We all face challenges in life. Right? They come in a variety of forms, emotional, physical, social, etc. We bring them on ourselves or they are thrust upon us by other people’s choices, by circumstances, or by age.
Rosemary shares how she faced and overcame a recent challenge.
On June 12th, I walked out of this hearing clinic with two new hearing aids embedded in my ears. It had been a long and sometimes torturous journey to get there.
As a young teen, I spent part of every summer battling inner ear infections, compliments of the municipal swimming pool I frequented daily throughout the season. The afternoon my right eardrum ruptured and thick green pus poured out onto the side of my face, is one I will never forget. That is when my initial hearing loss occurred. On testing, I was told I had significant loss, but I did not find it interfered with my life in any way at all. Okay, the techno-side of things found a deficiency, but I was basically unaware of less than perfect hearing.
Things changed dramatically when I developed Meniere’s Disease during my early 50’s. Besides episodes of debilitating vertigo, Meniere’s began to eat away at my hearing, leaving me with “stuffy, ringing, deadened” hearing.
-I beg your pardon?
-What was that?
-Would you say that again?
-Please speak up.
-I can’t hear you.
Things got to the point where if people weren’t looking right at me, so that I could see their mouths while they spoke, I was missing a lot of what they said. Embarrassed to repeatedly ask people to say again, I would smile and nod at them as if I really had understood what they had said. Yes, I had “heard” something, but no, I had not clearly heard a thing.
Add to the embarrassment, frustration and then anger. After repeating himself twice or even three times, my husband would just give up and say, never mind or worse yet, Rosemary, just try to hear me. I was being perceived as lazy or into a habit of automatically saying, “Pardon?”
-Rosemary, remember you spoke about getting hearing aids? It’s time. My dear sister helped me move forward.
When I speak to people about my need for hearing aids, they seem genuinely interested and even suspiciously trying to see if they could come to terms with them as well. I so totally understand. Who wants to be seen as the old codger who can’t hear? Which of us wants to advertise our deficiencies with ugly appliances hanging off the sides of our heads? Vanity, Vanity, Thy name is Me!
Can you see the hearing aid?
The side of my head. Even this close, no one can see my hearing instrument in place. I checked. I am positively sure this is the right photo, the thing is definitely there.
Even if we can get around the whole look of the things, what about the cost???? Economics is a big aspect of getting the help we need when it comes to our ears. About three years ago, my sister-in-law, my mother-in-law and I were discussing the need we each felt for impending use of hearing aids and the cost we would be facing. Nancy said her research dictated buying the VERY BEST ONE CAN AFFORD and that good ones cost $8000.00!
Now you know why I waited another three years.
My heart goes out to those who truly cannot afford what they need for quality of life. I am so blessed to be able to choose hearing instruments that are technically sophisticated and virtually invisible. Knowing who and what I am, it was a no-brainer for me to choose the best. I wanted to give myself every opportunity to succeed with the quest for improved hearing. I didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg and then leave the things in a drawer. Learning that the price for the pair (2 instruments) was $8000.00 and that OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) would contribute $500.00 per instrument and that a CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) membership gives free batteries for FIVE YEARS, significantly brightened my day!
My Oticon hearing instruments.
As the hearing loss in my right ear is worse than that in my left, the two speaker pieces are slightly different.
The battery door opens on the bottom of the instrument and the tiny battery (the size of a baby aspirin) slides in and out.
The tools. See the small, white “Streamer”?
That is a blue-tooth connectivity system that allows amazing extensions of helps. Firstly, it is a remote volume control–great for adjustments in short-term situations. Then, it can connect with your cell phone, an iPad/iPod, the TV, stereo…the list is endless.
Did you hear the one about the lady’s family who kept telling her to turn on her hearing aid? She said, I don’t want to wear down the batteries.
It’s sad but true. Many people get so used to their “quiet life” that they do not want to change. Adapting to a new level of hearing is just that, an adaptation. For days after I came home with hearing aids, I kept telling my husband to stop shouting at me. I found just two or three hours of the new levels of sound assaulting my senses exhausting. It took a couple of weeks before I was making it through whole days comfortably.
One older lady I know, lost one of her instruments and gave up. But why? Didn’t your company/supplier guarantee/replace it? Yes, but only once. Her daughter told me there was more to the story. The lady found it “too difficult” to “fiddle with” the tiny batteries. This seems to come under the heading of “teaching old dogs new tricks.”
The moral of the story is this: If you need help interacting with your world by getting hearing aids, don’t wait. We aren’t getting any younger!
Rosemary is working on an article about Winter in the Bahamas…
My hearing aids are in a drawer somewhere. Have been for several years. Making ambient sound louder didn’t make it clearer. The noise from the Meniere’s disease is so loud that it seems nothing can overcome it. It’s depressing as hell and because of it, like you, I nod and pretend to have heard. That has caused subsequent problems though, so I mostly just elect to stay alone at home.
I guess not all things work for all people, but Jim I hope you have found a way to cope.Or at least enjoy the silence…How is your writing coming along?
Rosemary, even if they were visible, you’d still be a beauty…
I have some hearing loss myself and I’m very reluctant to get tested, because I don’t want to walk around with hearing aids on display. Not that I have anything to be vain about, but I just don’t like the idea. As soon as I finish this comment, I’m going to to check out how much my insurance will pay.
I decided to look now and I just got back from my insurance web site. It seems that my insurance will pay $1000.00 each for the kind you have. That was kind of disappointing and I guess, I’m going to put it off for a while. My hearing isn’t really bad yet, so I guess I have some time. My wife always says that the only range that I have trouble with, is the one where her voice lies. I usually respond with, “I’m faking!” All in fun though…
Anyway, this was a great and inspirational post and I thank you for doing it.