Friday, October 30, 2009

What Did You Say?

For some time now, maybe two or three years, I have noticed that Gene doesn’t seem to hear as well as he used to.  He has increasingly been asking me to repeat myself.  Occasionally, I get a comment or answer to something I’ve said which has nothing what so ever to do with what I was talking about.  Those comments or answers can be pretty funny and our conversations are at times quite entertaining.

At my urging, he made an appointment with an audiologist and had his hearing tested yesterday.  We were not surprised to learn that his has a 33% hearing loss in each ear.  What did surprise us was the audiologist called that a “mild to moderate” loss.  Seems to me like one-third is more than moderate.  I’d call it significant.  Anyway, he got the low down on the types of hearing aids, their costs, and their expected length of usefulness before they need to be replaced.

We were not surprised to hear the numbers since we have several friends and family members with hearing aids.  It’s funny, but ten to twenty years ago we knew hardly anybody with hearing aids.  They are expensive--from about $3,000-5,000--depending on what type and how many “special” features they have.  If you’re lucky, they may last and/or be effective for about 5 years.  Unlike eye glasses, there is no price on earth that will make you hear like you did in younger years.  Given all this encouraging information, Gene inquired if he might not just go down to Dick’s Sporting Goods and purchase one of those “deer stalker” sound amplifier things.  I can’t say the audiologist was much amused.

We met my folks for dinner last night.  Since both my parents can barely hear anything (my mother doesn’t have hearing aids because they don’t go so well with her outfit, and my dad turns his off in any public place because the background noise is so irritating), Gene has a “mild to moderate” hearing loss, my mother can hardly speak above a whisper any more, carrying on a conversation was somewhat challenging.   I did not laugh out loud when Gene asked my dad about his cough and he replied, “Oh, that was just an excuse to talk to you about the surprise party.”

After another dinner in which we ate far too much food, we felt the wisest and best use of our time this morning would be to get a little exercise.  We grabbed our packs and headed over to Beaman Park for the 5 mile loop.  That was certainly worth the effort.

I’m sure this was the last day for the fall leaves.  A big storm is headed our way and the wind has been blowing pretty hard all day.  Lots of trees have shed most of their leaves.

Tomorrow, we will spend preparing the Everest for travel.  We have been sitting for several weeks and have been a little lax about putting things back where they belong.  We need to be sure everything is in a secure place for travel.  Sunday we will be heading to east Tennessee to do some hiking in the Smokies.  We are looking forward to that week long trip and are anxious to see friends we haven’t seen in a while.

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