It’s funny how people view things differently. Someone may describe a color as charcoal gray and someone else may say it’s dark gray. People have different opinions about food. Take chicken wings for example. I once ate some wings with a group of friends; while I thought the “mild” were way too hot, one of my friends got the “blazing inferno wings” and with sweat dripping off her face, she thought they were perfect. Just a different perception.
We are probably all familiar with the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This is definitely true in the hearing aid world.
The other day I watched in my office as two people were carrying on a conversation. So I thought ... the young guy (50’s) was talking to the older guy (80’s). The older guy nodded a couple times and looked back at his magazine and briefly up at the 50-inch TV in the media/waiting room. I had come around the corner and they were my next appointment. The younger guy proceeded to tell him he thought it was a waste of time that he was getting a hearing test. He could hear him fine and indicated that if he could hear him, then he shouldn’t spend money on a hearing aid. I called the older gentleman’s name and they both came back with me. His ears were impacted with wax so after much flushing, all of the wax was removed.
After hearing the younger man earlier, I assumed that it was a son (you know what ‘assume’ means). It wasn’t; it was a visiting neighbor from up north. After the hearing test and a demo that lighted up the man’s eyes at the ability to hear again, the younger guy (who I still am assuming is the son) starts questioning the cost of hearing aids. I went over the many levels of technology and options that would work well for this gentleman.
I have learned to never judge what is important to a person. Maybe it’s their truck. Maybe it’s leaving their children well off. Maybe it’s their health. Maybe, just maybe, they get that their hearing is related to everything. That life without hearing is lonely, dark and stressful.
You can guess by this story that I may be getting just a bit disgruntled with this young man who is about my age, not letting me do my job effectively.
The older gentleman, very soft spoken, suddenly said to his negative companion. “I need to hear! You may like sitting around watching TV, OK, but I miss talking to people!” I was so proud and happy for him. And sad.
As my head wrapped around this situation I reiterated that his dad had a bad hearing loss and that correcting it would allow them to enjoy each other’s company better. That’s when the young guy exclaims that he wasn’t related and just stopped by to see him because he was in Florida. What?! (Hmm, usually I ask who is the person accompanying them).
So my perception of this situation changed about six times in the last hour. First, concerned son; second, docile dad; third, selfish son; fourth, dominant dad; fifth, crazy neighbor; and sixth, senior knowledge.
During this whole appointment as we were succumbed to the ‘visitor’ and I was trying to include him into the picture, my patient couldn’t have cared a bit that he was actually there. He never let on to that though.
It’s fun to watch and participate in situations with seniors. Their life experiences guide them so eloquently ... I just wish sometimes they would give me a heads up. I guess this kind of stuff just helps me acquire more “life experiences” too.
I can’t wait for the conversations we will have over the years to come. If you are over the age of 50, then you should get your hearing checked annually. Make sure you can hear and understand the seniors in your life. They may have something to say that you need to hear. To Hear Better Is To Live Better!
Roseann B. Kiefer, B.A., BC-HIS, is owner of Lampe and Kiefer Hearing Aid Center, Sebring. This information is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure your condition. Always talk to your doctor before following any medical advice or starting a diet or exercise program.