201611.15
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My Parents Need Hearing Aids!

It is not unusual to hear people in their early twenties complain about how deaf their parents appear. Typically, this has more to do with speaking too fast or over-using slang words to tell a story. When a parent asks "what?" more than ten times, sometimes their child assumes he or she needs help hearing –  when really, they are just using terms the parents aren’t familiar with. However, if slang and word usage isn’t the problem, the constant "what?" is a more serious concern.

Now that I am in my late thirties, my father and I look back on the times when he did not understand me with a bit of humor. Even better, we can look forward with a bit more understanding, because he finally took my advice and got a hearing aid. One day, I was on the phone with my father and he asked "what?" twice before he said "hold on a second. I need to turn up my hearing aid." I almost dropped my phone! "What?" I asked.

My father jumped right back to the conversation with a snappy response, "Do you need a hearing aid now?" He joked. Apparently, he heard me.

As I sat on the other end dumbfounded, I asked the all-important question: what made him finally change his mind? I was hoping it was related to my constant good-natured teasing about his inability to hear. However, really, that was a minimal factor. He often dismissed it as typical teasing between parent and adult child, much like he’d often tease his own parents. The truth is, his quality of life was decreasing more and more, and he began to take notice. He could no longer watch television without it being loud enough to be heard across the street. He could no longer talk on the telephone without it on speaker. He could no longer enjoy a quiet conversation with anyone, including his wife. Moreover, while hearing me was important, I live over 300 miles away. I am not a constant part of his daily routine. When his daily routine began to suffer, that’s when he began to notice.

Now, my father has never been fashion conscious. Here is a man that, in his 30s, would go to the beach in knee high socks, sandals, and blue stuff on his nose. A real lady killer! Yet, knowing he needed a hearing aid scared him more than anything. He was worried about it making him look old! Did I mention the knee-high socks with sandals? Yet the hearing aid was going to make him look old! That's when my father finally asked for my advice. I mentioned that he needed to talk with his audiologist, but I happened to know there are some hearing aids that fit right in your ear so that no one can see them. They are less conspicuous than a Bluetooth headset, which my father wore at every turn. Some aids even have Bluetooth technology in the aid itself, so they could connect to a phone instantly. Being big on tech, my dad jumped right at that idea.

Today, my father brags about his hearing aid and how small it is. He tells me that he can hear everything and does not understand why he did not get one sooner. And, now I can never ask "what?" during a conversation! Otherwise, he begins to suggest the type of hearing aid he has and how much I would love it!

If you have parents or any loved one in need of a hearing aid, calm their fears and call Chears Audiology at (952) 767-0672.

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