I recently began reading back through some of the columns I had written more than eight years ago in order to reflect on what was happening in my life at that time and how I was communicating those things to readers. I found myself amazed by the way in which things have changed in eight years.

I went from writing about smelly adolescent football players and their dirty laundry (which was quite literally one of the worst things ever) to wanting to tell you about my husband’s hearing loss. We are definitely not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

Weren’t we just running around like mad people, catching dinner through a drive-through restaurant in order to make it on time for the game, show choir or whatever the kids were into?

So, with a sigh of releasing the past, I will continue by telling you about our current situation that others might relate to and hopefully create a laugh to let you know that you are not alone and that life in its current state, is good.

My husband, Darren, had been struggling with hearing loss for many years. He served in communication/artillery during his time in the Missouri National Guard and thought he was the real-life Rambo of his unit.

I became so incensed with his constant mumbles of “Huh?” “You never told me that,” “Are you sure you didn’t tell someone else?” “I think you’re losing it, Steph” that I made an appointment with the VA for him on my own. That’s right; I did it. After years of asking him to do it, I did it myself.

Annoyed, he reluctantly went to the appointment and realized that his hearing loss was, indeed, severe enough to require state of the art hearing aids. Not that the volume level on the television at 41 wasn’t enough proof of that (insert eye roll here).

Once Darren received his hearing devices that, by the way, include a Bluetooth receiver, he was happy! The only problem for me was that I couldn’t say things under my breath anymore. Well, that’s not the only problem.

Darren can now choose when he wants to hear. It’s a gift, actually. He can turn me up, down or disconnect completely. When he chooses to turn me down and I’m trying to speak to him from another room, he reminds me quite smugly that his new friend, the audiologist, says he will never be able to hear me from another room. So when I poke my head around the corner and repeat what I said in just a little louder tone he says, “Honey, you don’t have to yell! I have state of the art hearing devices.” This is what I live with.

With his hearing aids, the volume on the television has gone from 41 to 10, making it impossible for me to hear it. When I ask him to please turn it up, he looks at me and says, “Maybe you should see about your hearing.” I drop my head and give it a slow shake back and forth while I listen to him giggle.

Because he works in a noisy and dusty environment, he will often take his hearing devices out and lay them on a workbench. Suddenly he can’t hear with them in. At this point, they are “pieces of junk,” you know. So I encouraged him to take them to the local VA clinic to have them checked and wouldn’t you know; they have to be cleaned once in a while! (Yes, I’m rolling my eyes again.)

Now he has his own sonic cleaner that he uses nightly (when he remembers) and things seem to work much better for him. That is, until he leaves his hearing devices on the workbench and one of them vibrates onto the floor and he runs around accusing people of taking it. That’s when my son, Ryan, steps in, sees it laying on the floor under the workbench and slyly suggests that perhaps it’s time for ole Pops to see an ophthalmologist! HAHA!  

I want you to know that I have written this with the consent of my dear husband. He and I are completely aware we are getting older and that age brings with it some obstacles that will be trying and different. We want to accept those things with humor and wit. After all, we are no different from anyone else.

Keep in mind, youngers, that things such as this will impact you, too. Remember to treat us with kindness and dignity because that’s the way you’ll want to be treated when you’re older. And when these changes do occur, keep your sense of humor. Don’t allow it to impact you in a negative way. Embrace life just the way it is beautifully meant to be. 

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