Don’t whisper behind my back anymore

I am officially a wearer of hearing aids. This is what they look like. Quite discreet. You can’t see them behind my ear unless you literally pull the ear away from my head and stand one-inch away. A thin clear wire shows slightly because my hair is so short.  It doesn’t bother me at all. If I let my hair grow one-half inch, the wire will be hidden.

The woman behind me on the bus earlier today had ice in her drink. I heard it as she shook the cup. I heard every word the woman in front of me was saying on her cell phone. She wasn’t speaking loudly, either.  When the man sitting next to me rustled his Wall Street Journal, I heard it.

When another woman dropped one of her shopping bags, it sounded like a watermelon was in it. I heard the man behind me speaking Italian to his wife. The aids don’t translate from Italian to English but I heard each individual word.

I didn’t have to strain to hear a conversation on my cell phone.

I know it doesn’t matter whether I can hear strangers on a bus, but it’s nice to more clearly hear the person I’m talking to on my cell phone or in person.

I removed the aids before I went into the beauty salon this afternoon so they wouldn’t get wet. When Megan was washing my hair, she asked if I was wearing “autumn colors,” which I thought was odd since I was wearing navy and orange and I never thought of navy as an autumn color. “No. I just like the colors,” I answered, “but it does feel like autumn today.”

“No, I said Auburn,” Megan explained, enunciating more clearly. She meant the school, not the season.  The aids are supposed to help me distinguish between words like these.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed I’ve had to turn up the TV volume to its highest level, and even then it’s not quite as loud as I’d like. I will experiment with the aids and TV tonight.  Now I’m going to walk Rigby and make dinner.

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13 Responses to “Don’t whisper behind my back anymore”

  1. joan mark says:

    hearing aides do seem to be very expensive – however, Costco has hearing aide departments
    in some of their stores and their hearing aide product is much less expensive.

  2. Susan says:

    I have had hearing aids for years..and can tell you they are wonderful. Hearing loss is difficult however it does have some advantages. I am a very calm person…I did not grow up hearing all the loud noises that most people here. I can understand why so many people in this world are stressed…the loud sounds (eg traffic) are everywhere. All I have to do is hit my mute button and smile|) I can read lips very well. So if you’re moving to hearing aids..don’t fret..they offer the gift of communication and also the gift of nice, quiet peace.

  3. Marcia says:

    I’ve had hearing loss since I was in HS. Hearing technicians told me that it was worse in one ear than the other, but if I had only one aide in the right ear, it would throw off my equilibrium. Finally after years of frustration (and losing jobs due to mis-understanding) I found an otolaryngologist that told me that was hogwash. I got one hearing aide, (late 30’s)and it has made all the difference in the world. Now the other ear is starting to go, (late 50’s) and I’m saving my money to buy two. They are not cheap, and the cheap ones are really bad. And they only last about 6 yrs. with good care. What I do not have is directional hearing: I can’t tell what direction a sound is coming from, which can be confusing once in a while. I am SO happy to hear now, that I wouldn’t go anywhere without my aide. Problem is, I can’t use the earbuds on the fancy new MP3 player someone gave me. There’s one more hint, you can buy an amplifier-receiver to hook up to the TV. The newer flat screen TV’s have really small speakers, and they are never loud enough and getting quieter every year as the sizes get smaller and they draw less power. Treat yourself to a plug-in amplifier-receiver for your TV, it’s wonderful! And stay away from leaf blowers, they will ruin your hearing for good.

    • Marcia (not Miller) says:

      One more thought: someone mentioned safety. A few years back there was a fire in a hotel lobby, and my room was the first one next to the lobby. Sleeping without the aide, I never heard the alarm, nor the fire trucks, parked right next to the window of the first floor room. That’s how deaf I am. Slept right thru it. The next morning I saw the damage and asked why I was not awakened… they don’t knock on guest room doors to make sure everyone gets out. When you check in, tell them you are hard of hearing, and request that they physically check on you in an emergency, or you could die in your sleep like I (almost) came close to.

  4. belindabg says:

    Geri, thanks for being so honest about this and for being willing to wear your hearing aid. My Dad is 80 years of age, my Mom passed away in September and I’ve got him here with me temporarily until my Sister can move in with him. He’s so hard of hearing he’s practically DEAF without the hearing aid and it doesn’t really help him that much even when he uses it, but it does help some. But when he doesn’t wear it, it drives me NUTS because not only do I have to repeat everything numerous times, but he looks so stupid saying ‘HUH??’ endlessly, to everyone we meet or see. It makes people think he has dementia – and he doesn’t – he’s just really hard of hearing is all. Please continue to emphasize how IMPORTANT it is to WEAR YOUR HEARING AID if you need or have one – and remember it’s a SAFETY issue as well!
    If I were an older person with a hearing problem, I’d much rather wear a hearing aid and ignore vanity about it, than to be thought of as someone with Alzheimer’s or Dementia!!

    • Geri says:

      Hi Belinda,

      You’re welcome. My mother refused to acknowledge that she was losing her hearing. Agree how frustrating it can be.

      I so appreciate your thoughtful comment.


  5. Marcia Miller says:

    Thank you for taking good care of yourself and helping others. It is very frustrating to have a friend (or mate) who does not hear well. You honor others as well as yourself by making it easier to communicate with you.

    • Geri says:

      Hi Marcia,

      thank you.

      i knew a publisher with your name. is that you?


  6. Robi Malone says:

    I need them in both ears as I have been hard of hearing since birth. I wore them as a child, but I need to get a set for now. I know that I miss a lot due to the loss I have. They are just so expensive and insurance will not cover the cost of them. Maybe after my house sells.

  7. Mel says:

    You should be proud of yourself. People wear glasses to see better and there’s no stigma so why not a hearing aid. My mother-in-law needs an aid and won’t get one and we are so frustrated (and I think she is as well) because she misses so much in conversation. When I need one (and I may be getting there), I’m getting one.

  8. Karena says:

    Geri, I am so glad we don’t have to hide the issues that accompany our fabulous age anymore!

    I have a New Giveaway from the French Basketeer I think you will love!

    Art by Karena

  9. Geri says:

    Hi Toby,

    I have aids for both ears since the loss is equal in both. I wore them most of yesterday and everything was fine. The audiologist set them lower so I can get used to them. Will go back in two weeks.


  10. Toby Wollin says:

    Geri – you may find that you’ve gotten so used to accommodating that sounds may now come in through the ear that you are wearing the aid in and that might throw you a little bit. I know that when I first started wearing aids, sound like traffic noises, slamming doors, etc. that had come through my useful side now came in through the appropriate side and it startled me tremendously. You might also find that the volume level feels a little bit loud at first – you can play with the settings but you’ll settle into a level that feels comfortable for you.


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