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The Eye Opening Joy of Hearing

George can’t hear worth a flying fig, so I embarked upon a program to interest him in audio enhancement. 

The first step: ask him to get an audiologist referral from his doctor. Worked beautifully. He brought the page back to me.  

Step two was a YouTube audiologist. I don’t remember how he happened into our recommended list, but the first video was short and informative. The second was friendly and informative.  The third was interesting and informative. We were learning about hearing support together. Of course. . . I was doing this for George. 

When my mom came to visit I watched her start the day with lipstick and hearing aids. Her husband said the store where he buys everything from pancake mix to cars was the best deal  so on our next visit I steered the cart over to the hearing department and gazed into the case, like browsing the window at the jewelry store when I was hoping for an engagement ring. It was about as effective, since George was over in TVs.  

“Would you like to make an appointment?” a woman asked.  

I looked around, No one was waiting. It felt like being asked if I have a reservation when a restaurant is empty.  I said “Can I see someone now?” But the next available spot was in two weeks. I’d been hoping for instant gratification.   

When I found George in the TV section and told him I had tried to get a hearing appointment, but it would be 2 weeks, I don’t think he heard me. 

Back at my desk I called for an appointment at a different store. First available was two weeks. So I booked a Saturday morning, told George, and asked if he wanted one too. Sure. (Did you hear that? He heard me ask.) The woman said we’d start with a hearing test but first she had to look for wax. I went in the little room and learned she couldn’t do anything with me until I went somewhere to get my wax removed. Then she took George in and gave him a pair of hearing aids to wear around the store for 10 minutes. 

As we walked out to the car to bring in our shopping bags he said “I can hear everything.” Back in the store we practiced. I would speak in a soft voice from half an aisle away, he would grin and answer. In the freezer section we told jokes. By the bananas he said “I love this.” 

Because we’d been listening to the YouTube guy we knew the essential criteria was real ear measurement. Over the chicken case we agreed that if they didn’t do real ear measurement he would decline and we’d go to the audiologist the doctor had recommended.  Cart loaded we returned to the hearing department. The clinician said “How did it go?” George answered, “Fine,” (he may have been grinning) and I asked, “Do you do real ear measurement testing?”  

“No,” she replied brightly, “He doesn’t need it.” Wrong answer! Ding ding ding. Wrong answer. 

The other piece I didn’t like was the lack of options. I could see there were options, but she didn’t explain or offer any. Why not?  

Because we’d discussed over frozen chicken that he wouldn’t purchase if there weren’t real ear measurements I was surprised to see George accept the clipboard and sign the paperwork. He bought the hearing aids! He enjoyed hearing so much he was not willing to be hearless again. 

Still, he didn’t get to walk out with them, two weeks for delivery . . . so in my wisdom I persisted: real ear measurements are important, we know this from watching the YouTube, we must have real ear measures, you have two weeks to return these, do it, do it now. Meanwhile I made an appointment at the audiologist. 

And that’s how the lights came on for our ears.  Ten minutes experiencing hearing made it clear to George he wasn’t willing to live without that ability any more. 

 

Submitted by Wendy. Thank you to Wendy for contributing this writing!

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