When discussing hearing aids with clients, I often hear comments like “it’s too soon”, “maybe next year”, “I’m holding off as long as I can”, or “I’m too young”. Sadly, I also hear the opposite side: “it’s too late”, “I should have gotten them when I was younger”, “why bother now”, or “I waited too long”.
Recently, I met a family that wanted to get hearing aids for their mother. The appointment went well, and the client decided that she wanted to give hearing aids a try. Her situation is similar to many- she has difficulty hearing what everyone is saying unless they speak slowly, loudly, and look directly at her. She cannot hear her peers or the staff where she lives. After a hearing evaluation and discussion with the client and her family, she decided to proceed with hearing aids. The difference with this client is she is 101.
This client is remarkable. She lived in her own house for 75 years and moved into a senior’s residence at 99. Her son said that the family had no idea how much she struggled because she had set her house up so that everyone was seated close to her and faced her when they spoke. Once she was moved into a senior’s residence, her family realized that she could not hear the staff or the residents. The dining room is noisy, and the residents speak quietly. People don’t always look at her when they speak, or worse, they speak to her from behind. She said to her son “no one likes me”, and he realized that she didn’t know that people were speaking to her. She was lonely.
Last week she was fit with her very first hearing aid. Within hours her son called me and said that he spoke to her on the phone, and it was the best conversation they’d had in a long time. She understood everything he said, and she did not need him to repeat anything. He was thrilled!
We never really know how much time we have left. Maybe we will live to 80, and maybe we will live to 101. Just remember that when treating hearing loss, it is never too late.