One of the most frustrating character types I work with is the stoic. Just the other day I struck up a conversation at the hardware store with one of these folks. His hearing loss was obvious because we were face to face and he was still saying “huh?” I asked him if he was tired of saying “what?” or “huh?” all the time. Turned out he was okay with his poor hearing. He said it was all a part of getting old and he just had to put up with it. Then he related a story about an accident with his garage door and how he still wasn’t recovered from that. I had a chance to talk briefly with his wife as well. It seems that “huh?” and “what?” and “pardon me?” are part of the fabric of their lives, as accepted as the cane he uses and the slow pace they walk.
It doesn’t have to be this way! Hearing aid use has strong associations with better emotional and mental health outcomes. An improved quality of life is available to many if they would just make the effort.
Another stoic I ran into recently was of a different stripe. She had “tried a lot of hearing aids” and said that none of them work, that she always had a problem in background noise. She was wearing an off-the-shelf device that you might find advertised in a Sunday supplement for $19.95.
If you are a friend or relative of someone who has given up on their hearing you need to take action! Encourage them to see an audiologist, get tested, and plan their road to better hearing. And make sure that audiologist uses a technique called Real Ear (also known as visible speech or probe microphone measures). Without this measurement you don’t know what the hearing aid is doing.