“But I say to you who hear….” (Luke 6:27)
Every man in my family has worn hearing aids by the time he reached his mid-50s. I’m the only exception.
There is one big reason why, at the age of 72, I have never used hearing aids: “The problem is not with me.”
People don’t talk loud enough.
When I turn up the television so I can hear, my wife complains.
When I’m not looking at the person talking to me, he or she mumbles. I have to turn in their direction and ask them to repeat it.
I recall when our dad finally relented and bought hearing aids. He made jokes about the fellow who bought one without his family knowing and began to hear what they were saying around him for the first time in years. “He changed his will three times,” Pop said.
When you were talking with Dad, you had to learn first whether he was wearing the aids. If not, you could expect to have to project, to make sure he was paying attention, and sometimes to repeat what you said.
It was a burden on everyone around him.
So, not because I need one, you understand, but out of consideration for the people around me, I’m getting hearing aids.
This is being written Sunday night. My appointment with the audiologist is for 9 o’clock Monday morning. She has ordered the ones we chose and I should be walking out a half-hour later wearing them.
How different will life be from then on, I wonder.
Margaret and I saw the movie “Hitchcock” Friday evening. What struck me was how loud the previews were. So much so, in fact, that several times I wanted to put my hands over my ears. Now, imagine if I could really hear.
Those aids had better have control dials on them.
I’ve sometimes told friends around me that I miss part of what they are saying because of hearing difficulties. In March, just after arriving at the pastors/wives’ retreat at the resort below Naples, Italy, I sat at a table with several pastors and leaders of the International Baptist Convention. At one point, I said, “Guys, I need to make you aware of something. I have a hearing problem. So, sometimes when you are talking, if it seems that I’m zoned out or not following the conversation, it’s because I can’t hear.”
I added,”I am long overdue for a hearing aid.”
The youngest pastor at the table, barely in his 30s, said, “Take a look at this,” and pulled off his eyeglasses. Attached to the earpiece was his hearing aid.
“I’ve worn these for years,” he said.
Why, I wondered, am I being so reluctant about this? I’ve worn bifocals–and even trifocals!–for years, and never give it a thought. It’s just life, and I’m grateful to have glasses that do what these allow me to do.
And so, tomorrow, I get a hearing aid.
How will life change? (Maybe I’ll change my will, too, Pop.)
I promise to return here and write a paragraph or two about the difference. After all, someone else needs a hearing aid and might need the prodding.
All right. Monday morning, 10 am. 30 minutes after getting the hearing aids….
I was still in the doctor’s office, had just written my check and been handed the receipt, when it hit me how loud the paper was as I folded it for my shirt pocket.
Then, walking out of the office and down the hall to the elevators, my shoes were squeaking. I had not known they did that.
In the parking garage, as I scooted across the leather seats of the car, the sound of that was perceptible.
Other than that, nothing else so far.
We’ll see how it goes.