Do You Hear What I Hear?

The first time my husband received a cross-over hearing aid, he was astonished when we stepped outside the doctor’s office. “Do you hear that,” he asks? “What?” I asked. “The wind,” he said. “I can hear the sound of the wind.”

Most people take hearing for granted until they lose it. My husband is deaf in his left ear due to a severe injury he sustained as a child. He lost much of the hearing in his right ear when he served in Viet Nam.

A crossover hearing aid on your deaf ear is like an ordinary behind-the-ear hearing aid. It picks up sound from The first time my husband received a cross-over hearing aid, he was astonished when we stepped outside the doctor's office. your surroundings and transmits it over to a hearing aid on your other ear.

I have many friends who have hearing loss; some wear hearing aids, and some refuse or live in denial that they need one.

Think about all the sounds in your life; birds singing in the morning, a child laughing, a friend chatting, or a great song on the radio – it is this symphony of sounds makes life more abundant.

Having hearing loss tends to isolate people from others. For example, when you struggle to converse, you’re less likely to want to socialize in groups or go out to restaurants.

My neighbor told me she doesn’t like to be in big groups because she can’t hear much and often feels left out of the conversations.

There is a pattern when people begin to lose their hearing. First, they strain to hear, then pretend to listen, often answering all the questions wrong.

Then they try to be a part of the social group just with their presence, but usually, give up and withdraw or retreat to themselves.

Thus begins their social isolation, which can lead to cognitive decline and dementia, according to an Otolaryngologist and Epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Dr. Lin theorizes that two causal factors prevail. Like many Alzheimer’s experts, he pinpoints social isolation as one. “When you can’t hear the person across from you, you won’t be engaged in conversation,” says Dr. Lin. This social withdrawal leads to loneliness, which many studies have shown increases dementia risk.

Another cause may be cognitive overload, he says. “When the brain expends so much energy trying to decipher garbled words, it diminishes other cognitive functions.” But, of course, this does not mean that everyone who has a hearing problem develops dementia.

Hearing aids don’t always solve the problems, especially when they don’t work correctly or batteries give out in the middle of a conversation. Sometimes the hearing aid picks up all the sounds in the room, which can be frustrating. Here are some tips that can help communicate with someone who has hearing loss.

  • Get their attention.
  • Speak loud and clear. It is natural for our grandchildren to use their “papa voice” when they sense that he is not hearing them. Having a grandparent who doesn’t hear well has taught our grandchildren to be sensitive to others who have hearing problems.
  • Reduce background noise if possible. For example, I use my phone to voice text in noisy restaurants. I speak into the phone, turning my voice into words that my husband can read. It works great.
  • Make eye contact, and don’t cover your mouth with your hands?many people who don’t hear lip-read well.
  • Repeat or rephrase your words if necessary
  • Be patient. The thing about hearing loss is that no one can see it. People who have hearing problems are often misunderstood, considered rude, or short-witted.

When someone in the family has a hearing loss, the family has a hearing problem. (Mark Ross, Ph.D.)

Hearing loss can cause a strain between couples because the conversation is supposed to be a two-way process?the one who can’t hear talks, but can’t always hear the replies of his partner. Couples can lose Intimacy when they can’t talk to each other.

My husband lets me know when he is having a difficult time hearing. He says I cannot hear well today, so you must speak closely into my ear. Every time we talk like this, he holds me close to speak in his ear. Even if I am upset about something, this holding me keeps me feeling close to him.

There are many excellent hearing devices available now. My husband has tried them all. Even the ones you buy at your local drug store can help.

He has a Bluetooth hearing aid now. It is the best the Veterans Administration has to offer. I have a microphone I put on my jacket, or he can lay the receiver on the pulpit at church so he can hear our pastor. It automatically connects to the cell phone and the TV when he walks into the room.

However, sometimes it doesn’t work with his chronic ear infections, and he is left in total silence. Helen Keller said blindness separates us from things; deafness separates us from people.

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Deana Landers
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I have had many roles in life
Pastor’s Wife , Mom/Nana , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer , Christian Speaker
I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing stories, either in my head or in my journal.

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