What Goes Around

There are times when we become our parents.   Like if the house is too chilly and you end up putting on a sweater instead of messing with the thermostat?  Right, stuff like that.  When my mother became a woman of a certain age and her hearing aids started squeaking whenever I hugged her, I pretty much decided that hearing aids were not for me—EVER!

But God has a sense of humor, and He pays attention when people say stupid stuff.

Time passed, years passed.  Shortly before my parents moved into assisted living, her hearing aids went missing, twice.  Once they were found hiding in the vegetable bin of the fridge and the second time they turned up in a frying pan.  When my mother was cutting up Jimmy Dean sausage links to put in the freezer for handy breakfast making later, she evidently put her hearing aids down on the kitchen counter and dropped them into the baggie right along with the sausage slices.  The problem is, several weeks elapsed between the time the hearing aids went missing and the time they reappeared.  I remember asking my mother why she didn’t get a replacement.  Guess what?  At the time I had NO idea how expensive hearing aids were—$3500 a pop—which must have been a staggering expense to people living on somewhat limited means.  Fortunately her hearing aids came out of the frying pan prior to being cooked, and they worked just fine for as long as she needed them.

And then more time passed.  I noticed that the dialogue on television shows was becoming more and more incomprehensible.  Why did all those people mumble so much?  Why did BILL mumble so much?  Why was I always saying WHAT?  And when he had the temerity to suggest that perhaps, maybe, it might be a good idea to have my hearing tested … That went over like a pregnant pole-vaulter!

And then came a fateful dinner in Tucson, Arizona where we were joined by our daughter and son-in-law and his parents.  It was a noisy Mexican restaurant with lots of hard surfaces and lots of noise.  At some point I heard Jon’s father say something about “camels in Virginia.”  Taken aback, I said, “They have camels in Virginia?”  He looked at me as though I had recently arrived from another planet and said, very plainly, “I LEFT MY CAMERA IN VIRGINIA!”  I started wearing hearing aids shortly thereafter, squeak and all.

I keep my hearing aids on the side table next to my chair in the family room.  Shortly after Jojo, our long-haired dachshund, came to us as a puppy, I went into the bathroom to shower.  When I came out a few minutes later, one of my hearing aids—the $3500 kind—was in pieces on the floor.  When we went to the hearing aid place, they told us it was still covered under the loss waiver so the replacement cost $700 instead of the full meal deal.  We counted ourselves lucky, and I began storing my hearing aids in a glasses case still on the same old side table.

And that worked just fine, up until Saturday morning of this past week.  That day, when I opened the glasses case there was only one hearing aid—the left one.  The right one had gone AWOL.  I suspect that the stabilizing wire got caught on the sleeve of my sweater and landed outside the box.  We searched diligently: removed all the cushions from my chair; moved all furniture; searched up and down the hallway; looked everywhere I had walked.  Nothing.  No sign of it.

Naturally this was Saturday morning before Labor Day and three days before the start of a book tour.  I had just read an ad in my Guideposts about a $200 hearing aid that can be recharged with a USB port.  Knowing I couldn’t get into my regular hearing aid place before Tuesday, I called and ordered one.  It arrived by mail last night—Wednesday.  It’s a little clunky—larger than the high-priced model, but it works.

I ordered the replacement on Saturday morning.  On Sunday afternoon, the missing hearing aid magically reappeared in the family room, next to Jojo’s food dish.  We had searched every inch of that room, so she must have hidden it away somewhere in the meantime.  It was slightly crunched—make that thoroughly crunched—but miracle of miracles it still works, more or less.  It’s a little glitchy at times, making me glad to have a pair and a spare.

I only wish there had been a two-hundred dollar replacement option for my mother back when she could have used one.

28 thoughts on “What Goes Around

  1. Good story. Deafness runs in my mother’s family and it has caught up with me. I think in her case she had selective hearing. She heard what she wanted to hear. When one of us kids (there were five) tried to sneak a treat out of the fridge she’d hear it even tho she was supposed to be sleeping. I’ve put off being tested since I can still listen to music. Someday I’ll have to give in.

    I’m glad your dog didn’t eat the hearing aid. That would have been interesting.

  2. I have profound hearing loss due to meningitis at age 6. My first hearing aid in 1951 was a loaner from the University Of Wisconsin Milwaukee to see if it would help. in 1953 I got Zenith’s first transistor aid at a whopping cost of $128. Since then I have had a series of 12 or 13 aids. Each generation is better than the last. Squealing is gone, having been digitally eliminated. Directional mikes work well in crowds. Price? Well that’s something else. Hearing aids are expensive because they CAN. I now have the top of the line from Costco and with a bluetooth capability it cost $1600, the most I have ever paid for one.For the first time in my life, I can use the phone! For anyone getting their first one, remember, it is and AID. Not new hearing.

  3. I have the same symptoms but presently am unable to purchase hearing aids. I find it interesting that the three things needed by older people, hearing aids, teeth, and glasses are not covered by Medicare. I just ask my family and friends to talk louder and be patient with my “whats”. ?

  4. I have the same symptoms but presently am unable to purchase hearing aids. I find it interesting that the three things needed by older people, hearing aids, teeth, and glasses are not covered by Medicare. I just ask my family and friends to talk louder and be patient with my “whats”. ?

