Posted on Friday, November 25, 2011

Hearing Aids: Powerful Story of Love and Listening

Ellen Cole and her husband Doug smile after learning they won a new Kindle!

How can hearing aids change the life of a loved one in dramatic and essential ways? According to Ellen Cole of Albany, New York, a winner of The Sweet Sounds of Life Contest, “It’s all about conversations.” Read her endearing story to find out more!

“Women often tell me, ‘I wish my husband would do something about his hearing loss.’”

My husband and I have been married for 36 years; he’s worn hearing aids for 15 of them. I remember life before and after. Before we had a nightly TV war in our home—he turned the sound up, and I turned it down. His most frequent question to me was “What did you say?” He would even get annoyed with me when I tried to talk to him from a different room, and I would get impatient when I had to continually repeat myself. Maybe the most exasperating thing was when we’d go to the movies, and he would constantly (it seemed) be leaning over and asking me what so-and-so just said. I even stopped enjoying movies.

Then came a life-changing event. My husband, Doug, is an executive, and his work includes giving speeches. On one occasion, he gave a talk, and during the question and answer period, a woman asked him a question that he couldn’t quite hear—although it was apparent to him that everyone in the audience understood her. He asked the woman two or three times to repeat the question, but he still didn’t get it. Finally, he walked down into the audience, stood right next to her, and finally heard her. He says “That’s the moment I knew I had a problem.”

Life after hearing aids—and he wears one in each ear—has been amazing. Besides giving speeches, Doug attends many meetings and is in constant interaction with others. He knows he couldn’t do his job without them. On the home front, life became instantly more peaceful. Just for fun, we occasionally whisper from separate rooms and delight in being able to hear each other!

There are, of course, other benefits of hearing aids for Doug. He can hear symphonic music better, and bird calls. Last night we saw a Tennessee Williams play and neither of us had to worry that he wouldn’t be able to hear every word. But were I to ask him what the major benefit is, I know without a doubt what his answer would be—“It’s all about conversations.” It’s the difference between feeling a part of life or feeling like an outsider. It’s that big of a deal.

I have many age-mates (I am 70) who complain that their husbands are “hard of hearing” but won’t do anything about it. Maybe they fear aging or the idea of a disability. Maybe it’s vanity about wearing a visible hearing aid. I don’t get it, really. Maybe I’m lucky that my husband realized early enough that he needed help, because as far as I’m concerned there is no down side. My husband’s hearing aids have made it possible for him to do his work, for us to live together harmoniously, and for life to proceed normally. What a gift!

And what a gift this story will be for so many others, who will be inspired to finally take steps to get their hearing fixed. Thank you so much for sharing your family’s story with the Secondsense and People Hearing Better communities, Ellen.

Ellen Cole is one of the winners of The Sweet Sounds of Life Contest. The Sweet Sounds of Life Contest invited people to share how a hearing instrument benefited their lives or the lives of loved ones. The three winners Ellen Cole, from Albany, NY, Connie Cross, in South Casco, Me, and Stanley Katz, of New York, NY. each received a Kindle™ Reader and accessories bundle valued at $500. People Hearing Better wishes her and her husband continued happiness in their active and busy lives, and hope they both enjoy the new Kindle!

If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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