Human nature makes us analyze and question decisions that we make. We go through all the pro’s and con’s. We try to determine if we are making the right choices. This week has been an interesting one. We have tested and fit hearing instruments on several patients, all who were in their 50’s. While we fit all age groups from kids up, it was interesting to have so many in the same week in their 50’s seeking advice and help.

Hearing devices no longer have the stigma that they used to. They are no longer seen as a sign of getting old. Uncorrected hearing loss can make you seem unconnected. Some people may think someone who can’t hear is ignorant, rude or even stupid. Often, people who can’t hear or understand will interrupt people or answer inappropriately. This can be embarrassing for all involved.

Many people wait until their hearing is so very bad. They wait until their spouses or kids are ready to kill them. They don’t want to spend the money. They do not view the aids as an investment. The younger generations have somewhat of a different mindset. The longer you wait, the harder it is for the brain to adapt.

So this week, all of these patients in their 50’s all had the same concern ... “were they ready?”

Even though I had tested a couple of these patients before (several years earlier, and their loss was not significant enough to warrant amplification) here we are with updated hearing evaluations and increased difficulty.

Even though they were turning up the TV more, and admittedly still not understanding, human nature makes us wonder, ”should I.” Even though, when they were in a group and they answered the wrong way, they wonder and ask, “Do you think I am ready?” Even though their employer suggested that they might have a hearing problem and seems to have been missing LOTS... They asked... “Do you think it’s bad enough?” Even as we put hearing instruments on them so that they can hear speech and sounds at normal levels, we get “hmmm ... didn’t think I was really that bad.”

After having hearing instruments on for an hour and then taking them off to learn how to clean and charge them, one man said, “Wow, I must be deaf. It sounds dead in here. How do I put this back on?!” He then went on to tell me he really just wanted to see if he had changed that much since his test three years ago. He knew it was time, but he was only 56. He seemed bummed. He may have even sulked a little, I wasn’t quite sure. Then he just said, “I have been trying to figure out if I should spend the money.” I asked him what was stopping him; what are his pro’s and con’s. His first and really only answer shocked both of us, I think. This person who didn’t really want to admit that his hearing was causing him hardship since his last hearing test said, “I would hear better and that would make my wife happy.” I asked him if that would make him happy. He just smiled and said, “Oh yea, I love my wife.” When I asked him what “con” had he put on his list, he said that he was just so busy he didn’t have time for appointments and tune-ups. I’ve got to admit that I don’t hear that one very often. I showed him how remote programming and telehealth works in our office and that was all it took.

Funny. You never really know what holds a person back. What really motivates them. All of my patients who were in their 50’s purchased hearing instruments this week. It was quite remarkable. At the end of the day they were very excited with the Bluetooth technology and remote programming. More importantly, one said it best, “I can’t believe everything sounds so clear and so natural.”

If you are having any type of communication difficulties then I urge you to get a complete hearing evaluation. Many things can cause hearing loss and speech understanding issues, like wax in the ear or fluid in your middle ear or an ear infection, just to name a few. Get checked out. Know where you stand. You really will know when the time is right. 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.