I have a hearing problem. Fact is I have lost about 65 percent of my hearing ability. With my hearing aids, I do pretty well in a one-on-one situation. But when I am in a crowd, I'm lucky if I catch every fifth word in a conversation. I have up-to-date digital hearing aids, but I still misinterpret things being said to me. How embarrassing.
A hearing deficiency is truly a handicap. The deficiency tends to cause a person to withdraw socially. It's a distraction to have someone in the crowd asking over and over again to have the statement repeated.
As you, who are hearing impaired know, it is really tough when you can't keep up with the discussion at hand. You don’t know from which direction sounds are coming. Music seems distorted.
In this day and time, you would expect to have available an instrument that you simply insert in your ear and forget that you ever had a hearing problem. When in reality, I can’t see where we have come much further than when my father wore hearing aids 60 years ago. The only differences are the price and you no longer have that little box in your shirt pocket. I still can’t hear any better than my father did.
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The really bad part of this is hearing aids cost about $5000, give or take a couple thousand dollars. Think of it, a small piece of sophisticated plastic, a wire and a microphone, costs five times as much as a more intricately designed computer or a cell phone. Doesn't make sense. To add to the problem, most insurance companies provide little to nothing for the purchase of these hearing instruments.
I’m afraid this hearing aid business has gotten totally out of control, financially. We need to be able to hear, and the companies know that. They can charge any amount they choose and, out of desperation, most of us will pay it just to be able to hear a little bit. There ought to be a ceiling on the cost.
Remember, deafness is a handicap, not merely an inconvenience. Be tolerant.
The writer worked as an industrial specialist (mobilization preparedness) in the Pentagon for 20 years. She now lives in Myrtle Beach.