Publisher’s Corner: Can You Hear Me Now?

At the request of my friends and family, I went to get my hearing tested recently. I knew my hearing wasn’t what it used to be due to many earaches as a child and just a year and a half ago my eardrum in my right ear burst. I know it’s been hard on those around me having to repeat themselves and put up with a loud t.v. But how do you think it has been on me? This ringing in my ears has been going on for years now. I hear Cicada all year long. And the irony is when I took my hearing test and they gave me all these different tones to listen to, many of them sounded the same as the ringing. So it was a symphony of ringing tones – not enjoyable at all. Pretty depressing really. But I know I am getting up there at 66 years old. The audiologist asked me if I had been exposed to loud noises in my life. And I said not since my teen years when I would listen to Led Zeppelin blast Stairway To Heaven. Maybe those July 4th firework boomers rattled my anvil and stirrup. My test showed I have what they call high frequency hearing loss. The mid tones I hear okay but the high pitch tones are not getting picked up by either ear. Years of numerous earaches have taken their toll. So guess what? Time for a couple of hearing aids. I have no problem with that. I wear glasses for my aging eyes, so why not get some help for my big old elephant ears? And then it hit me. Wow, $4000 – $5000 to hear better. And now they have hearing aids that sync up with your smart phones. That’s a bit too high tech for me. I just want to hear the birds chirp in the morning, not get Sirius Radio on my hearing aid. I do want to be able to hear my grandson when he whispers 4-year-old sweet ramblings to his Hopete (grandpa). And I really do feel bad when everyone has to repeat themselves and I have to often ask my wife Niki what that last comment was on the t.v. I don’t care that people see me wearing a hearing aid. At least now I can hear any wisecracks. And maybe they will think it’s just a new Bluetooth device and I am checking my stocks with my broker. I wish I had stock in the hearing aid companies at these prices. And the real punch to the gut is that insurance usually doesn’t pay for hearing aids. Not even Medicare. Seems there might be too much fraud. Hey, insurance CEOs this is not a cosmetic device. People don’t choose hearing aids to enhance their appearance. Hearing loss is most often a medical condition brought on by years of earaches, scarring, colds, flu and allergies for many of us. I read that most of the time insurance companies consider hearing aids “elective” and therefore not medically necessary. Give me a break! We pay premiums each month just in case something like this comes along. Isn’t that the definition of “insurance”? Do they want people living their lives not being able to hear sudden cautions “look out!, or the cries of a baby from another room. Think about it. Hearing loss is a medical condition that most people will suffer from if they live long enough. But many insurance companies don’t cover hearing loss if it’s just part of “the aging process”. In some societies elders are respected and cared for with honor. I am not choosing hearing loss, I am trying to hear the weather report on the t.v. with a storm approaching. After much discussion with my insurance company, we seemed to have convinced them that my hearing loss was due to medical causes and they say they will now cover it – after my deductible is met. But what about all the other people with hearing loss who can’t fend as well for themselves. Most are elderly. Part of hearing loss is the inability to relate and communicate properly. And it will take a lot of communication to have your insurance company hear you if you need to get hearing aids. Speak up!

Is Anyone Listening? J.B. Lester, Publisher