If we live long enough most of us will experience some hearing loss. Bob worked his whole working career around loud engine noise, airplanes and locomotives. At one time the railroad provided hearing aids for their employees but no more. Many years ago Bob had a set but never used them and who knows where they are today, probably some landfill.
For a number of years Bob and I were volunteers in a program that provided court appointed guardians for incompetent people, usually in nursing homes. I always knew we were in trouble when a patient had hearing aids. What a circus. Medicare required they have them but it was a constant problem because the patient would remove them, stick them in their pocket and off they went to the laundry. Teeth and glasses sometimes joined them.
At our house we just live with Bob's hearing loss. There's no way I would go through helping him adjust to hearing aids at this stage in his life. Do we get irritated and snap at each other, you bet. I'm sure some of what we deal with is habit.
Every morning we get up and greet each other and begin the day quietly. He reads the newspaper and I use my digital devices and we don't talk. Only we do talk, before we go into our quiet period he has to know what the weather forecast is for the day. I know he's not going to get it the first time around and I'm going to have to repeat it. Happens every time. His response is always the same, "huh?" That's habit.
I have learned there are certain levels of sound he hears that I don't. There are certain voices he hears well and voices he has real trouble hearing. I've also learned when I have to raise my voice to repeat something it sounds like I'm mad, to which he then says "You don't have to be mad about it." That makes me mad. I've tried many times to explain raising your voice makes it have a different tone.
The thing I regret most about his hearing loss is he's sometimes isolated from conversations which can be confused with slow thinking or dementia. With him it's neither of those, he just doesn't hear a lot of the conversations around him. That's one reason I often go with him to his doctor appointments, because I'm not sure he'll hear all he needs to hear.
Recently Linda Reeder at Linda Letters blog has faced her need for hearing aids. I am so amazed at how she approached her situation. If you read her blog you know she doesn't let grass grow under her feet and she's not going to let hearing loss slow her down in any way. Recently she did a post about the hearing aids she'll soon receive. By all means read her post. It's amazing how much hearing aids have advanced. She'll be using hers for all sorts of things with her iPhone.
Ronni Bennett at Time Goes By blog did an interesting post on hearing loss.
What bothers me the most is how expensive they are and I don't know of any insurance that pays well. For something that would be such an improvement to quality of life it seems there should be a way to make hearing aids more affordable.