Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Falling Apart

I don't hear well.

That will come as no surprise to my family. We have a notebook filled with my mis-heard utterances.

I've not made a big deal of it with my friends. I do just fine with adult conversation, and a laughing "What did you say? I'm deaf as a doorpost," was my standard response when I missed something. Everyone was always happy to repeat what I'd not heard.

But I've lost the ability to hear the high tones, the sweet song of childhood, those soprano-pitched answers to my questions which vanish on their voyage from the booster seat in the back to my ears in the driver's seat. Messers 6 & 8 are losing patience with my need for repetition; though they love me they are also annoyed.

Daddooooo resisted hearing aids until long after I was married. He'd heard that his nerve deafness could not be treated, and he held fast to that belief..... for nearly 3 decades. Once fitted with his devices, he realized that he had found another piece of his life about which he could complain.

And complain he did.

Restaurants were too loud, waiters continued to mumble, movies were designed to torture him. He was the quintessential anti-advertisement.

And then there were the batteries. Oh, those little devils.... they were always whistling and failing and dropping and if there was one topic at the center of most of my parents' many arguments it was those hearing aids.

"You're whistling again,"
G'ma would start and off they would go, racing through "Yes, they are" and "Can't be. I just changed them" and ending up with a slammed door or a stony stare into the sink. They would have argued about anything; I just wish that it had been anything except hearing aids.

Why? Because in 30 minutes I'll be leaving my house and driving to the UofA Audiology Clinic where I will be fitted with my own, bi-lateral, assitive audiological machinery.

Big Cuter was proud that I'd faced down my resistance and taken the plunge, and his respect has helped a lot as I struggle with the diminution of my physical powers. I was fast and now I limp. My arthritic pointer finger is bending ever further toward my thumb. Without my contact I cannot read anything smaller than a headline. And now my ears have joined the list of crumbling body parts.

I know that it's not the end of the world. I'm not suggesting that it's anywhere akin to taking 3 bullets. It's a problem with a solution and that is a good thing. But, just as I thought that I'd at least get to my 70's before I needed hip surgery, I am surprised that my youthful body is betraying me in the hearing department, too.

"Youthful body, you say? Honey, you are 6 months away from 60. Get over yourself!" But my perception is still of a scrawny teenager stuck within the confines of this rapidly wrinkling and shrinking body. She is who I see when I close my eyes and imagine myself.

And she doesn't wear hearing aids.


  1. I'm 25 and wear hearing aids, so I tend not to see it as a sign of aging. Just of normal life.

    Good luck at your appointment!

  2. My dad, who is 69 this year, is always saying to me, "Getting old isn't for sissies" and how right he is. But look at it this way, just as your dad found a piece of his life opened up, the same will happen to you. And I have a toddler boy I can loan you if you want to hear high-pitch screeching. Hubby is just amazed that a boy can squeal like a girl. :)

    I think even people hard of hearing would be able to hear the little man. Don't worry too much about the appointment. You will be fine.

    Big virtual hugs,

    Megan xxx

  3. I'm not quite there, yet... Although Hubby's "You don't hear that?" is becoming almost mantra. I blame Neil Young and a Rust Never Sleeps concert at Purdue. G'luck and I will be asking advice soon.

  4. Hearing aids have come a long way over the years. Good luck with your appointment and give yourself time to make the adjustment.

  5. Yessum, I am right there witcha. My mother used to have the television so loud (but, at least it was on all day), I think she contributed to my problem. The rest is probably iPod earphone damage, addicted as I am to audiobooks. Hey, they're easy to hear!

    I'm going to be paying close attention to your reports on this, since I think it's in my near future. Wonder, in our vanity, will we have to let our short hair grow out to cover our ears?

    Hmmm. Humor, humor (picks things up, looks under them) to be some around this subject somewhere. Gimme time. I'll find it.

  6. I just got hearing aides in February and now I wish I had not waited so long. I'm 55 but have needed them for a while. I had surgery to help increase my hearing 30 years ago and it did help, but now I can hear the birdies singing again. Takes a little while to get used to them, but it is worth it.

  7. I am really interested to her about your experiences. I have the same problem and it was one of the many reasons I retired from teaching. Not sure why I’m so resistant to getting a hearing aid.

  8. You will be the envy of the crowd....and even hear what the crowd has to say. I've had mine a few years now and it is no big deal -- a bit awkward and pesky at first. But wait until you suddenly hear birds singing, and you could never believe that a toilet flushing could be so loud. What an adventure!

    So congratulations...and turn the TV down.



  9. I'm 62 and have used aids for a high frequency loss for nearly 10 years. I now wear programmable, open-fit, behind the ear aids and love them. Good luck and welcome back to the sounds of crickets, bird songs, splashing water and children's laughter--Steve


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