As a kid, I remember old people being hard of hearing. When I say old, of course I mean people who were older than I am now. The men would cup their hand behind one of their ears, turn toward you and ask you to repeat what you had just said.
I was a radio announcer for over 20 years. Wearing headphones six days a week, five hours a day has obviously taken its toll. I don’t hear well now.
At first, I think that my wife, like most wives, thought I wasn’t listening. Well, she was right, but not because I was ignoring her. I wasn’t listening because it has become apparent that I’ve lost part of my hearing.
This has become fairly obvious since one of our conversations goes something like this:
Her: Honey, I need you to take out the trash.
Me: How in the world did you get a rash?
Her: No, that’s not what I said. I don’t have a rash. The garbage needs to be taken to the curb.
Me: Who’s Herb and why does he want our garbage?
A series of responsible adults tried to warn me over the years that loud music could ruin your hearing. My dad and mom both lectured me about listening to Led Zeppelin at a volume that rivaled a Navy jet fighter taking off, but I ignored them. Jimmy Page just sounds better when your ears are bleeding.
In the late 70s, the old DJs warned me about having my headphones too loud, but again, I didn’t heed their warnings. These were crusty old guys who had done equal damage to their livers and most of the rest of their bodies, so why pay any attention?
I spent most of the late 70s and the 80s going to concerts. Groups such as Journey, Sammy Hagar, Heart, Santana, Kansas and Peter Frampton don’t play quietly. Of course, none of us wore any type of ear protection. If you had used earplugs, your buddies would’ve taken you outside, beat you up, thrown you in the car, and dropped you off at a Barry Manilow show.
Well, now the proverbial chickens are coming home to roost.
You know that TV ad that shows the old guy putting a device in his ear and then smiling? Now, I have to turn the TV up to hear the announcer.
The irony of watching a happy deaf guy, but not hearing anything that’s said isn’t lost on me.
My wife and I go back and forth sneaking the volume up and down on the TV. She says it’s so loud she can’t stay in the room, and I have difficulty hearing anything at her preferred volume.
I don’t know why this is bothering me as much as it is. I was fitted for glasses at age 22 and have worn them ever since. I guess I just don’t want to have to wear another device to keep my senses in tune. But the idea of spending the rest of my life not being able to hear what someone says the first time they say it is not appealing.
So, I’m going to visit an audiologist soon and have a comprehensive hearing examination. I’ll keep you posted on the results.
In the meantime, I have to go take our garbage out to Herb.
©2015 John Moore
For more of John’s musings, visit johnmoore.net/blog