Eh? What’d Ya Say, Honey?

We are currently in the throes of purchasing hearing aids for my wife.  On the face of it, this might not seem like much of a chore—after all, how hard can it be?  Find a pair that works, plug ’em in, and, voilà—better hearing!  Sorry, Charlie, it doesn’t work that way.  If you think buying a washing machine or dishwasher is tough, try wading into the hearing aid waters without a life preserver.

HuhWhatIt all started when Becky began to require closed captioning while watching her favorite TV shows in order to understand the dialogue.  She didn’t mind it at all.  I hated it. For one thing, whoever is in charge of putting those annoying sub-titles up there on the screen always seems to delight in putting them in front of the face of the character who is speaking.  For another (and this is a real pet peeve of mine), the sub-titles tend to run just a beat behind the spoken word, making it all but impossible to do anything but focus on the printed ones.   But I digress.

After a hearing test provided by our highly recommended audiologist, we were informed that Becky’s hearing loss was minimal overall, and moderate in the high-frequency range. She also suffers from tinnitus, a common condition in seniors that causes a constant noise, or “ringing” in the ears.  Becky describes hers as a screech.  I describe mine as . . . well, we won’t go there.  Regardless of the tenor of the sound, it is constant, and it is pure torture to those it affects.  Okay, so we now had a diagnosis.  What could we do to fix the problem? Amazingly, it could be remedied quite easily by merely expending a fixed amount of money—one equal to the National Debt.  Okay, it just seemed that way when I heard it presented.  Hearing aids are not cheap (the average cost for a pair is $4,000 or more).

XYZThe audiologist recommended a particular brand and model, and said that we could try them for free with no obligation—once we had put down a fifty percent deposit (fully refundable, of course).  That’s when things got tough.  I’m a man.  As a man, I am tasked with doing any and all research on any purchase over fifty dollars.  For the next week or so, I spent an average of three hours per day crawling all over the Internet in search of the perfect hearing aids.  I wasn’t just looking for something less expensive; I wanted some real information and some choices.  The problem was  that there was an over-abundance of both.  There was so much information and there were so many choices, I would have needed a main-frame computer to sift through it all.

Eventually, we tried a huge, national conglomerate, but only became more and more confused.  It was like trying to hold smoke in my hands.  It couldn’t be done.  Who was I dealing with?  Were they manufacturers’ representatives, or were they commission salesmen?  Did we buy the hearing aid from them, and have it serviced by someone else? Or did they do the actual servicing?  I couldn’t get a straight answer.  Finally, after all my hard work, we decided to shelve the investigative results and do what we probably should have done in the first place—have my wife fitted for the hearing aids originally proposed by our friendly, and highly recommended audiologist.   We have an appointment for the first week in January, and Becky should be enjoying better hearing shortly thereafter—I hope.  Stay tuned for the results.


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To learn more about me, my Matt Davis mystery series, and my other books, check out my website at: www.joeperronejr.com.

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About AuthorJoePerroneJr

I am a former professional fly-fishing guide, and I write the Matt Davis Mystery Series, which presently consists of four books: As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day, Twice Bitten, and Broken Promises. The series is set in the real town of Roscoe, NY, in the Catskill Mountains, where I guided for ten years. I love fly fishing, movies, cooking (and eating), and music. To learn more about me and my writing, please visit my website at: http://www.joeperronejr.com.
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15 Responses to Eh? What’d Ya Say, Honey?

  1. Great blog. Thanks for writing it and I love, love the humor sprinkled within it . . . indeed many consumers are out on their own, or so it may seem. Yet the Hearing Loss Association of America has offered solid hearing aid purchase advice for years â Google their Fact Sheet for Purchasing a Hearing Aid.

    Your readers might also like the articles written by well-known audiologist Dr. Cynthia Compton Conley’s http://www.hearingloss.org/site/default/files/docs/HLM_JulAug2015_Compton-Conley.pdf. Several of her practical blogs on dealing with hearing loss and how to go about finding a good hearing aid provider (written for federal retirees) see http://fedretire.net/author/cynthia-conley-compton/ or visit her website: http://www.soundstrategy.com.

    Hearing aids do not restore hearing to normal (like eyeglasses do for most typical vision problems) and if your needs are very specific (like hearing on the phone, or in church, lectures or on the job) carefully review all hearing aid options and make sure you have a telecoil option in the instruments (or remote control or streamer). This telecoil is an older/proven analog technology that can make all the difference in places where hearing aids are unable to deliver due to distance, background noise or reverberation.

    Some hearing care professionals (brainwashed by the hearing aid manufacturers – where they obtain many free continuing credits) will pooh-pooh this telecoil – be sure ask for a demonstration in an office hearing loop before you forego one. While many model hearing aids come standard with this small low or no-cost telecoil it can usually NOT be added at a later time. To hear the difference a hearing loop can make in a reverberant situation listen to this YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3XoVrUjfaY.

    Readers are referred to the hearing loop website from Dr. David Myers – a professor of psychology turned consumer advocate due to his own hearing loss.

    Juliette Sterkens, AuD – audiologist and consumer advocate

    Liked by 1 person

  2. KiM says:

    I have the other side of the coin… everything is too darn loud! I’ve heard people w. migraines can have sensitive hearing but it can’t be hereditary because my mom is a reluctant hearing aid wearer. We do CC anytime we can but I blame part of the TV on the darn back ground noise being so loud to hear the words. We turned the choice on to keep commercials from blaring but our new TV has to be much louder than our last one to hear the words. I’m a spreadsheet junkie so I can imagine what I’d have when/if that times comes for us. In the meantime I’m hoping the vitamin B12 I’ve started back up will make the #$^& tinnitus in my left ear STOP. Good luck to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Becky and I have the same test profile. The ringing never stops but I do not focus on it. If I did I would go nuts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. balroop2013 says:

    Hi Joe,

    I am amused and amazed how you can talk about hearing aids in such a witty and interesting manner! I enjoyed reading it.
    What immediately came to my mind was the face of my mom, who got the hearing aids after much arguments but refuses to wear them, probably because they are more of a discomfort for her. We fail to understand what noise she hears but she complains that she doesn’t like the sound, which they produce.
    I hope Becky likes them. I guess one has to get used to an alien part attached to the ear.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Balroop. It’s ironic that here I am at age 70, and I am back to writing the way I used to when I was in my 20s and 30s. My favorite style of writing was always tongue-in-cheek, and a blog is the perfect genre for that style. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and I promise to let everyone know how the Great Hearing Aid Escapade turns out. Have a very Merry Christmas! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Allie P. says:

    My husband hates closed captioning / subtitles for the same reasons you mention which means if I want to see a foreign film, I am watching it on my own. Hope the hearing aids work wonders for Becky.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey, Becky – if it isn’t one thing, it’s another – right? LOL I’m looking forward to the next post for the results.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Becky says:

    What?

    Seriously — Thanks for taking all the time to help me, honey. My only problem now is that I can ‘t remember what you helped me with…

    Liked by 3 people

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