Sunday, March 8, 2015

Fun With Hearing Loss

A blogging friend of mine once coined a term "Fun With Hearing Loss". It has been a favorite phrase in my household ever since.

Our TV watching evenings are like no one else's I am sure. My mother-in-law who lives with us is almost totally deaf so she wears headphones so she can hear the TV.

Gene is very hard of hearing as well and he will turn the TV up loud. That leaves me, who has no hearing problems at all and the TV is way too loud for me, so my solution, since I usually don't want to watch TV anyway, is to wear the ear muffs we have for the gun range. It leaves me free to read and I can still hear just enough to know when someone is talking to me. I know the scene must be hilarious to some but it does reflect the very real issue of hearing loss.

Hearing loss is a struggle on the part of everyone involved. Those who can hear get tired of having to shout and then have the hard of hearing person gets upset because we suddenly were speaking too loud.

What is hard for those of us that hear to remember is that hearing aids really are not that effective. Hearing aids amplify sound but don't clarify sound as well as we might imagine. Even though my mother-in-law wears hearing aids and the sound is amplified, I still have to turn towards her so she can read my lips as well.

Hearing aids are also apparently hard to wear. Gene has hearing aids but never really could adjust to them so he quit wearing them. I have asked that he consider the cochlear implants but he seems uninterested at this point. Maybe that will change if his hearing worsens.

While you may still have the comical view of us three watching TV still in your mind, to me it brings up some very real struggles. It seems to me that at the very least the science community could be doing more to make better hearing aids and that insurance companies could also make hearing aids a normal healthcare benefit so that these much needed items can be bought through our health insurance policies.


  1. Nancy, your post reminds me that I've been meaning to look up the name of a classical pianist on the Internet. Driving around, I've heard them mention a pianist named Maria Pariah. I'm sure that can't be her name.
    I've used a hearing aid since my early forties, so it was probably easier for me to get used to wearing one than an older first-time user. The manufacturers of hearing aids are constantly improving them, but they are still far from perfect. Everything's a trade-off. I had an excellent audiologist (now retired unfortunately) and he was always tinkering with mine to get optimum results. It's the consonants that are the problem--telling a "d" from a "t', for example. I was shocked to hear about an antique show sponsored by Baltimore's leading "antiques stealers." :-)

  2. Well, I wasn't THAT far off this time. Maria is a he, not a she, and his name is Murray Perahia.

  3. We get some pretty comical word combinations around our house too. I like the "antique stealers" one!