I don’t know if some of you do this, but I have this knack for noticing other people’s hearing aids. Last week I met a young woman in her twenties with a beige in-the-ear aid. Usually when I meet someone else wearing aids, I like to ask them about it. Not that I’m nosey, but I figure we have something in common.
So I mentioned that I noticed she was wearing an aid. Right away I could tell she felt self-conscious about it and I had made her uncomfortable. To put her at ease, I began talking about my own aids, and my hearing history. I made sure she understood that I have worn hearing aids since I was her age even though I am probably old enough to be her mother now. Then she began to open up about it, and I noticed she pinned her hair up while she was talking, as if she realized she didn’t have to hide it anymore now that her secret was out. But her final statement made me feel sad. “Look at me,” she said, “I’m in my twenties, and ALREADY wearing hearing aids!” She let out a long sigh as if that was the most depressing thing in the whole world.
Gosh I understood exactly how she felt. I remember getting my first pair of hearing aids. The audiologist gave me a pamphlet with instructions on how to take care of them. On the front cover were illustrations of people with wrinkles and gray hair. I cried all the way home. When you’re young, and at your sexiest, the last thing you want is to look like a senior citizen.
It is a fact that one out of every three people over sixty-five develops hearing loss, so most people inevitably associate diminished hearing ability with old age. Consequently most of us wait an average of seven years before seeking help from a doctor. With that in mind, I decided to make a slide show of COOL hearing aid, cochlear implants, deaf people and general hearing loss coolness.
By the way, if it stops before you’re done watching, just refresh the page.