I’m working on a book called The Muffled Echo: The Silent Health Issue Facing Baby Boomers: Hearing Loss. I became motivated to write this book because I am with a man who is deaf and we are Baby Boomers. I post short selection below and I’d love to hear your comments. I hope you enjoy it.
Recently your family has been telling you that you say “what” all the time. Really? You hadn’t noticed. Last week you went to a cocktail party or some other event where a large group of people is standing, sipping, and chatting away, only – you got maybe, MAYBE, a quarter of what was said. So instead, you smiled a lot, nodded a lot, and hoped you didn’t smile if someone was talking about their dog that just died. Ah, yes, and then there’s the television at home. Do you find that when someone else comes in to watch it, they complain about how loud it is? Do you then try to turn it down, only to become frustrated because you can’t get everything that’s going on? And here’s another one, do you have trouble hearing when you don’t have your glasses on? (This is really for near-sighted folks). People laugh at me when I say, “Hold on, let me put my glasses on so I can hear you.” My theory on this one is that I’m doing a lot of lip reading without even realizing it.
Signals of Possible Hearing Loss
Clearly our Boomer ears are not what they were back at Woodstock or at a Doobie Brothers concert. That doesn’t mean we need suffer in silence, so to speak. The Hearing Loss Association of America presents the following as signs of possible hearing loss. You:
- Ask people to repeat things – a lot
- Can’t hear what people in another room are saying to you anymore
- Get that someone is talking, but not what they are saying
- Feel like everyone (except you, of course) is mumbling
- Really have trouble hearing when there is other noise around
- Crank up the volume on your television
- Can hear some people fine, but have trouble with softer voices
- Find you’re always turning to one side to hear things
- Need to see the speaker’s face to really get what’s being said
- Move closer to things or people you want to hear
- Become frazzled and stressed when you’re in a situation where people are gathered
- Become exhausted after spending time listening – it’s hard work!
- Misunderstand things and sometimes respond inappropriately
All of these are things that YOU notice about your hearing. How about what other people notice? Do people tell you …
- You don’t turn around when there’s a loud noise or when you’re called
- You turn the television on too loud
- You talk “too” loudly
- Your speech is changing
Spend time pondering all these signals and clues and make an appointment with your doctor and ask him/her to arrange for you to get a hearing test. Actually, everyone should start getting screened for hearing loss once they reach the age of 50.