I find myself unsure of what I’ve said on here before, but I know that I’ve mentioned Husband’s hearing issues. He’s got 60% hearing loss in both ears, which is known as hard of hearing but not deaf. He reads lips, can’t do ASL, demands closed captioning, and will pretend to understand more often than ask for a repeat when we’re in public.
Since I’ve known him he’s been using a very expensive set of hearing aids that were molded to fit inside his ear. Then last year sometime he lost one, and he’s been hobbling along without it for awhile. It’s been okay because his old job was so noisy inside the warehouse, that it didn’t matter if he had his hearing aids or not. But his new job is in a quiet cubicle office, so it makes quite a difference now. Plus his last standing hearing aid is starting to falter on him, so he’s itching to get a new pair.
The issue, as always, is the price tag. $3,000 for the pair he had, so we’re definitely not in a place to get the same kind again. He was fiddling around online the other night trying to find a better price, and we began a discussion of something I didn’t even think of.
He was looking at something similar to this, with a decent price tag, and I said I thought they were fine. Then he showed me the video advertising them. It could’ve been filmed at a retirement home, if you get my drift. And I suppose that is the natural person one thinks of when it comes to being hard of hearing. I looked it up later that night, and statistics show that a majority of people who purchase hearing aids are 65 and older.
Anyway, Husband was concerned about getting a pair like this. He didn’t know if it would look professional, if it would look weird that someone his age, so young, had showing hearing aids. I was kind of marveled about the actual worry in his voice. I have never thought anything about Husband having hearing aids, but my sister has a significant hearing loss in her left ear, so I’ve grown up with it. We talked about how people at work already knew that he had hearing aids and hearing issues, that they would really help him out (some people talk too low for him to hear them at work). He admitted to me that he’d been bullied as a kid about his hearing aids, and had been self conscious about them ever since, hence the uber expensive hide-in-the-ear pair.
It was one of those conversations where you realize you don’t know everything about your partner, because I definitely did not know that Husband had such issues with hearing aids. I thought he was just really stubborn and manly about pretending he could hear, not self conscious. When we went to see the latest Batman movie, I told him he should go to the service counter and get headphones, because Christian Bale talks super low and I can barely understand him, let alone Husband. He really balked until I reminded him about how much he lost out on with Avengers because of RDJ’s fast talking quips. I realize now he probably felt embarrassed to have to ask for and wear them.
But it worked out great for him, and he was able to hear everything. Plus I didn’t have him leaning over and asking, ‘Wait, what he’d say?’. And none of the dozen people in the theater with us seemed to care (and most likely didn’t). I think, like a lot of insecurities we have about ourselves, his issue with his hearing is really internal.
We went to the zoo today and saw an elderly gentleman with his wife, and he had hearing aids like the ones above. Husband almost triumphantly pointed him out to me, ‘Look! It’s like only for the elderly!’ I gestured to the crowds and retorted, ‘And who seems to notice that he has them in?’ I also got the final say later when we saw a hipster crossing the street in front of our car sporting – yep, you guessed it – the exact same pair of hearing aids.
I think hearing loss is one of those ‘hidden afflictions’. A lot of people don’t know Husband has a hearing problem because his hearing aids tuck into his ears so well, or he doesn’t wear them and gets by with lip reading. I think Husband builds it up in his head as a BIG problem, when to me it’s just like wearing glasses. But I try to be understanding because I don’t know what it’s like to have a ‘real’ disability that requires extra attention at times. Currently we’re saving up so we can buy a nice $600 pair that yes, will be exposed around his ears. He’s making the ultra sacrifice and (gasp!) selling one of his bikes so they can get here sooner.
I hate ending posts, so … the end.