Tuesday, October 8, 2019

What did you say?


Over seven years ago I went to an audiologist to have my hearing evaluated. My husband had a friend with hearing loss that was reversible. He said maybe I had that type of problem and if I didn’t wait too long it could be corrected.

I went to the appointment, and like a good student, I answered all the beeps correctly. At least I thought I did. When the doctor shared her report, the graph had a big dip in the middle, typical of hereditary-related hearing impairment. I didn’t have the type of loss that Dave’s friend had. Mine couldn’t be “fixed.” The audiologist suggested I get fit for hearing aids. Right then. I said maybe I would in five years, gathered my stuff, went out to my car, and cried.

Fast forward seven years…

January 6, 2019 I decided this was going to be my “Best Year Yet.” I wrote a letter dated one year later—as if I had already lived 2019. In the letter I described what contributed to this being a year of growth, joy, health, family, friends, and other things that I value. In the letter I wrote, “I got hearing aids.”

Occasionally I read the letter to check how I’m tracking. Buy a larger condo—check. Maintain weight loss—check. Host more dinner parties—check. Get hearing aids—no check. And so in September I made another appointment with a hearing doctor. This time I knew the results would show hearing impairment. I knew hearing aids were the answer.

Fortunately I had a really nice technician who explained how the hearing aids work. She understood the emotional part as well as the technical aspects. When I left her office, hearing aids in place, I said, “Here I go.” I felt like I was walking into a new experience.

One week later the hearing aids still feel like I have ear buds stuffed in my ears, which for now feels uncomfortable. But, I’ve decided to reframe my experience. As I write in Starbucks, nearly every person sitting alone is wearing ear buds—probably listening to music or a podcast. I’m one of them, except mine are hearing aids. Cool.

You might not need hearing aids, yet, but we’re all growing older. We can focus on “growing” or we can focus on “older.” I choose growing—which includes facing reality and doing what needs to be done to live life fully engaged. And to do that, I need to hear well.

Copyright 2019. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.