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Hearing Loss – A Personal Perspective

Hearing Loss – A Personal Perspective

By Bart Astor

I recall many years ago writing an article about getting a hearing test. I guess I was about 50 or so. I made an appointment with an audiologist so I could go through the actual experience.

I’m sure somewhere along the lines you’ve had one of these tests. You know, “Press this button when you hear a tone.” I remember feeling so incredibly anxious for this test. I jumped on the button the second I heard anything through my headphones. I not only wanted to pass the test, I wanted to ace it! How weird is that?

Turns out, it’s not weird at all.

The audiologist told me, “Relax, this isn’t like Jeopardy. You don’t get points for doing it first. And you don’t get graded by how quickly you respond.”

Apparently a lot of us, when we are getting our hearing tested, get nervous.

We don’t want to feel old, and we know that a loss of hearing is a sign of aging. Well, certainly it is. But it’s also not. And given that most of us have spent countless years with music blasting in our ears, especially more recently with the very prevalent use of earbuds, it’s a wonder we’re not all deaf.

So I wrote up the article and included all that stuff about my anxiety and wanting to be the first to press the button. When I sent it to the editor, she wrote back, “This is good, but I don’t think we need to put in all that personal feeling about anxiety.” She didn’t get it.

I learned later that she was pretty young, in her 20’s or 30’s. Of course she didn’t get it. She had no idea that she would age. But I bet most of you who are reading this do get it. You understand that a loss of hearing is not anything like losing some of your vision. Many people need glasses and there’s no stigma attached to that. Even young people need vision correction. But hearing aids? That’s strictly for old people, right?

I’m a bit older now and had another hearing test because I was experiencing vertigo. A  symptom to be concerned about when you have vertigo is some loss of hearing. It could mean a serious issue. When I took the test, I was nervous. But not about feeling or being labeled old. This time, it was about whether there was any loss of hearing and if so, whether it meant I could have a problem. And I didn’t jump to press the button the split second I heard a tone.

This blog post originally appeared on www.bartastor.com and was reprinted with permission.

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Bart Astor

Bart Astor at Bart Astor
Bart Astor is a recognized expert in life’s transitions and eldercare. His book, AARP Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life: Smart Choices about Money, Health, Work, Lifestyle, and Pursuing Your Dreams, was released in May, 2013 and was #1 in Amazon’s retirement planning category for 6 consecutive weeks and a Washington Post best seller. His unexpected personal journey led him to write his best-selling book, Baby Boomer’s Guide to Caring for Aging Parents, now in its second printing and critically regarded for being today’s must-have healthcare resource. Bart has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows, including ABC’s “Good Morning America,” PBS’s “MarketPlace,” Ric Edelman’s “The Truth About Money,” AARP Radio, and Boomer’s Rock radio. His perspective comes from personal experience, both good and bad, and sometimes that’s what matters most.