Friday, January 17, 2014

Living With the Hard of Hearing

Hearing loss seems to be common among us geezers.  “You’re not enunciating clearly.”  “You need to pronounce your consonants.”  And the old “Look at me when you talk.”

Enough of this and I start to wonder if I’ve had a stroke, and I’m really not speaking clearly. My husband claims to have had his hearing checked and it came out in the normal range.  My visiting friend Joyce at least admits she needs to turn on the captions for hard -of-hearing when she watches television, but when talking to me, her lack of understanding is my problem.

My younger daughter just got a hearing aid.  But my adult friends won’t consider it.  It reminds me of my 91-year-old  mother refusing to use a cane because it might make her look old.  But it was okay for me to use when I needed it, because she doesn’t think I’m old.

I can speak louder. I can make sure I have their eyes on my face when I talk. This means I can’t yell up or down stairs any more, but my new hip can climb stairs, so I can make this work. Still, I keep wondering – am I doing something wrong? Am I not speaking clearly?

Last Monday, we watched Downton Abbey season 4, episode 2 on the PBS website where captions cannot be turned on. The two of them (my husband, the alien, and Joyce) constantly asked me to repeat what the characters said. They can’t all be enunciating poorly, or failing to face the camera.

It’s not that I like repeating what the actors said, in my best imitation of their intonation.  Okay, it is fun. But what I really liked was the validation that I’m speaking clearly.

According to WebMD
hearing aids aren’t like glasses – you can’t just put them on and hear.  It takes lots of practice in different situations.  

So maybe what I really need is like what the have at the opera – an electronic display of what I’m saying.  It would be cool if it worked like a Dick Tracy watch. I could talk wherever I am, and it would display on my conversation partner’s wrist. They could press the repeat button if they don’t get it the first time.

Has anybody invented this?


  1. Have you seen the Bluetooth hearing aids? I'll be looking at one of those for my left ear since there is a hole in the eardrum and regular hearing aids won't work. I still test in the "normal" range, but my hearing is diminished. I would really like a Dick Tracy watch.

  2. My daughter says there are speech - to-text apps for smartphones. My husband is looking for one. Meanwhile, I like the voice search on google. That little thing that looks like a flower at the end of the box where you type your search is a microphone. Click it and you can say what you are searching for. I tried beret and it got it! Meanwhile, let me know how the bluetooth hearing aid works.