I’ve found that after I’ve asked someone to repeat themselves – for the third time, they just shake their head with that look that says “Oh, never mind. It’s not that important – even though your house is on fire!” Or when someone asks me a question, I often just silently nod, with a goofy smile, hoping I just didn’t agree to something I’ll regret. Ah, the joys of living with hearing loss.
This became particularly evident during my family reunion in Montana. The eight of us spent most of the time around the table sharing childhood memories, discussing sports and politics, and deciding who is going when to visit what the next day. But often I found it difficult to understand the conversation and would turn to my wife and ask, “What did they say?”. I felt like a tourist in a foreign land with my interpreter!
Those familiar with hearing loss get it. But those who aren’t, or experience it only once a year at a family reunion, often don’t understand. So how do you describe hearing loss to others?
Recently I read “How to Explain Hearing Loss to the Uninitiated” by Shari Eberts on the Living with Hearing Loss blog that offers several suggestions
Explain that hearing loss Is like playing Wheel of Fortune. On Wheel of Fortune, the contestants try to identify a phrase with only some of the letters visible. With hearing loss, you are trying to do the same, but with sounds instead of letters. You are constantly combining these incomplete sounds with other clues: lipreading (Masks don’t help.), body language (You need to face me!), and the context within the conversation to come up with something coherent.
They may also believe hearings aids work like glasses and can give you 20-20 hearing. Hearing aids make sounds louder but are not always good at differentiating among sounds so the sounds often remain muffled or unclear making it harder to hear particularly in a noisy environment.
She has several other suggestions but those two I found most helpful in explaining hearing loss to my family so conversations don’t lead to frustration, anger, name-calling – which is sometimes my wife’s reaction when I can’t understand her. And she loves me!
Good news! Many senior and community centers have or will soon welcome folks back for in-person activities and meals. For example, the Hood River Valley Adult Center will be open starting August 2nd. Masks will be required except when eating and there will be few other safety requirements which are a small inconvenience so we can gather again safely. Check with the meal site in your area to learn more.
The broadcast journalist who served as anchorman for the CBS Evening News for nineteen years and during that time reported on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and other significant events was Walter Cronkite. I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Doug Nelson, Barbara Cadwell, Jess Birge, Margo Dameier, Stephen Woolpert, Susan Ellis, and the winner of a quilt raffle ticket Alan Winans.
And for the previous week’s Paul Lynde question, I received correct answers from Susan Ellis, Barbara Cadwell, Doug Nelson, Kim Birge, Dave Lutgens, Margo Dameier, Lana Tepfer, Rhonda Spies, Keith Clymer, Gene Uczen, and that week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket “CK the DJ” Courtney Kiser.
Even furrrrrrther back I missed Keith Clymer, Pat Kelly, J Chantler, and Clare Zumwalt, and in my coming and going I probably missed a few more.
I know many of you are country music fans so you may have watched this show starring Buck Owens and Roy Clark. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the television variety show aired on CBS-TV from 1969–1971 (before going into syndication) and featured country music and humor from the fictional rural Kornfield Kounty? E-mail your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a greasy hamburger from Lulu’s Truck Stop.
Well, it’s been another week, trying to resist the irresistible. Until we meet again, in life there are good days – and then there are days when you feel like “Lonesome” George Gobel when he asked, “Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?”
“Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.” Larry Lorenzoni