While traveling with a friend a few years ago, she suggested I get my hearing checked. It seems I often didn’t hear what she said to me, though I was unaware of the issue.
Upon my return I made an appointment with the audiologist. The tests showed significant hearing loss in both ears. I was shocked. She told me hearing loss occurs gradually and usually takes seven years before a person notices. The last time my hearing was checked was twenty-five years ago.
Hearing aids require some adjustment. I had to purchase an iPhone to support the software that controls the hearing aids. To be honest, I found the phone to be the most frustrating part of the process, after using a flip phone for years. All of a sudden I didn’t know how to make a call, or answer a call, and a gazillion other things. The hearing aids were easy, the phone not so much.
I’ve learned a few things since then:
- hearing aids are only helpful if you wear them
- hearing aids only work if you turn them on
- hearing aids have to be adjusted for different situations like playing the piano, restaurants, church
- hearing aids are generally not noticeable to other people
- hearing aids short our when my head sweats
- on my phone, I learn a new thing only when I have immediate application for it
Every time I practice piano I turn my hearing aid volume down. If I don’t, my piano sounds unpleasantly tinny. The adjustment is easy on my phone. When I hear the ding-ding-ding in my ears I know the volume has been lowered.
One day as I was out driving I remembered I’d failed to change the volume back to normal when I finished practicing several hours earlier. At the next stoplight, I made the adjustment on my phone. Then I heard a puzzling clicking noise in my car. I started looking for the sound’s source. Fortunately the red light was a long one, allowing me ample time to search. Finally, I discovered the green turn signal light blinking and blinking and blinking. I’m not sure why that wasn’t the first thing I checked or the first thing I saw.
I laughed to myself. Senior moments had compounded to create a mystery for me — and a reality check of my hearing loss. With the volume on low, I hadn’t’ hear the turn signal at all — at least not that day.
My challenge is a simple one: return the volume to normal when I finish practicing. Seems like a simple thing, but more often than not, I forget as I move on to other things.
Why does all of this even matter?
- Have your hearing checked as part of maintaining your health
- You may be the last know that you’re not hearing as well as you think
- Be willing to make personal adjustments as necessary
- Create a reminder or prompt for simple things you often forget
Listen to the birds, the wind, the rain, the children, and the music — like you’ve never heard them before.
Until next Tuesday . . .