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Hearing Aids


Hearing aids

My lovely wife, for years, ragged on me to get my hearing checked…I deferred.   Dad had a hearing problem and he and Mom went round and round about his everlasting, “Huh?”  He died too young, and never did get around to getting hearing aids.  He had worked in the engine room of river boats most of his life.  That probably contributed to his hearing loss.

I didn’t have the same excuse, so now I figure that heritage must have something to do with my hearing problem.  I have a good friend who has had a very serious hearing loss since childhood.  His wife has to repeat almost everything she says to him.  He does lip read and can converse one-on-one when he is facing you.  That position isn’t very conducive to safe driving.

Jan, my lovely wife, was slowly going nuts having to repeat most everything she said to me…also.  It got worse when I retired.  Actually, I was tested and tried to wear hearing aids before I retired.  I was secretary of the board so I was supposed to take notes at board meetings for the minutes.  When we had a meeting of our three boards (23 members,) I had difficulty hearing the members down at the far end of the table.  So I got tested and sure enough, I had a minor hearing loss.  I was fitted and sent home to test the new hearing aids.

The next board meeting was a few days after getting the aids.  The meeting began and I was pleasantly surprised how well I could hear the board members closest to me.  The members were giving their reports and as they went down the table, I started having difficulty understanding.  So I did the logical thing, I turned up the volume on my hearing aids. 

If any of you have hearing aids, or have a family member who does, you know there can be a problem with feedback.  Under certain circumstances you get a high pitched squeal that not only you hear, but everyone around you hears.   Yep, that’s what happened to me.  The speaking member and every other member turned to the source of the squeal.  Me.  At the secretary’s table next to the board table.   Some smiled, some glowered, some I couldn’t read.  That was the last day for those aids.

Now, back to Jan.  Time has passed and I have retired.  Figuring that I want to get the most out of life I had my physical, took my meds on time, had my eyes checked, and decided that maybe it was time to get my hearing checked again.  For some reason the sound on the TV seemed to be getting fainter.  Understand, I really hadn’t changed much.  I was still saying “Huh?” when Jan spoke to me and she would repeat herself.  She ragged me a little more frequently now.

I was tested again and got new hearing aids.  They took some getting used to.  Initially they were  uncomfortable, and I had problems adjusting the sound to the right level…at the dinner table, watching TV, out with friends.  Slowly I adapted.  Now comes the problem.  I had become so accustomed to saying “Huh?” when Jan spoke to me, I still did even with the hearing aids.  That had a tendency to really tick her off! 

I tried to adapt.  I would listen to her more directly than in the past, but when concentrating on a book or watching the conclusion of great TV show, the “Huh?” came out automatically.  Now came the fun part.  She had her ways of ticking me off when we were having a little tiff now and then.  I really had nothing comparable…except my hearing.  I would do one of two things if we were at odds, I would start the “Huh?” routine so the long-winded dressing down I was getting would have to be repeated.  Or, in the middle of our conversation, I would pop the aids out and put them in my pocket.  It got the desired reaction either way. 

We gave up our silly games over time, and she’s been gone four years now.  I’d love to hear her voice once more…even ragging me…and I wouldn’t say…”Huh?” 


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My dad hated his hearing aids, too

I refused to attempt a phone conversation with him unless he wore them.  His birthday was Christmas Day.  I miss his voice, too.

Lovely piece, Max.  I'm looking forward to the next one.