Hearing Aids for the Young at Heart

Over the years, The Audiology Condition has socked away items of interest for active Seniors who may find themselves consulting with Audiologists.  

The following are light-hearted articles but each contains a hearing nugget worth thinking about for active Seniors seeking hearing help.  


Seniors are the New Awesome


Back in the day, patients thought hearing loss meant they were old, so they said things like “I hear OK considering my age.” Believe it or not, a lot of these people were in there 60s and 70s, which is young now that Boomers are getting in that age bracket.  As one columnist cleverly puts it:

“Now we see ads featuring handsome, energetic 60-something retirees announcing that they are finally ready to live out their dreams and move to Peru or start a rock band in the garage. If they have that much energy, why not make them keep working?”

More and more Seniors  are working and don’t plan to stop. Many others are so busy traveling, golfing, socializing, volunteering that they don’t have time to work. None of these people consider themselves old, but many of them have hearing loss. They get hearing aids and learn to use them for the same reason they go to Pilates or yoga every week — to stay in the game.

As a result of their efforts and willingness to embrace change and new technologies, these people are not only in the game, they are winning the game.  But,  if you plan to start a rock band, please see your audiologist first to get fitted with appropriate ear protection.


Some Things Are Better the Old Fashioned Way


Texting has its uses and no one can live without email. But when it comes to good communication nothing beats old fashioned one-on-one spoken conversation, especially when it can be face-to-face. Not all conversations cannot be conducted face-to-face, hence the need for telecommunications.  

For many years before cell phones appeared, the telephone was the next-best thing to actually speaking with another person face-to-face. Cell phones are wonderful for extending the range over which these conversations can take place. But things have gotten out of whack as cell phones have assumed other roles in people’s lives, especially those of younger people.

Seniors have the advantage here because they actually know, or at least remember, how to conduct two-way conversations in person and on phones.  

We need to get back to the good old days of the “mystical magic of the mouth” as described in this hilarious video:  


Some Things Are Not Advisable, Even With Hearing Aids


Even if you DON’T have a hearing loss, you might need amplification or a speech reading class before flying first class on Virgin Atlantic. In what the airline calls its Upper Class, cabin crews began receiving receive special auditory training to coddle passengers back in 2012: 

Virgin Atlantic is sending senior members of its cabin crews on training courses to improve their whispering skills. Flight stewards who serve the airline’s Upper Class passengers will attend a day-long course with a “whispering coach”, where they will learn how to speak at a volume of less than 30 decibels. (Normal conversation is about 70 decibels.)  The airline said that quieter cabin crews would have a “calming effect” on passengers.”  (British Week, p 6, March 3 2012).

Forget the whispering coach — Virgin needs a hearing coach to advise them on decibels. If Virgin was thinking what we think they were thinking, trained flight attendants would be speaking below the thresholds of many normal listeners, defying the listening skills of almost everyone. Perhaps attendants were trained to place their lips in passengers’ ears, as part of Virgin coddling. That might or might not help, depending on the decibel level of “normal” whispered speech at the ear.   

No word since 2012 on how the Upper Class whispering campaign is going, or whether it’s even active anymore. But those with hearing loss may want to save money and book Business Class, where flight attendants will likely speak in audible tones if not in your ear.


Hearing Aids are for Real Men, Not Sissy Boys


You know you’ve hit the big time when Field and Stream’s Gun Nut blog writes a post about noise-induced hearing loss, fetchingly entitled “Hearing Loss:  Only You Can Prevent Brain Rot”:

“In [plain] English…if your ears are f***ed, pretty soon your brain will be, too. And while your ears can get help from hearing aids, there’s nothing that can be done for your rotten brain. As the audiologist put it, ‘Once you start sliding down that slope, you’re in real trouble.'”


HHTM editors never thought of saying it in plain English like that.  Thanks. Regardless of language, age, gender or travel habits, hearing loss is a slippery slope and that’s why The Audiology Condition keeps pounding away at the topic.