  5. Oh my goodness, I can tell the same, slightly different, identical story. Make our culprit a miniature Schnauzer. Twice. I now wear only one hearing because of the expense without insurance. Replaced one, but then insurance expired. Love our dogs don’t we.

  6. My husband is careful to put his hearing aids in a little tin box that used to hold mints. He washed it out and lined it with a paper towel. We have three curious cats. Need I say more?

  7. I refuse to believe that the price of hearing aids is nothing but a big scam.

    I stopped caring about my mother’s hearing when she constantly lost her hearing aids. If she didn’t care, I saw no reason I should care.

  8. Becoming my mother has been a real journey. I fought the battle and of course lost.
    My husband and I have been married 47 years , we have more arguments now because of hearing than at any time in our marriage. LOL the word WHAT! has become as busy as THANK you. Retirement has brought such surprises some we were good some not so good. Have a grand week. ..Jan

  9. Becoming my mother has been a real journey. I fought the battle and of course lost.
    My husband and I have been married 47 years , we have more arguments now because of hearing than at any time in our marriage. LOL the word WHAT! has become as busy as THANK you. Retirement has brought such surprises some we were good some not .I think the cost should be covered as it would save lives and marriages. Lol ..have a great week .. Jan

  10. About a year ago my daughter-in-law had taken me for a doctor’s appointment. He was a young doctor with an accent. We were discussing my care, or something, when he said, apparently, “I think you need a hearing test”. I held up my hand with my fingers indicating a little bottle, you know, the kind they give you to pee in, saying “I thought I already had that test”. He said “I THINK YOU NEED A HEARING TEST!” Ahh! We barely made it out of there before we exploded into laughter! Yes, I had the test, yes, my hearing is bad, and no, I can’t afford the hearing aids.

    • You made me laugh really hard, until I saw the part about not being able to afford them. Sorry. Hope you’ve done some checking in the how to get help by now. There must be a way. I hope you find it!

  11. Small tips for those speaking to people that are hard of hearing.
    Look at the person you are talking to and talk clearly.
    The person that has hard to hear, has a better possibility to hear AND to read from the lips.

    • I hope so too, because people really mumble! I could get them for a monthly fee of over $100.00 Cdn. I haven’t decided. I can say “eh?” a lot for $100.00!

  12. I thoroughly love reading your thoughts and memories. Thanks too for the subtle reminders to us older folk, including this week’s, that it is perfectly OK to need hearing aids ?. I do not consider myself an “older folk” most of the time, but I am I guess, at 70. When I get them, you have probably saved me some money, as I will be very sure to keep them safe!

  13. So glad your missing aid turned up…..I have been lucky with mine so far (10+ years}. No one has mentioned an electronic drying device for overnight shortage, which I highly recommend to anyone living in a humid climate (e.g. not Arizona!) – sound quality is much better with really dry aids and they are relatively inexpensive, unlike the aids themselves!


  14. My husband tricked me into getting a hearing test and I agreed as long as he would also get tested. After I got my hearing aids, he didn’ t get tested and I can still hear him say “What?” Turns out I was 35% deaf but my husband still mumbles. I just can’t win.
    Glad you are dealing with yours

  15. Costco sells state of the arts hearing aids. Their brand is Kirkland and they sell for $1700 per pair. They are now the largest hearing aid dispenser in the US. Check them out.

  16. My friend’s husband had his hearing checked – he never heard anything she said. At the end of it, the dr told him he had a LISTENING problem, not a hearing problem!

  17. I enjoyed this blog! You have a witty way of turning something frustrating into smiles and giggles. As others have mentioned, Costco has great prices and you don’t need their membership to use this service. FYI: If anyone happens to have VSP vision insurance, you automatically now get TruHearing with the plan at no additional cost. It’s a great package.

  18. Boy oh boy you hit the nail on the head, I do think we have all had incidents like this.there so small and getting smaller. I can laugh now but not them.

  19. I love this story. As time goes on I find myself acting more and more like Mom. And I laugh when my daughter says something that sounds like me. That was my favorite part of the story. In my family we call it the chicken theory. Big chickens have little chickens.

  20. My DH and I have good laughs about what each of us thinks the other says. He worked with power tools his whole life and is also a bonafide mumbler. He thinks I can hear what he actually mumbles. Problem being I never know if he is mumbling, in general, or actually speaking to me. Sometimes selective hearing is a good thing.

  21. I work at Costco. Please let your readers know that they are 2/3 less for top of the line.
    Eye glasses are also at a large discount. I hate to see people on a fixed income that don’t know about Costco. As well as everyone else. It more than pays for the membership.

  22. Have a cochlear implant, well worth it. For those of you saying you can’t afford it, can you afford not to? Talking to people who say what all the time (or worse, having to shout at them) is very tiring and you start to avoid conversations with such. I know about it from both sides of the problem. There are resources for those on a fixed income and it is worth checking out AND worth going back for a refit & trying out different aids. One size does not fit all in this case. People who are not communicating well tend to start to have more and more brain lapses, because they are cut off from the stimulation of the outside world.

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