Ask Dr. Abonso
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.

Suspicious Consumer: 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 behind him.

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) hearing aids.

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.

© 1993

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