As Betty tried to pull the standing rib roast out of the oven, she realized that two people were needed to lift the large dish. Calling to her husband for help, she got no response. Frustrated, Betty finally managed to heft the pan onto the counter, but not without spilling hot liquid on her arm and all over the floor. Worried that something might be wrong, she then went to check on him. In his recliner, the football game blaring, Paul seemed completely oblivious to her repeated calls. When she asked him why he didn’t answer, and why he had the game on so loud, Paul shrugged and said that he thought there was something wrong with the volume because it wasn’t as loud as it used to be.
Betty had been noticing more and more moments like this, but they were becoming especially obvious around the holidays. Paul had avoided family interactions over Thanksgiving, saying that he was tired. The family could not even convince him to join in for the Thanksgiving Day Parade, which was usually one of his favorite events.
Then, he had missed picking their son up from the airport, saying he thought that Betty told him a much later time. After hours of waiting, their son finally reached Paul, who said his phone ringer must not be working properly.
The company holiday party was the final straw for Betty. Paul always looked forward to the party, as it promised to be a night of dancing and fun for everyone. One hour after they arrived, Paul had begged off, saying that the restaurant was giving him a headache. Paul and Betty had to return home early, and Paul immediately retreated to bed. Betty did not know what to think, but she was truly worried.
An Outsider’s Perspective
“Mom, do you think that Dad is losing his hearing?”
“That’s ridiculous. Your father is too young for that.”
“No, seriously, Mom. Think about the last few months.”
Betty thought about the conversation she had been having with her son earlier. When he had asked if Paul was having trouble with his hearing, Betty had brushed her son off. However, the more she thought about it, the more she realized that her son might be right.
Over the last few months, Betty worried that Paul was going through a midlife crisis or struggling with depression. He had been avoiding their monthly dinner clubs and golfing with friends. He seemed more content to sit in front of a blaring television than anything else.
Betty often felt like Paul was neither paying attention to her nor even bothering to listen to her. Betty had never thought of herself as a nag, but lately, she found herself repeating things over and over until she just gave up.
After mulling it over for several days, Betty started researching hearing loss. Hearing loss is often first noticed by a loved one or partner, but even they can overlook the changes.
Signs can include:
- Not being able to hear in crowds
- An inability to understand conversations with several people
- A mistaken idea that people are mumbling
- An avoidance of activities that involve listening
- Anxiety around anything requiring communication
Betty thought back to the past few months – particularly how stressful the holidays had been for Paul – and decided that the problem might indeed be his hearing. The change had been so gradual that he might not even be aware that his hearing had been deteriorating.
Making a Change
Betty was nervous to talk to Paul about his hearing. She didn’t want him to feel attacked or judged, so she read several articles about how to broach the subject. When she finally brought it up, Betty made sure that Paul knew she was being empathetic. She assured him that wanting to help with possible hearing loss came from love and concern.
Paul took an online quiz to assess if he might have hearing loss. After that quiz raised an alarm about his hearing, Paul made an appointment with his local ear center to have comprehensive hearing tests done.
Within a short period, Paul was treated for his hearing loss and was a new man. Betty only regretted that they failed to notice his hearing loss sooner. Once Paul adjusted to his hearing aids, he started to enjoy all of the activities that had fallen by the wayside. Golfing with friends, dinner parties, and family gatherings all became more enjoyable to Paul, and he was less inclined to retreat to his loud television. Betty realized that he had not been ignoring her or neglecting their relationship, but that he had simply been unable to hear much of what she was saying.
While this story is fictionalized, many people experience the gradual hearing loss of loved ones, as Betty did with Paul. If you suspect a loved one has hearing loss, we have a simple one-minute quiz to introduce them to the idea of correcting their hearing loss. Then, please contact us to make an appointment – our medical professionals can help you get back to enjoying all of the everyday activities you have missed due to untreated hearing loss. If you contact us soon, we can make sure that you are hearing all of the magical sounds of this holiday season!