“I think I need a hearing aid,” I said to my internist. “Whom would you recommend I go to?”

He has been seeing me for years and I had no apparent hearing difficulty. “Why do you think you need a hearing aid?” he asked. So I explained. Sometimes at a prayer meeting someone to my left will pray aloud, but softly. That was OK with me. I figured God knew what she was praying about and I could say ‘Amen’ to it. Then I realized someone to the right of me could understand every word she was saying.

Also, when I’m in the backseat of a car I can’t hear what the folks in the front seat are saying to each other. That was OK, too, until I found that others sitting next to me could hear. And sometimes I miss entire conversations when some of my soft-spoken relatives talk to each other. I felt I was missing too much.

That was when my internist told me he wore one hearing aid, but only at home! It seems that in the office, face-to-face and close-up, he functioned just fine. But at home he had a soft-spoken wife and had to keep saying “What?”

He sent me to an ENT doctor for a hearing evaluation and thought that Medicare for pay for it. (It did pay for most of it.) I had audiometry which revealed that I did, indeed, have a low grade hearing loss in both ears, the kind that is usual in old folks. A audiologist named Jocelyn who will soon be an Au. D. (Doctor of Audiology) explained the range of hearing aids available, their prices, their guarantees, etc., etc. I liked her very much and really considered getting one low-end aid at a price of about $1000, which she said could be tweaked to suit my needs as I went along.

However, in the meantime, I had sent for a catalog that was advertised in National Review. For about $300 I could get a digital aid, risk-free, 45-day home trial, with free shipping. What could I lose? In due course it arrived and I’ve now had it about two weeks. The instructions tell me how to care for it, and say to try it out first in quiet places, and later in restaurants or places with a lot of background noise. In a nutshell–I like it and plan to keep it.

So far my experience is that while it does help pick up softer noises the racket at a recent banquet I attended was just too much and I took it out. Everyone had to shout at each other and I could hear what I
wanted to hear. Also, walking on Main Street, the traffic noise was annoying and I was happier without it. For a while I guess it will be one of those in-again, out-again things. When I need a better aid or an aid for the other ear, I’ll probably go back to Jocelyn. In the meantime, I’m content. At the rate I’m using it, replacement batteries can’t run into too much money (and it came with five free ones.)

Just thought that others considering (and really needing) a hearing aid might appreciate my story.

Fringe benefit:

An elderly gentleman had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He went to the doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed him to hear 100%. He went back in a month and the doctor said, ‘Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.’
The gentleman replied, ‘Oh, I haven’t told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I’ve changed my will three times!’