How many times have you heard your mother shout at your father, “You aren’t listening!”. It’s usually followed by your father’s blithe response of “What?”, which can barely be heard over the blaring volume of a TV so loud the neighbors can hear.
This back and forth goes on all day, until you’re ready to drive them both to a farm and drop them off … just like they told you they did to Ol’ Blue, your favorite dog. Well here’s a better idea, how about a drive to the audiologist?
Chances are your father is suffering from hearing loss. The problem isn’t that he doesn’t LISTEN, the problem is most likely he can’t HEAR your mother.
Numerous studies by the National Institute on Deafness and other Communicative Disorders (NIDCD) conﬁrm that men are twice more likely to have hearing loss than women and that it starts in the high frequency ranges. *
You father might think this is a perfect plan, since your mother’s voice is in that higher frequency range, and he can claim plausible deniability.
All kidding aside, it makes for a frustrating existence for everyone involved. As your father’s hearing decreases, his ability to answer your phone calls, hear sirens on the road, participate socially in family gatherings, will be impaired and those around him will be tasked with being his “ears.”
Dad’s hearing loss can be caused by work conditions and environmental factors. Does he wear ear plugs while mowing the lawn? Was he a frequent rock concert goer? Did he work in loud environments, like construction, schools, traffic? Another concern could be underlying health conditions. Recent studies tie hearing loss and tinnitus to high blood lipids and/or diabetes mellitus. *
Hearing loss signals that it’s time for a check-up all around. If Dad’s being stubborn with your mother about getting help, step in and give them some assistance; this is good repayment for all the times you dented mom’s car or broke dad’s favorite ﬁshing rod.
Here’s how you can help:
1) Research sites on the web with your father and show him the amazing selection of hearing aids available today; some are practically invisible, or he can go full cool Baby Boomer Grandpa and wear the fun colorful ear molds that are all the rage.
2) Contact a friend who has a hearing aid, have him/her chat with your dad about the process.
3) Offer to drive him to the audiologist, have lunch … make a day of it.
4) Take your own hearing test while you’re there, show Dad how you walk your walk.
Bottom line, restoring and getting a grip on your father’s hearing health will bring him back into the social fold, enjoying clear conversations. Oh, and no more yelling over a loud TV.
Your mother will thank you … and so will the neighbors.