Photo by Mark Paton on Unsplash
When I met my husband, it didn’t take me long to realize that he had some challenges with hearing. I would say he didn’t notice, but he has one ear that is better than the other and when he was trying to listen closely, he definitely would turn that ear nearer.
I don’t know how long he had been missing a lot of dialogue and sounds, but considering he had been playing loud music in different rock bands since he was a teen and attended countless loud rock concerts, had served in the military, piloted planes and never in any of these endeavors worn ear protection, it was inevitable that he would suffer hearing loss by his late 40s.
When I came into the picture, I yelled a lot and repeated things to him when we were at parties or in conversation with friends and during TV time. I became his default ears, but I started to worry. I wanted to make sure he wasn’t missing any important information for work and other situations so I gingerly brought up the idea of maybe getting him a hearing aid.
Photo by Mark Paton on Unsplash
He eventually agreed and we went to this hearing aid center in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. The audiologist talked to us both and then brought out this machine that looked like it was from the 1960’s. I am not kidding you, this machine was as large as a suitcase, had buttons and knobs and was completely analog. As he checked Mitch’s hearing, it reminded me of someone trying to open a safe using touch and intuition. I think we both had doubts. Mitch told me after the appointment that his mom, who was a school nurse, had the EXACT same machine with those giant head phones. When she would bring it home, he and his sister played with it. So, that didn’t exactly give us confidence considering it was 2013.
So, we learned you have to wear two hearing aids to balance the sound and he would have to have one in each ear. The man took some kind of measurement of his ears by inserting cold, wet wax in his ear to get a mold from which to make a custom hearing aid. And in about a week, Mitch had new REALLY EXPENSIVE ears. And I do mean expensive. My first two cars did not total the cost of these new ears.
I can’t imagine what it is like to have foreign objects in your ears which run on batteries and send out high pitch squeals when dying, but he did seem to be hearing better, so I was happy.
He wore those for a while, but you could tell, he really didn’t like them and he started wearing them less and less. I started yelling more and more and would say PUT YOUR EARS IN.
Photo by Omar Abascal on Unsplash
At some point he looked into something more 21st century and found the hearing aid center at Costco. Now THIS was a modern fix for a common problem and they had some smaller and really cool hearing aids that he could adjust with his smartphone and these worked MUCH better. There is an APP for EVERYTHING.
Mitch was definitely hearing better; I was less frustrated and things were good. The only real concern was battery life. His ears sound an alarm really loudly then stop working when the batteries need replaced and after the first one dies, the second usually goes within an hour of the other and it is ALWAYS at the most inopportune moments of course. I carry batteries in my purse for quick changes.
Then COVID-19 hit and we had to wear masks all the time.
Photo by Alin Luna on Unsplash
A few months into lockdown, one of our dogs had to go to the emergency vet. We were not allowed to go inside so had to wait in the parking lot. It was taking a long time so I left and picked up some Burger King and we ate in the grass sitting on a dog blanket.
When Bandit finally came out and we saw he was going to live, we were so relieved and took him home.
Sometime later Mitch noticed his hearing aids were gone. Oh no. We took the masks off and on during the vet visit with the doctor and nurses coming out for consultations and when he whipped off the mask during one of those times, they must have caught on the mask and went flying away. Mitch jumped in his truck and went back to look. It was getting dark by now.
An hour later he came home without those hearing aids.
Those little guys cost thousands of dollars. I was going to find them. I took the flashlight, got in my JEEP and drove back to the vet office.
An hour later I came home with two hearing aids.
Since I have met Mitch, he also needed new eyes. He has these gas permeable hard contact lenses to correct a cornea issue that Lasik surgery decades ago caused. It is AMAZING what technology has done for artificial devices to help us humans be whole or at least better as we age and our parts wear out. He has this “claw” type of device to insert them and remove them and that is a whole other story about what happened when he left the claw back home while we were travelling.
I have a bionic husband. Besides the eyes and ears, all his parts are original but trust me, if he needs a new knee or hip or whatever, I will chirp in those bionic ears to make it happen. I want him in good condition to run with me, see me, hear me and love me!
In the meantime, if any of your loved ones are having a hard time hearing you, if it is a male, first off speak in DEEP tones as the high-pitched sounds have been documented as passing right on by men’s ears. This is the TRUTH. Google it! If speaking in a lower register doesn’t get through, take him to Costco! It worked for us anyway. #canyouhearmenow #hearingaidswork #bionichusband