Saturday, November 15, 2014

My whine for the day

I have a good friend who is visually challenged--okay, he's almost virtually blind. He has a service dog, a white cane, and a lovely wife who looks out for him every minute. We all look out for him, telling him when there's a table or chair in his path, guiding him to a chair, pointing out where his food is, handing him his drink. Oh, every once in a while there's a blind joke--like the time someone asked him if a certain person had curly hair and he dead-panned, "I have no idea."
I am hearing impaired, and I get lots of jokes and teasing. "You got your ears in?" "Can you hear me?" Some people speak so clearly and distinctly on the phone, they're a joy to talk to; others talk too rapidly or softly, and I find myself asking them to slow down, speak up, always apologizing that I'm "a tad hard of hearing." Tad hardly describes it. Music in church never sounds the same--my friend who cannot see also wears hearing aids, though he doesn't seem to have as much trouble as I do, but he agrees music never again will sound the same. If I'm in a room with ten friends all talking at once or in a noisy restaurant, forget it! I may get snatches of the conversation but not enough to tune in. Sometimes, people make an effort to speak clearly and distinctly...and I still don't get it. Part of hearing loss is a sort of loss of comprehension (I've read this so it's not just my senile brain)--you hear the words but they don't make sense. And then when they do suddenly make sense, you're embarrassed. I have come up with some really odd interpretations--like the other daughter said she wanted something, and I said, "You want caviar?"
Don't get me wrong. I'd a lot rather lose my hearing than my sight, and I admire my friend up one side and down the other for the way he lives his life--traveling, partying, enjoying himself. Until a couple of years ago, he worked; he still reads and works on the computer, though I not sure with what kind of enhancements.
But sometimes I wish loss of hearing wasn't treated as the joke of old age. It's a real problem for me, folks. No, I don't think it changes my life much--but it embarrasses and frustrates me.
Okay, whine over. As you were.

3 comments:

Kaye George said...

I guess mine isn't so bad, but I do have trouble if there's background noise, like in a restaurant. When I get tested, I'm told my hearing is "good for my age." Not exactly good, I think. My mother lost a lot of hearing and refused to consider hearing aids and she missed a lot because of that!

Terry Shames said...

Judy, you aren't alone. My loss isn't as great as yours, but I notice some changes.One of those losses that age hands most of us. My dear mother-in-law said, "Golden years, hell! They're the tarnished years." She made me laugh, but those of us of a certain age know there's some truth to it. We need to change those careless jokes, one person at a time. But sometimes that's all you can do, just joke about it.

Judy Alter said...

Kaye, you're lucky. I think mine began early because of a combination of hormones I was taking before they decided they were all bad for us. Terry, you're right. The lighthearted approach is best. I just had to whine once!