Aging Well in the Gorge November 7th 2017

During the holidays, when you are spending time with family, it can often be frustrating trying to follow the conversations if you have hearing loss. Having poor hearing myself, I find it hard enough listening to my wife at home with no distractions. But she also knows the frustration and can get, should I say, a little irritated when I ask her to repeat herself for the 10th time. (Actually, it never gets that far – after the third time it usually is a loud “Never mind!”.)
But I have found some tips that can help improve communication when talking with someone with hearing loss.
The first are common sense: do not talk from another room; speak clearly, slowly, distinctly, but naturally, without shouting; pause between sentences or phrases; and keep your hands away from your face while talking.
But here are five tips you may not have thought of.
1. Say the person’s name before beginning a conversation. This gives the listener a chance to focus at the beginning of the conversation. 2. Tell the hearing-impaired person if the topic has changed. 3. Don’t just repeat over and over. Instead try to find a different way of saying the same thing. 4. If you are giving specific information — such as a phone number have them repeat the specifics back to you. Many numbers and words sound alike. 5. Pay attention to the listener. A puzzled look may indicate misunderstanding. (To avoid embarrassment, I often just smile and nod if I don’t understand.)
Also try to minimize extraneous background noise when talking. But if a noisy situation is unavoidable, like in a restaurant, consider the following: have the person with hearing loss sit with their back to a wall, avoid sitting near the kitchen and bar area, and if possible sit in a booth.
And finally, be patient. Hearing aids greatly improve the ability to hear but it doesn’t return the user’s hearing back to normal. They may hear the sounds but not understand the words. Or as I often tell my wife, “I heard you say something, but I have no clue what it was”.  
The Center’s Wednesday Lecture on Nov. 8th, at 11:00 will feature Rod Runyon who will share his experiences and the touching stories he heard while participating in the ten-day, 2,600 mile “Run for the Wall” motorcycle ride to honor military families. It will be a fascinating presentation.
National Geographic writer and explorer Dan Buettner identified five “longevity hotspots” in the world where the inhabitants live much longer than expected. By investigating the lifestyles of the inhabitants of these Blue Zones, nine lessons have been identified to help us all live longer, healthier, and happier lives.
The first is to “Move Naturally” which I described last week. The second lesson is to have a “Purpose” – your reason for waking up in the morning. There is evidence that knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.
Sometime early next year the local Blue Zones Project with be conducting Purpose Workshops. Each workshop is a two-hour facilitated process to identify your gifts, talents, passions, and personal values to help you live a more fulfilled and intentional life with purpose. Until then, what are your reasons for getting out of bed on a cold autumn morning – besides a hot breakfast!
The player who was nicknamed “Mr. October” because of his baseball heroics in October (as when he hit three consecutive home runs in the clinching game six of the 1977 World Series) was Reggie Jackson. (I received correct answers from baseball aficionados Don McAllister, Jerry Philips, Jesse Birge, Jim Ayers, and this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket, Vince Zanobelli.)
This television series ran from 1964 through 1968 and led the spy-fiction craze on television. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the television spy series that involved the two-man team of Napoleon Solo and the Russian Illya Kuryakin working for multi-national secret intelligence agency? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a copy of the show’s pilot originally titled Ian Fleming’s Solo.
Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the cycle of the seasons. Until we meet again, don’t let the blues be the only color in your life.

“One is never wounded by the love one gives; only by the love one expects.” Marty Rubin

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