Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Facing Reality

I can't remember when I started losing my hearing. Actually, I think my hearing was so badly damaged by constant ear infections when I was a kid, I don't think I have ever been able to hear like a normal person. When I was in high school (back in the Dark Ages), an audiologist told me I had the kind of ear damage that hearing aids could not correct. I managed to get along okay until the past few years, but then things went sort of "bad" on me.

About three years ago, I broke down and bought a hearing aid online. It worked for a while, intermittently. When it was working, it was more or less fine. I could watch TV. I could carry on conversations with DH. I didn't wear it while cooking: I discovered that am a VERY noisy cook! I didn't wear it at work because I work in a very quiet environment where it was not necessary: hearing the clicking of the keyboard all day long drove me crazy. What was worse, I couldn't use the hearing aid on the phone. I am on the phone a LOT. When the hearing aid quit working, I did not replace it. That was, in retrospect, a mistake.

At first, that was okay. It helped in some situations, but was mostly an irritation in noisy environments. The problem is that in those situations where it did help, I really, really need the help.

Lately, my hearing has taken a noticeable turn for the worse. Big time!! I drive my family crazy asking them to repeat things. I try to fake it at work, and end up looking like a dork. I know I often make totally inappropriate responses to things people try to tell me, but which I misunderstand. I have reached the point I have difficulty understanding a lot of what is said to me on the telephone, despite the fact that I have the phone cranked up to the highest volume.

Tonight, I broke down and ordered a hearing aid from E-Bay.

One of these days enough of us Boomers are going to have severe enough hearing loss that insurance will cover "real" hearing aids, or, the market will become so huge the quality of the products available will improve. Either way, I will win.

This is one more little reminder that I have turned into an Old Broad. That is not necessarily a bad thing in my mind. I do, however, hate the thought of walking around with a piece of plastic stuck in my ear.

The alternative, however, is appearing increasingly stupid when I try to fake it. I have passed the point of being able to fake it.

So I wear trifocals, support hose and a hearing aid. Not exactly the self-image of the Eternally Youthful Boomer-Chick I have always seen myself to be.

Screw that.

I 'm sick of having to ask my husband to translate every TV show he watches (and not understanding half of what he says when he explains what is going on). I an sick of pretending a work that I understand what people are saying when I don't. I am an Old Broad with an increasingly severe hearing loss. I need to deal with it, instead of expecting everyone around me to deal with it "for" me.

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