Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Can You Hear Me Now?

I'm biting the bullet and buying hearing aids this week. When the audiologist tested my ears, she said my deafness falls in the range of female voices. That explains a lot! I joke that Cathy talks twice as much as she used to, because she has to say everything twice.

Hopefully, my hearing aids will help both of us, and will at least eliminate one of my excuses.

Hearing loss is definitely a challenge. It takes tremendous concentrated energy to listen and understand. I am often utterly exhausted after conversations and meetings, because the simple act of hearing requires so much work.

I'm looking forward to my hearing aids, but dread the "old man" stigma that accompanies them. I hope to simply smile and be a happy old man. At least I'll hear what you're saying. Happiness comes through acceptance.

Cathy says I'm a better listener these days. "When you lean in to listen, I know you are paying attention and working hard to understand me. I think it's kind of cute."

I've never considered hearing loss cute, but am glad she sees it that way. I hope she thinks my hearing aids are handsome.

My hearing struggle reminds me how important it is to listen. Many people have fine set of ears, but are too busy talking to pay attention.

I'd much rather be hard of hearing than hard of listening.

In case you're wondering, here are a few indicators that you just might be "hard of listening."

1. If you smile and nod, say "uh-huh", and have no idea what the other person just said.

2. If you are busy thinking of what you're going to say next when the other person is talking.

3. If you're picking apart the other person's words, so you can use them as ammunition to win an argument.

4. If you jump to conclusions about what the other person is saying before he/she says it.

5. If you finish the other person's sentences.

6. If you say what you have to say, and then leave without pausing for the response. (One fellow said, "My wife and I had words this morning.  She said all of hers, but I didn't get a chance to say any of mine."
Of course, maybe he was better off for it in the long run.)

7. If you are unwilling to consider another perspective besides your own.

8. If you think there are only two sides to the argument: Your side, and the wrong side.

9. If you impute evil motives behind the other persons words and actions. "I know what you meant by that" (It's usually best to assume they meant well.)

10. If you always have to say the last word.

And, as Forrest Gump stated "That's all I have to say about that!"

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