In this month’s “Through the Eyes of an Elder” Colin Wood eloquently describes how the consequences of hearing loss have affected his life and offers suggestions for how family and friends can provide support to anyone with hearing loss.
One of his suggestions is to talk to your family and friends about your hearing loss, making this invisible disability visible. From my experience, when someone hears of my hearing loss, they are sympathetic – but they don’t really understand and are then often frustrated when I ask, “What did you say” for the third time!
So how do you describe hearing loss to others, so they can better understand?
A year and a half ago I mentioned Shari Eberts’s article “How to Explain Hearing Loss to the Uninitiated”. Because I found her suggestions for describing hearing loss to others useful, I thought I would again share three of them.
Hearing loss is like playing Wheel of Fortune where the players 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, body language, and the context within the conversation to understand the words.
With hearing loss, you don’t have peripheral hearing. With sight, you do have peripheral vision: the ability to see things outside of your direct line of sight. But with hearing loss, when I’m focusing on an activity it’s difficult to concentrate and understand any conversation outside that activity.
Hearing aids don’t work like glasses. They don’t give you 20-20 hearing. Hearing aids will make sounds louder and help you differentiate between sounds but they are far from perfect.
As Colin points out even though hearing loss can be a significant burden, the financial barriers prevent most people from obtaining hearing aids.
But there have been significant changes to address the high cost of hearing aids. As of October 17th, you can purchase OTC (over-the-counter) hearing aids without a medical exam, prescription, or professional fitting which can save you several thousand dollars.
But OTC hearing aids aren’t for everyone. Most importantly, they are designed to treat only mild to moderate hearing loss. If your hearing loss is more severe, you should consult a hearing health professional.
And you are on your own. There is no in-person hearing care provided after the purchase. No professional sizing, custom earpieces, or follow-up fine-tuning.
To learn more about OTC hearing aids, check out the National Council on Aging’s website at https://www.ncoa.org/adviser/hearing-aids/over-the-counter-hearing-aids/
There are other options besides OTC hearing aids. Costco offers a variety of brand-name hearing aids at a low cost. And although Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids, some Medicare Advantage plans now offer good quality, low-cost hearing aids.
Hearing loss has affected many lives. Now, thankfully, there are affordable options to make them more accessible and improve the lives of older adults.
Brain Tease: This week how about learning a little French in case you want to visit Paris. Try to find the translations for these common French phrases. “Merci beaucoup”, “Pourriez-vous m’aider?”, and most importantly “Où sont des toilettes?”
The name for the unidentified man who hijacked Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305 during the flight from Portland to Seattle on November 24th, 1971 was D.B Cooper or as several readers pointed out Dan Cooper. I received correct answers from Diana Weston, Rhonda Spies, Rhonda Schuh, Barbara Cadwell, Lana Tepfer, Doug Nelson, Donna Mollet, Patty Burnet, Dave Lutgens, Pat Kelly, Nancy Higgins, Tina Castanares, Rose Schulz, and Jerry Taylor this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Steven Woolpert.
Ross Bagdasarian Sr. whose stage name was David Seville wrote several novelty songs in the 1950s including this one. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the song that included the line (which I will never forget!) “Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang”? Email your answer to email@example.com, call 541-296-4788 or send it with the album Sing Again with The Chipmunks on Liberty Records.
Well, it’s been another week, wondering how it could be November already. Until we meet again, although it is good to know where you are going, there are times to travel without a destination in mind.
Cowboy wisdom: “Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.”
Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through
Friday unless otherwise noted.
Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Hood River
Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center
(541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333)
For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services – Goldendale office
(509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068); Skamania County Senior