By Marianne Clyde
We have to normalize some of the things that can potentially come with aging.
I tried not to pay any attention to the fact that it was getting harder and harder for me to hear. Particularly in a crowded restaurant where there was a lot of “din” in the background.
But then, my 3 year old grandson started turning to me when I talked and said, “Hm. What?” I mean, he did it constantly and I know he heard me. Then I realized that he was just doing what I was doing. His little voice was just too difficult for me to hear and I found myself constantly saying, “Hm. What?”
I did get my ears checked and found out that my hearing was declining. But hearing aids were annoying and they didn’t always work. As a matter of fact, I would say that they didn’t really help the majority of the time. So I got a trial period, during COVID but gave them back because they were REALLY expensive and if they were not going to work, it seemed silly to spend the money and leave them in their charger.
But before too long, it seemed to get worse. I even think I know how my hearing got so bad. I don’t think it’s an actual aging issue per se. I got certified as an NRA pistol instructor. I spent A LOT of time at the shooting range. I went through A LOT of ammunition. I practiced ALL the time. I really loved it and got pretty good at it. I even used ear protection but I don’t think I used a high enough grade protection and it was annoying to use the the rubber ear plugs underneath the headset, so I stopped doing that. So pretty much my fault, I think.
Anyway, I received my certification in February, the month before COVID started shutting everything down. So i knew exactly when the symptoms started. It might be a little of an aging issue, but I think it was mostly constant exposure to firearms.
Having said that, it did seem to continue to get worse, and so I found the exact same hearing aids that I had paid around $7000 for for a fraction of the price through an online company named Lively. They have since been acquired by Jabra. They do hearing tests online and can adjust the hearing aids and check my hearing over the phone. They are responsive and helpful whenever I have a problem, so I recommend them.
I suppose my take aways are
- Nothing is perfect. Just like getting used to progressive lenses for my eyes, getting used to hearing aids takes time and can be a bit aggravating sometimes, but in the long run they help.
- Don’t assume your trouble with hearing is age related. It might be, but get checked out for other potential causes.
- I’m learning to be patient with myself and giving myself plenty of time to get used to new things. Instead of getting angry, I just take my time.
Action steps: If you think your hearing is getting worse, don’t put off getting checked because you don’t like the idea of getting older. Just take good care of yourself and learn to age with grace.