In her nineties, my husband’s grandmother was still in fairly good health. But she had did not hear very well. Feeling frustrated about this one day, John said, “Grandma, you need some hearing aids.”
“I have some,” she said.
“Where are they?”
“Right here in my pocket,” she said, as she pulled them out.
At the time, I felt annoyed at Grandma for not wearing her hearing aids. Now, I understand why she put them in her pocket. A few years ago, I did the same thing. Not long after purchasing a set of hearing aids, I discovered they were not the “magical” solution that I thought they would be. So, I quit wearing them and stored them in my jewelry box.
Sometime later I flew to California to visit my grandchildren and sadly discovered that I was probably missing 75% of what they said. I felt very sad–isolated like a lone heron on a rock in the wilderness.
After talking with a friend who has hearing loss and discovering that well-fit hearing aids made a huge difference for her, I decided to try again. With updated hearing aids my hearing, although not perfect, is much improved. This brings me joy because participating in conversations is much easier.
Even if your hearing is perfect, I hope that you will read my blog so that you can encourage your friends or relatives who do have hearing losses to accept the reality of it and seek help.
And if you do have some hearing loss, I hope that you will not feel embarrassed about it. I admit that I have been; that’s why it’s taken me a year to publish this blog. I’ve decided to no longer hide the truth. It’s no different than wearing glasses.
Hearing loss is quite common. These are the statistics. About 30-35 percent of adults between the ages of 65 and 75 years have a hearing loss. It is estimated that 40-50 percent of people 75 and older have a hearing loss.
These are the symptoms of hearing loss
- The speech of others seems mumbled or slurred.
- High-pitched sounds such as “s” and “th” are difficult to hear and tell apart.
- Conversations are difficult to understand, especially when there is background noise.
- A man’s voice is easier to hear than the higher pitches of a woman’s voice.
- Certain sounds seem annoying or overly loud.
- Tinnitus (a ringing, roaring, or hissing sound in one or both ears) may also occur.
These are potential effects of hearing loss.
- Anxiety and depression
- Social isolation
- An increased risk of dementia
As a senior, I am doing all I can to avoid these effects of hearing loss. While I believe that God still performs miracles and he could restore my hearing, he hasn’t instructed me to throw out my hearing aids. I’m thankful for them.
I’m thankful for the knowledge and understanding that he’s given to physicians and hearing specialists, and I’m wearing my hearing aids so that I can participate in conversations with my neighbors, friends, and relatives.
If you think you have some hearing loss, I hope that you will admit it. You might even add “hearing aids” to your Christmas wish list. If you have perfect hearing, you might assist some friend or relative in purchasing hearing aids.
Owning hearing aids does not automatically mean that I can hear well. I must choose to place them in my ears. Although I’ve been known to put them in my pocket like John’s grandma, most of the time I put them in my ears.
Still, my hearing aids will not work if they blocked by ear wax. I must keep them clean.
It’s wonderful to be able to hear with my physical ears, but there’s another kind of hearing that’s much more valuable–the ability to hear with my spiritual ears. That too is a choice. Jesus indicated this when he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Mark 4:9)
Later in this conversation, Jesus said that our spiritual ears can also become blocked–not by hardened wax but by a hardened heart. According to the writer of Hebrews, the primary cause of a hardened heart is the unbelief that causes us to distrust God; consequently, we get stuck in cycles of destructive (sinful) behavior. (Hebrews 3:12, 13)
When we chose spiritual hardness of hearing and hardness of heart, we often get stuck in bitter resentment. But God who is merciful and forgiving offers us freedom and joy.
In Emotional Freedom, there’s a simple diagram which describes how to find this freedom. It’s available here.