10. My Husband Won't Be Seen Wearing Hearing Aids; Can Our Marriage Be Saved?
Dr. Abonso: Oh dear, I forgot to renew my marriage-counseling license this year.
You may think it's funny, but it's no fun for us. By the time I raise my voice
so Bert can understand me clearly, he thinks I'm hollering at him.
Dr. Abonso: You're
pretty irritated by then, I imagine; may be it shows. Why do you think hearing
aids would help?
Suspicious Consumer: Bert tried them once.
It was wonderful. Our college-age son said it was the first time he'd ever had
a two-way conversation with his dad.
Dr. Abonso: Why did he give them up?
Suspicious Consumer: He said they were too dangerous.
Dr. Abonso: Too dangerous?
Suspicious Consumer: Yes. Bert
is a police officer in Chicago, He says that when his life is on the line in
a confrontation, there is no way he wants to appear weak or handicapped.
Dr. Abonso: The
toughest guy I know was a CIA agent who wore hearing aids you could see for
a mile. He survived 25 years in a dozen countries including the Far East. But
I'd think Bert would worry about the risk of not hearing someone running up
Suspicious Consumer: He does.
Dr. Abonso: Doesn't he misunderstand some answers when he questions someone?
Suspicious Consumer: Oh, yes. I could tell you stories!
Dr. Abonso: I guess
he's going to choose for himself how he balances risks. If he weren't willing
to take a risk he wouldn't have gone into that profession. But why didn't he
keep wearing the hearing aids at home? Does he enjoy irritating his family?
Suspicious Consumer: If I thought
that I probably wouldn't have stuck around. No, he's really a
pretty great guy -- stubborn as a mule, maybe, but his bad hearing is tolerable
because he has such a good sense of humor.
Dr. Abonso: It looks
as though your marriage is pretty solid after all, but you didn't answer my
question: Why didn't Bert wear his hearing aids around the house?
Suspicious Consumer: He said they
were too annoying: he heard too many funny noises when it was quiet and they
crackled like a burning pine tree whenever anyone raised their voice.
Dr. Abonso: Let
me suggest another try. Some hearing aids area lot better today. And if his
ears are at least average size, he can now buy hearing aids so tiny they fit
completely in the ear canal. In fact, they are called CIC (completely in canal)
Suspicious Consumer: Why would
CIC aids be a solution at home? If they are that tiny, they must sound even
worse than the ones Bert tried.
Dr. Abonso: Expensive,
yes; bad sound, no. You can get them with the same high-fidelity K-AMP circuit
used in the best full-size hearing aids.
Suspicious Consumer: Are there any disadvantages?
Dr. Abonso: Absolutely:
You may have heard McCollom's rule: The smaller they
are the more money
they cost, the more batteries you're going to buy,
and the sooner they need repair and/or replacement.
Suspicious Consumer: Well he won't
accept anything that can be seen. If you're pretty sure they'll sound OK, tell
me where to take him.
Dr. Abonso: There
are a lot of good people in the area. Be sure to find an
experienced hearing professional.
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