After coworkers or new friends get to know me and see how open I am about my hearing loss, I start hearing confessions. Family secrets about stubborn “Aunt Daisy‘s” deafness and her refusal to wear her hearing aids are commonplace (See Steve’s article, “The Best Place for Hearing Aids is in Ears” for a similar woeful tale). Because I wear my hearing aids, I am granted authority, power, and wisdom to reach the otherwise unreachable masses.
On a weekly basis, I hear stories of people who won’t get their hearing tested, such as blundering “Uncle Bob,” with his inappropriate responses to questions, and “Grandpa Joe,” who blasts the volume on the tv, complaining everyone mumbles. The oft repeated plea of these weary souls is, “If only you could speak to him/her!”. Upon utterance of these desperate words, I go forth, hearing aids fully powered, to promote The Gospel of Hearing Aids to their loved ones.
Lilly, however, had a different reason for asking me to go into the missionary field to reach her grandmother:
“She won’t get her hearing tested because she’s afraid to get hearing aids.”
“Yes, she’s afraid hearing aids will make her look old.”
I looked at Lilly’s grandmother, noticing her blue-tinted white hair, dowager’s hump, and walker. Uncontrollable laughter hit both of us at the same time. After we wiped away our tears, I said, “Okay, let me understand this. In her mind, she doesn’t look old right now?”
“That’s right – she’s a very youthful 83.”
“Somehow, nearly invisible hearing aids will ruin her youthfulness and transform her into an ‘elderly’ person?”
Vanity. All is vanity.