my forthright, proactive response to my hearing diagnosis. Heck, I am even blogging about it. Perhaps I just think there are other things to worry about, and as my mother suggested, this is one problem where something can be done. (I am, by the way, experiencing hearing loss before either of my parents). In any case, I am trying to look at needing hearing aids simply like needing reading glasses. For forty years I didn’t think I’d ever need glasses either, and now I wouldn’t think to read without them.

We will just have to see. No doubt I’ve been living with more than my share of quiet, and in many ways it’s been rather nice. I am not so sure I want to hear everything. And chances are I’ve been doing a lot of nodding in social situations the past few years, and it remains to be seen whether I am as agreeable as it appeared. These are questions that only hearing aids can answer.

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5 Comments

Filed under Aging, Hearing loss

5 responses to “Turning Up the Volume

  1. Beth Yourgrau

    Good for you for your efforts to correct the hearing loss. Like you wrote, we get eye glasses when needed. I supervised a Psychologist that had a hearing loss. She was embarrassed about it so she didn’t tell people. In addition, she didn’t have the money to get good hearing aids – which I believe are quite pricey. So she came across to clients and other colleagues as spacey… It was a real disservice to her and others.
    Love, Beth

  2. You make hearing loss sound relatively painless, and definitely less frightening than I’d imagine it would be. Keep us posted on how you go with the hearing aids. There’s a story in this experience.

  3. Tracy Ahrens

    Hearing loss. It is rather amusing that we take in stride all the parts of us that begin to fall apart as we age. Think what it would be like if we could go back to our ten tear old self for one day. Back to a time when we could and did spend our days running through the yard, twirling on climb bars, jumping downstairs and skipping in the driveway. We never imagined ourselves ever having aches or bad eyesight or hearing loss. Yet somehow they happen to all of us. And we take it all in stride with all the knowledge and wisdom we trade for our young active bodies. Be careful what you wish for is one of those lessons we learn in bits and pieces along the way as we tumble through the decades. Any maybe poor eyesight keeps us from focusing on things we should not see and hearing loss keeps us from hearing things that are best not heard. For everything comes with a price.

  4. Thanks a lot for being my own mentor on this subject matter. We enjoyed your article a lot and most of all enjoyed reading the way in which you handled the aspect I considered to be controversial. You are always quite kind to readers like me and assist me in my life. Thank you.

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