I’m hard of hearing. I have about 80% hearing in my left ear and 50% in my right, and I can’t hear anything above 4,000 cycles. This is a malady that affects many people like me who spent too much time around loud airplanes and guns before anyone thought of “ear protection.”
The fact that I’ve lost the upper register of sound makes it very difficult for me to understand female voices. Women naturally have higher pitched speech and most speak rather softly, unless they happen to be a politician. And, as far as me understanding a woman on the phone, forget it. I have no idea of what they are saying.
It occurred to me that loss of hearing is perhaps the only handicap where the afflicted is not seen sympathetically. If I don’t understand what someone says, they think it is my fault. I’m just not listening hard enough. Or, they think I am arrogant or aloof or that I just don’t want to talk with them and they get angry – at me.
If someone was in a wheelchair, you wouldn’t say, “Get up and walk, you scoundrel.” Or if they were on crutches you wouldn’t say, “Throw those away, you don’t need those.” But if I don’t respond to something someone says, you can see it on their faces. They want to shout, “Why don’t you hear me, you idiot!”
Well, hearing aids might help although they won’t cure the problem. The ear damage is done and is permanent. And the elderly, the very ones who really need something like hearing aids or dental care, are the ones the government chooses to leave out of their largesse. Obama phones by the dozens for young people, but no hearing aids for grandpa. And how many grandpas like me can afford $6,000.00 for hearing aids? Actually, none that I know of.
Being hard of hearing can be a problem, but if you are an old codger like me who doesn’t give a damn, sometimes it can be a blessing – because it cuts out a lot of crap you didn’t need to hear anyway.