March 29, 2010
I knew I was just delaying the inevitable. The signs were all there. Saying “What?” or “Huh?”, (my Dad hated “HUH”), after someone said something to you, or to someone else close by you, or you just thought you heard someone talking to you when nobody was really there. Other signs, like when the neighbors, from across the street, mind you, not the next door neighbor or anything, phone to tell you to turn down your TV, or how you get really upset when the movies you rent don’t have closed captioning on them. Yes, that’s right, and I knew it, I just didn’t want to admit my hearing was as bad as it was…or, I guess, is.
I called up my good friend Public Health Nurse Betty (another service we are very lucky to have around here) to see if she would check out my hearing.
“Not a problem’, she says.
I said, “What”?
“You’d better come in right away,” she says louder.
So we do the test and I have to raise the appropriate arm to match which ear I’m hearing a beeping tone in. I am not sure how many times I lifted my arm without hearing a sound but she was very polite not to laugh at me.
“Well”, Nurse Betty says, “Your hearing is pretty messed up. You’re going to have to get it checked by a specialist.”
I said, “What?”
Just kidding. I think I heard her the first time.
She said my hearing is all over the map and that I’ve got “Boomer Ear” or something. Seems we Baby Boomers liked lots of noise. We work in loud places, we listen to loud music, we go to live unbelievably loud concerts and sporting events and I’ve spent enough time under my headphones listening to music that it probably calculates into months.
Apparently my hearing is okay for some sounds and different tones, but rooms full of people, or one on one conversation, or when people mumble, which they always seem to do, or when someone is talking about a to-do list, are the worst.
I know hearing loss is not really a laughing matter and I’m thankful for the fifty-eight-and-a half-percent hearing that I do have, but it can be as entertaining as it is frustrating.
I have a hundred stories I could tell you about how I misheard something, but I’ll relate to you this cute little story that I heard the other day about hearing loss.
A friend of mine’s late father-in-law had received his new hearing aid and he was very pleased with the amount that it had helped his hearing. So off he went to see his old buddies at their regular watering hole and he was bragging about how good his hearing was with his new hearing aid in.
“What kind is it?” he was asked.
“Oh, about a quarter to five,” he replied.
“Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”-Mark Twain (1835-1910).