Friday, June 1, 2012

....huh? What?

As long as I can remember, my mother has had trouble hearing.  Her hearing loss was a result of a childhood bout of Scarlet Fever. We managed to deal with the issue without much trouble, but in the last few years, the hearing loss has become more of a bone of contention between the family and my mother.  She refused from first mention to get tested for a hearing aid.  Always stating that she didn't like things in her ears.  She was quite adamant about it, too.  She did have a hearing test some years ago, but that's as far as it went.  Once my parents moved here, though, the issue became quite urgent and we almost felt as if an intervention was necessary to fix this problem.

When I was growing up, we yelled a lot at my house.  There were 4 kids in the family, so yelling was normal for us.  With 6 people in the house, sometimes it took yelling to be noticed or heard over the din created by 6 people.  Someone took something, someone got in someone's way, someone ate the last of something or drank the last bottle of something or someone breathed wrong.  Yeah, 4 kids within a 10 year period?  There was definitely a lot of yelling, especially when the kids became rebellious teenagers.
In contrast, Steve, my husband, grew up with 1 sibling who was much younger and didn't pose much conflict.  As a result,  Steve doesn't like yelling.  When we were first married, I yelled at any given moment, I even laughed loud.  It really was obnoxious.  Looking back I wonder how we managed to stay together this long.  So imagine his chagrin upon learning that yelling was the solution chosen to deal with my mother's increasing hearing loss.   After they arrived here in 2009, it became quite evident that the hearing was worse and our only option was even more yelling.  I cringed every time someone had to yell to respond to my mom because I knew Steve hated it.  It seemed as if it got worse by leaps and bounds and I knew that something would have to be done about it.

Hearing loss is never funny, but situations created by hearing loss can be hilarious.  Especially when the words spoken are not the words heard.
"Mom, I'll do that in a while."  "Whose crocodile?"
"Mom, do you want a Klondike Bar?"  "No, I don't want a corndog!"
"Mom, do you want some water?" "Salt?, why do I need salt?"
"Mom, Frank said he took the kids somewhere."  "Aren't they going out?"
"Mom, Fiona is with Sean"  "What's the matter now?  Sibling rivalry?"
"Merry Christmas!"  "How's business?"
And on and on.  It became a comedy of errors around here. For 2 1/2 years we went through this charade of yelling in order to be heard and her misunderstanding what we were saying.  At one point, she actually complained that we were always yelling at her!!  I said, "We are yelling because you won't get a hearing aid!"   I told her that enough was enough and that I was arranging a hearing test for her. In addition to her objection with having something in her ear, she also cited that they cost too much and that she didn't think it was necessary and she didn't want to travel to do it.  I ignored her.  I called Beltone and set up a consultation to take place in our home the following week.  She definitely has a significant hearing loss in her right ear and not as much in the left ear.  The rep from Beltone suggested getting an aid for just the left ear since it would be covered completely by insurance.  The aid itself was transparent as well as small, so her objections were invalidated.  She does wear it and I think she was relieved to get it.  The house is much quieter.  She complains on occasion that the TV is too loud, music to my ears!  She still hasn't mastered putting it on by herself, but I can live with that.

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