Fifty Plus: Hearing loss

linda r. jones

Linda R. Jones/Photo by Kevin Blackburn

Column by Linda R. Jones

“What’d you say?”



Reading glasses are one thing, but starting to gradually lose my hearing is something else.  My hearing was perfect up until a few years ago.  I noticed I kept gradually increasing the volume on the television.  Now, I need surround sound in the family room to hear it.

If I’m watching television in our bedroom, I’ve got the volume almost maxed out.  I justify it because I’ve got the overhead fan on, the portable fan is on, and the AC window unit is on even in the winter.  That’s because of my hot flashes, yet another lovely aspect of aging.  That comes in three stages: pre, during, and post.  I’m in post and I’m told it lasts forever.  Swell.

I digress, back to hearing loss.  If the actors are British, it’s over.  I can’t understand most of what’s being said no matter what the volume because of the English accent.  Well, I realize I have the accent but you know what I mean.  I’m starting to enjoy foreign films.  It’s not because I’m sophisticated, but because they have subtitles.

It used to annoy me when my husband started losing his hearing many years ago.  I thought his was selective hearing with me.  I’ve encountered quite a few women who claim the same with their husbands

“Can you take out the trash?”

No response even though he was only in the other room.

“Can you let the dog in?”

No response even though I can hear the dog barking from upstairs and my husband is three feet away.

Yet, if I whisper, “Would you like to join me for some marital bliss?”

Oh!  That he can hear from three states away!

My husband’s hearing loss is intensified by his military service.  He worked on jet aircraft when he was active duty in the Air Force.  After 21 years of jet engines as your daily primary sound, you will have a significant amount of hearing loss.  His was just enough not to qualify for VA disability.

That became our joke though.  Even friends and family are in on it.

“Linda, 21 years in the Air Force.  I can’t hear you.”

I can’t recall how often I’ve heard that, no pun intended.  It got to a point where one of our friend’s daughter picked up on it.  Our friend called her daughter to do some chores and she yelled back, “21 years in the Air Force, Mom.”

We were watching a show recently about normal hearing loss as you age.  Certain pitches or decibels were played for an audience of all ages.  Clearly, every decade affects your hearing.

“Do you hear anything,” my husband asked while we were watching.

I did hear most of the sounds.  My husband couldn’t hear ANY of the sounds.  I had to laugh.  I suppose our joke is legitimate, too.

Yes, fellow baby boomers, we’re losing our hearing and it’s normal.  Not to worry though, we have all types of volume enhancements for our entertainment and listening pleasures.

“I need to turn on the surround sound.  Wait.  Where’s the remote?  Aw great, I have to find my glasses first.”

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