I did a presentation at a senior living facility last week. At the conclusion of my presentation a lady who hadn’t said anything up to that point called me to her. She was quiet and timid. She had a concern which was weighing heavily on her. I listened patiently. She stammered, paused, and made great effort to tell me that she has extreme hearing loss and needs hearing aids. She said her husband won’t let her get them because of the cost. With labored words and long pauses, she continued to tell me that not only had she lost her ability to hear, but she was losing her ability to speak.
I responded clearly and facing her. She could hear me under these thoughtful conditions. I reassured her that she could still speak because I was able to understand her. I told her that people should speak clearly and face her. I told her that listeners needed to be more patient and give her time for her words. I told her not to give up on herself. While I could tell she was appreciating my attention in that moment, she wasn’t buying a word of what I was telling her. Long years of experience with not hearing and not being understood had begun to take their toll. Hope was fading. It was in her body language and exasperated tone.
This lady has an active mind. She wants to participate in life. She wants to hear. She wants to speak. Hearing aids would help her but she is blocked by the cost. So day by day she lives out the miserable experience of being in the world, but cut off from it in the most important ways.
I understand that steps are being taken to bring down the cost of hearing aids, but so much more can be done. We live in the technological revolution. Devices that were thousands of dollars two or three years ago are hundreds of dollars today, and they work just as well, if not better, than their predecessors. Why isn’t this the case with hearing aids? We need to figure this out before it’s us at the back of the room wishing we could hear and be heard.
CaptionCall is an ambassador for hearing health and an advocate for people with hearing loss. We encourage everyone to actively manage their hearing health through regular hearing evaluations and to seek early treatment when hearing loss is identified. We are obsessed with helping those with hearing loss stay socially engaged for a longer, happier, healthier life. To learn more about CaptionCall and how you can qualify for a no-cost CaptionCall phone, visit www.captioncall.com
Written by Suzanne Robbins